Those Who Fight Monsters by Justin Gustainis
MY RATING: 3 of 5 Stars
Another fun anthology, my favorite type of book for “cleansing my palate” between novels of any sort. As is usually the case, some of these short stories were much better than others, but only a couple were truly bad to my mind, so overall, I enjoyed the book.
There is a real trick to writing a good short story. An author has to introduce characters in very few words, yet let us know who we are dealing with and why we should care about them. The writer must put together an interesting plot with a definite beginning, middle, and strong ending, and this has to be accomplished in just a few pages. I’ve noticed that some writers tend to treat a short story as if it is just a chapter taken from the middle of one of their full length books. That never works. The short story is a whole ‘nuther art form.
My favorite stories in this book were by Rachel Caine, possibly because I love her Undone series so much, and Simon R. Green, because any story about the Nightside is worth the read. The weakest story in the group would have to be an almost incomprehensible effort by Tanya Huff. Having never read her work before, I don’t know if this is her normal writing style, or if the story only made sense if you knew all the many players. My firm belief is that one should not be required to be familiar with an entire series in order to understand a short story. I’ll have to check out some of Huff’s books for myself in the future. Perhaps I’ll love her full length books, but this particular story just left me confused.
Again, the book was enjoyable overall, with more hits than misses, so I’m happy to add it to my Anthology shelf.
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