Neon, A Literary Magazine, Reviews BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA

Says reviewer Christopher Frost:

I was initially sceptical of Bibliotheca Fantastica, the recent anthology of short stories published by Dagan Books. The collection is, to put it simply, a book about books. Each of the twenty stories to be found between its covers involves a book, tome, scripture, scroll or tablet of some kind.

Don Pizarro’s introduction does a good job of touching on some of the reasons why books are such a potentially interesting subject – yet it still left me the tiniest bit unconvinced that it would be anything but a dry and interminable read. Thankfully this was not the case. The stories ranged widely, and included some stunningly original takes on the concept of a book.

In fact each story was so wildly unique and intriguing….

Read the rest here.

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More FISH: New Interview and Review

First, the review. Says Guy Gonzalez:

For such a broad, somewhat random theme — “What secrets belong only to a fish?” — editors Cuinn and Taylor have curated an impressively cohesive anthology, offering a diverse variety of fables, allegories, and good old fashioned short stories that surprise, delight, and, in a few cases, inspire. Among my favorites were Polenth Blake’s “Thwarting the Fiends;” Camille Alexa’s “The Skin of Her Skin;” Paul A. Dixon’s “One Let Go;” Sam Fleming’s “What the Water Gave Her;” Bear Weiter’s “The Talking Fish of Shangri-La;” and, Tracie McBride’s “The Touch of Taniwha.” My absolute favorite, though, was Suzanne Palmer’s “Lanternfish In the Overworld;” its perfect tone and ending should really have made it the final story in the collection, so save it for last. Recommended.

Next, Charles Tan, the Bibliophile Stalker, has interviewed editor Carrie Cuinn for SF Signal. They talked about the evolution of FISH, the challenges of running a small press, and more.

From the interview:

CT: Why do you think we need stories like these? If you weren’t editing Fish (i.e. another publisher was soliciting from you), what’s the appeal for you of contributing to this themed anthology?

CC: We always need stories like these. Life is hard. It’s rarely what we expected it to be, and there’s so much dark and gloom. We can’t get rid of it, so I don’t try to pretend it isn’t there. Instead, I look for what’s beautiful in between the bad things, or alongside sadness or grief. Delightful, surprising, moments are always there, whether we see them or not, but life is easier when we take the time to look. There is always something or someone to love, if you let life creep in. The stories in Fish are just like that: sad, dark, and scary, with surprising moments of beauty, joy, and life.

I know what story I would have written, if I were contributing to a project like this. It would be different from anything we did publish, but similar in feeling to Blake and Fleming’s work. I would have wanted to show that flashing underside, the brightness in a dark sea. It would have been about my son, and the things I lost when I got to know him.

And the things I gained.

Read the rest here.

New review of FISH

Over at The Alternative Typewriter, Bulgarian writer and editor Haralambi Markov reviews FISH and has many wonderful things to say, including:

Cuinn doesn’t edit, but rather throws herself with such abandon in her vision as to how her anthologies ought to look, feel and be, the finished product has its own gravitational pull and it won’t let go until you’ve read the last page.

and

I describe Fish as effortless, dream-like, diverse and exquisite, which certainly holds true as I consider the anthology to be a revelation, because it’s just fish. No restrictions upon genre, no neatly defined prompt to cater to specific tastes. It’s just you and the stories and the fish. Simple and yet so risky. As you read Fish, you step further into a dark and undisturbed ocean where you see reflected light dance across scales and experience ink-black beauty with sharp teeth.

and

Carrie Cuinn and K.V. Taylor reveal to you an ecosystem of underwater wonders that’s outrageous, eclectic and beautiful. Theoretically, some might suspect it shouldn’t be able to work as there is nothing at first glance to hold these stories together, but there is so much soul in the project to cement this as the definitive anthology for 2013 – at least in my book.

He goes on to look at many of the stories in depth, offering mini-reviews of about 2/3 of the book’s contents. You can read the rest of the review here.

Ready to buy FISH?

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