Thursday, June 27, 2013

Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever - edited by Phoenix Sullivan

    2012; 212 pages.  New Author? : n.a.   Genre : Anthology; Speculative Fiction.  Overall Rating : 7*/10.

    18 short stories about various creatures, most of which have either gone extinct or are about to become so.  There are dinosaurs and cave bears; ghosts and aliens; Neanderthals and angels.  There is romance and humor; tragedy and sci-fi; new beginnings and post-apocalyptic endings.

    In short, there’s something for everyone here.

What’s To Like...
    The stories are grouped in somewhat chronological order.  That gives a bit of structure to the Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever, although it also means you’ll be reading all the dinosaur stories more or less together.  A lot of the authors seem to be from Australia, which gives parts of the book a refreshing Down Under “flavor”.

    The Amazon blurb for this book gives a one-line teaser for each story; I won’t repeat those here.  As with any anthology, I found some of the stories to be riveting; others were yawners.  You're entitled to form your own opinion about which ones are the yawners, so I'll content myself with listing a couple that I thought were the cream of the crop.

(01) Last Seen (Amanda le Bas de Plumetot)
    A powerful story about the recently-extinct thylacines to lead things off.  My favorite of the bunch.
(02) Past Survivors  (Sarah Adams)
    Both saber-tooth tigers and relationships are hiding in the hills around Los Angeles.
(15) Blood Fruit  (Shona Snowden)
    Mankind’s hope hangs by a thread.  That's not good news when Vin and Levo are holding the thread.
(16) A Thorny Dilemma (Rory Steves)
    Bio-engineering gone wrong.  So why am I chuckling?
(17) Invoice H10901: 3 Wooly Mammoths (Robert J. Sullivan)
    Parallel worlds meet the Law of Supply and Demand.

    The last thylacine died in the Hobart Zoo.  Locked in a cage, she stared out through the lattice of wire to the distant warmth of the keeper’s house.  Alone all the long nights, she paced, fretful, the unfamiliar sound of her nails clicking on cement.  She was surrounded by the stink of bears, the roar of lions, the shit-hurling culture of monkeys, the press and flow of humans.  The last thylacine was imprisoned between concrete floor and iron bars without even a kennel’s shelter.  (loc. 100)

    “Do you remember the Angel Genome Project?”
    God, not again.  She opened a financial report on her computer and stared at the numbers without really seeing them.  “Yes.  What about it?  They were going to sequence the genome of whatever it was they found in Iran.  Angels, they said.  We’ve got the mammoth parks and the Neanderthal town.  Let’s clone angels, have ourselves a park with cherubs, a wish-fulfillment fantasy with merry-go-rounds and everything.”
    “Such a cynic, girl.  You used to believe in science.”  (loc. 1585)

Kindle Details...
    Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever sells for $0.99 at Amazon.  ANAICT, this was Phoenix Sullivan’s first stab at editing/compiling an anthology.  She also has an eclectic triad of her own books on Amazon.

“What does mankind do with endless power and no boundaries?” (loc. 2688)
    As seen in the “best of” choices given above, my favorite parts of EDMF’s were at the beginning and near the end.  That speaks well of Phoenix Sullivan’s effort as the editor.  Having two stories about the thylacine tiger seemed a bit redundant, but maybe I’d feel different if I was an Aussie.

    I have to believe that trying to write a gripping tale of speculative fiction in a scant 10-20 pages is quite the challenge.  World-building and character-development have to be done quickly and efficiently.  Some of the writers were more successful at this than others, but kudos to all of them for giving it a try.  7 Stars.

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