Note: This review was originally posted at Associated Content.
Crossed Genres magazine publishes science fiction and fantasy short stories with a twist. In advance of each month’s publication, they solicit stories that mesh science fiction or fantasy with another specific genre, like Western, horror, or dystopian. After publishing their first magazine on December 1, 2008, the editors of Crossed Genres have collected the best story from each of their first twelve months of existence and printed them as Crossed Genres: Year One (ISBN: 978-1449996949), which comes out on February 1, 2010.
Several of the stories in Crossed Genres: Year One are just one piece of a larger whole. “Cold” by Melissa S. Green is the first chapter from an unnamed novel in progress. Author C. L. Rossman’s “The Time of Tales” is a short story involving a mythical space-faring race about whom she has written three books. “Back to the Beginning” by Marilou Goodwin is a stand-alone story, but hints at a larger tale to be told about human mercenaries of a war-ridden Dallas, Texas.
More intriguing are often the entirely self-contained stories. Erika Tracy’s alternate history story, “The Bat and the Blitz,” tells a succinct tale of warlocks and a witch helping to defend England from Germany’s bombing runs. Though brief, this story features fantastic character development in just a few pages, and top-notch dialogue. In “Condiment Wars,” Jill Afzeliu’s contribution to the humor issue of Crossed Genres magazine, Ketchup and Mustard, along with a cast of other diner condiments, romp through a pun-filled war over dinner plate supremacy. Despite the puns, the dialogue is superb and the imagery fantastic.
Crossed Genres: Year One features three Seattle-area authors: Jeremy Zimmerman, Nathan Crowder, and Jennifer D. Munro. While I was already familiar with the work of the first two authors, I found Munro’s story from the anthropomorphism genre, “The Strangler’s Fig,” to be my favorite story of this anthology. Rich with descriptive detail and stunning prose, this tale is certain to catch a reader’s attention.
The first twelve genres and their stories collected in Crossed Genres: Year One are an eclectic mix of styles and authors, each with something to offer to sci-fi and fantasy fans. You’ll find a good mix of the two primary genres, so there will be a story you’re bound to like even if you’re strictly a sci-fi or fantasy fan. While every reader is certain to have a story or two that are not to their liking, the majority of these stories are strong and entertaining reads. Crossed Genres: Year One is available for order at www.crossedgenres.com after February 1, 2010.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I typically sit between Nathan Crowder and Jeremy Zimmerman at a bi-weekly writer’s group. Jeremy is my boyfriend, and I am the one who encouraged him to submit “A Crazy Kind of Love” to Crossed Genres magazine, which is reprinted in this anthology. However, the impetus to write a review of Crossed Genres: Year One was my own.)