Love, Time, Space, Magic
edited by Elizabeth Hirst
Reviewed by Scott T. Barnes
Elizabeth Hirst has gathered a beautiful collection of stories in Love, Time, Space, Magic.
The overall theme is "love" of course. Love in various guises, always with an important speculative element. While all written by different authors, the "feel" of the stories reminded me of Spellcast by Barbara Ashford, a novel which combines love, magic, and musical theater.
Romantics, dreamers, and believers in magic—particularly the magic of love—will enjoy this collection of short stories.
Below are my thoughts on the individual stories.
"I Sing the Recurring Melody" by Deborah Walker
In a fantasy world young Verna falls in love with the Dark Hand, a mysterious woman-traveler. A bewitching story of a musician trying to find her identity while shadowing the traveler.
"Leave the World to Darkness" by Fraser Sherman
Possibly my favorite story in the anthology, "Leave the World" is a sci-fi mystery story about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla trying to save the world from "the Nazi master of shadows."
"Out of Their Minds" by Ira Nayman
A weird tale comprising funny vignettes. The humor will keep you reading. It does all come together in the end. Sort of.
"The Dying Place" by Melinda Selmys
I saw this as an absolutely unique take on the grim reaper, though the author might not agree.
"Melanie in the Underworld" by Victoria Feistner
This is my other favorite story. It absolutely has the feel of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and anything that reads like Neil Gaiman is good in my book. This retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus's attempt to save his wife from Hades will grab you by the eyeballs and not let go until the last line.
"Faster than the Speed of Slight" by Clint Spivey
A tale of love between a man and an android. Full of surprises and good characterization, this story is surprisingly poignant.
"Seven Days by Stephen B. Pearl
Will is willing to do almost anything for the woman that he loves, including summoning a god-like being to pleasure her for seven days. Just to kind of buck up her moral.
"Her Vampire Lover" by Tim McDaniel
A flash story to make you smile.
"All the Herbs in Her Garden" by Kathryn Yelinek
A gardener helps a magician find love again. Along the way, expect beauty and dread.
"The Softest Sell of Image" by Russ Bickerstaff
This story left me confused. A man falls in love with a girl. Or is it a TV commercial?
"Modern Love" by Gustavo Bondori
As someone who not only dated through eHarmony, but found his wife through eHarmony, I found this story particularly appealing. In a very clever way it deals with the pluses and pitfalls of the electronic age with regards to dating. Fun characters, nice dilemmas. Great stuff.
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