*A copy of the arc was acquired through NetGallery*
A Sci-Fi Shorts Anthology: Volume 1 edited by J. A. Taylor and Rod Castor is a 2021 publication, and the work features a collection of sixty short stories limited to 500 words each. It currently has an average rating of 3.85 in Goodreads, and I have given it 3 stars after rating each story and then calculating the average.
The collection features stories from time travel to alien planets, robots to alien encounters and a space elevator to teleporting tubes, and offers the reader a chance to read the latest ideas in flash science fiction and explore what makes humanity.
I picked this up on NetGallery on a bit of a whim, mainly because I’m really into short stories at the moment and I’m picking them up when I can, but also I want to start reading a bit more sci-fi and an anthology of short stories seems a perfect way to start.
I’m really glad I did pick this up as all of these stories appear to come from an online community on Sci-Fi Shorts, so it’s really cool to be able to read and support independent writers like this. Plus, I’ve discovered writers I may have never encountered without this collection and I’m hoping they’ll release more in the future.
Whilst the stories for this were mixed there are definitely a few standouts including: Tea from T.I.M by Stefan Grieve, Conflicted by Don Franke, The Peterson Tube by Jason Welsh and The Empty Farmhouse by Elena Gomel. All of these did something different for me whether that was amuse me or in some cases leave me absolutely horrified by what I read, and I gave all of them my top rating in light of that.
There were a lot of other stories liked in this, and some of them were frustrating as 500 words was just not enough sometimes for how good they were. And whilst there were stories I didn’t enjoy as much, although I will not be naming here, as this was flash fiction I was able to quickly read through those stories and start another one I usually enjoyed more.
Unfortunately, an issue I took with the editing of this was instead of getting sixty unique fiction writers, we got close to somewhere between thirty and forty as some authors submitted more than one story for this collection, and whilst this is a personal gripe, I think it would have been better to hear sixty unique voices, rather than the same voices. Plus, I should note this skews heavily towards men, with very few women taking part in this anthology, maybe this is because the audience of women submitting stories is currently small and needs to be worked on, maybe it’s for another reason entirely – I couldn’t say.
Overall, an interesting publication and a great one to support. There are some fantastic story ideas in here and some brilliant writing for flash-fiction, and hopefully we’ll hear more from some of the authors in this.