One of the authors sent me an ARC (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
UnCommon Origins presents 22 depictions of moments on the precipice, beginnings both beautiful and tragic. Fantastical stories of Creation, Feral Children, Gods and Goddesses (both holy and horrific), and possibilities you never dared imagine come to life.
Including stories from some of the most talented Speculative Fiction and Magical Realism authors around, UnCommon Origins will revisit the oldest questions in the universe:
Where did we come from?
What comes next?
The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn by Rhoads Brazos – In the bustle of the big city, a young girl discovers that the otherworldly can appear in the most mundane of places. Speak peace to all strangers, for we may not know what we are waiting for until it arrives.
Aplanetary by Holly Heisey – Gemina followed eir lover in an experiment to be born on another world and live as an alien species. But on a harsh, unfriendly world, e finds love and loss, hope and self, and a life e never could have imagined.
Glass Heart by Sacha Hope – England, 1850. Wolt’s wife is dying from disease. He is desperate to find a cure for her affliction… not knowing that he created a monster instead.
Cultural Gleanings by Deanne Charlton – A woman awakes speaking a foreign language that feels familiar. How well can she and her husband communicate through pantomime? And what are those tiny noises?
Fringling by J.D. Harpley – Slave to the Klekan on a foreign planet far from his race’s birthplace, Baylin discovers there’s something powerful lurking within him. He fights the desire to slaughter his slavers and as the moral battle rages inside him, a new anomaly threatens to remove his identity and transform him into something entirely different.
Poseidon’s Tears by E.L. Johnson – An Atlantian girl witnesses the destruction of Atlantis and discovers what happens to the survivors.
The Curl of Emma Jean by Michele Tracy Berger – Two sisters under stress come to different conclusions about a strange child and what she means for their family.
The Price by Samuel Peralta – In the City’s old quarter, a Visitor to a shop selling wartime memorabilia meets its singular Proprietor, and his uncommon offering.
Growing Simon by Jo West – In a world in which she does not appear to belong, Jane is an ordinary woman driven to extraordinary lengths to achieve her dream.
The Terrible Discovery of Professor Charles Cooper by Jonathan Cromack – An English club style story set in the late 1800’s whereby an academic stumbles upon an abandoned laboratory in the isolated country and horrifically discovers the nature of the scientist’s research face to face.
The Last Star by D.L. Orton – Two beings watch the last star in our universe wink out and discover the answer to how it all ends. And, perhaps, how it all begins.
My Darlings by P.K. Tyler – Adaline has a secret growing within her, whether a gift or a curse remains to be seen.
The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress by Nillu Nasser Stelter – Jermaine Wyoming lives in a cemetery, isolated from the world, obsessed with the idea of replacing the memories of his harrowing childhood with new ones. Seventeen-year-old Lana Norse suffers from a debilitating disease that promises to rob her of her future. When the two meet, the boundaries of their worlds blur and it becomes difficult to tell what’s real from what is not.
In the Periphery by Erica Ruhe – Jayati Dawar is an advanced generation clone and part of a large-scale, deep-space mission to save humankind. But the violent death of her clone sister and surrogate mother, Samidha, raises disturbing questions about The Halcyon mission’s true objective. With no one to trust and nowhere to hide, Jaya must rely on her own intuition and the cryptic dreams of her original Source Mother… a woman who died hundreds of years ago.
Exhale by Laxmi Hariharan – Sofia must mate with Kris and birth a race superior to humans, but she cannot accept her fate. Can she create her own destiny?
interdimensional investigations initiative (iii) – ifrit by Briant Meske – Previously, Dr. Inman of the Tessera University Institute of Science and Technology (TUIST) opened a portal to another dimensional and what flowed through was… everything ever conceived. Every ghost and ghoul, every mad scientist and robot and dinosaur ever given fictional form fled the fractured containment field. Sealing the rift required the herculean efforts of a fourteen-year-old boy, but now the doctor has become infatuated with the interdimensional incision, and his lust for knowledge cannot be undone…
Swim with the Beavers by Robert Allen Lupton – A raging river washes a young boy from of his pioneer family’s wagon and the waters carry him downstream to be rescued by an unusual foster family. Do they save him or does he save them? Perhaps, they save each other.
The Least Child by Daniel Arthur Smith – After a two-month dry spell, a writer finds inspiration in the form of a small, plant-dwelling creature.
Consciousness by Zig Zag Claybourne – When even gods, holy men, and fantastical beings have existential crises of hope, love, and friendship, there is always the bearable brightness of tea.
Her by Rebecca Poole – A lifetime of toil. Believe when no one else does. Remain steadfast, stay the course. The last of his kind, he’s waiting. He who serves his goddess understands when others do not. He welcomes the final act, but devotion has a price.
The Apple by Shebat Legion – The Apple is a post-apocalyptic love story about survival and hope. It illustrates the strength of character needed to make a personal sacrifice to ensure a better future or any future at all.
Becoming Mage by Melanie Lamaga – A recovering alcoholic taps uncanny new skills as she matches wits with her former friends at the country club.
Genre(s): Anthologies, Science Fiction, Horror, Occult, Magical Realism
Series: UnCommon Anthologies, #2
Length: 361 pages
Release date: 2016-06-15
Sometimes, he wondered how it would feel to be born on the other side. To be one of the wanted, cherished by loved ones, brimming with hope. It didn’t do to dwell. He quickly pulled the shutters down on his thoughts and locked them away in the murky depths of his mind.
This anthology comprises 22 different stories, taking you on 22 very different trips; some will chill you, some will make you sad, others will make you wonder. There is one thing that they all have in common: They are unforgettable. I cannot tell you more about this anthology as it would spoil the fun of reading it yourself.
With UnCommon Origins, the reader is presented a broad variety of stories. Each story takes you to its own world; I preferred a little break after completing a story, allowing the story to settle. I was drawn into most of the stories right away, there were only three I couldn’t relate to at all. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading UnCommon Origins. It is a very complex read. This is for you if you like anthologies, with a supernatural streak, a touch of horror, occasional science fiction, unusual characters, surprises, and food for thought – all packed in short stories of different length.
I loved the set-up of this anthology: Each story is followed by an ‘About the author’ section.
My personal favourites (order according to the book, no ranking): The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn, Cultural Gleanings, The Terrible Discovery of Professor Charles Cooper, The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress, Swim with the Beavers, The Least Child
This is a book to read again. Recommended.
|Plot||Full of surprises|
|Mood||Suspenseful; Hopeful; Dark; Thoughtful|
|Sexual content||Some sexual content|
Amazon US: buy link
Amazon UK: buy link
Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading. Now I am asking you. 🙂
My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you? What did you think about UnCommon Origins? Or – if you did not yet read UnCommon Origins – are you now interested in reading it yourself?
My question for you cinephiles:
If the UnCommon Origins stories were filmed – who should direct them, who could you imagine as actors? Which of these stories would be your favourite on screen?
I am looking forward to reading your comments. 🙂