A High Shrill Thump (Third Flatiron Anthologies, Volume 1, Fall 2012) PDF
by Juliana Rew
"A High Shrill Thump: War Stories" published by Third Flatiron Publishing; edited by Juliana Rew.
The opening sentence of the opening story by David L. Felts — "The Man Who Couldn't Die" — provides a great beginning to this anthology on the theme of 'War': succinct, spare, it sets the tone of suspense for this collection. It being an anthology of science fiction and fantasy, we can expect the unexpected, and boy do we get it. There's the added bonus of some deliciously ironical endings, as in, for instance, "Refugees" by James S. Dorr (where the surprise ending is foreshadowed in the beginning of the story but of course we miss it) and"I Think I Won," by David J. Williams (again there's a clue early on). "Homeland Security" by Brenda Kezar is permeated by irony throughout, and culminates in a scene reminiscent of the type seen in earlier times in the Roman Colosseum.
Jack Skelton's "The Fixer" is a story that is pure fun, despite being set in the grim "Hanoi Hilton," and has a delightful graphic to introduce it.
The war zone isn't always military, though; it may be domestic, as in Michael Trudeau's wittily written "The Frontline is Everywhere."
All the stories in this speculative fiction anthology are an excellent read, with strong plots and vivid characterization; there's humor, blood and guts and a wide range of geographical and chronological settings. I can thoroughly recommend this collection.
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