Review: Chronology

Curiosity Quills: ChronologyCuriosity Quills: Chronology by J.R. Rain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some anthologies are “Best Of” and some have themes. I mistakenly thought an anthology called Chronology would have a time-based theme, but I was wrong. There is no theme to this collection and only two stories even remotely had time as a theme–the excellent “Wind Up Hearts” by Swanson and Elizabeth’s “Yours Until the Ink Dries”.

Even the genres are a hodgepodge, which was a complete surprise. This collection contains high fantasy, urban fantasy, urban legend, steampunk, future steampunk, space fantasy, science fiction, and supernatural stories. And, one story that has no science fiction or fantasy elements in it’s telling of a 1960’s Northern view on a segregated South [“Signs Unseen”]. The monster fiction did employ an impressive array of supernatural creatures: zombies, mummies, witches, fairies, mermaids, shamen, a dragon, a minotaur, a werewolf, a volcano spirit, an Appalachian spirit and a famous monster hunter. Without a theme or common thread, this anthology is not greater than the sum of its part–it is mainly a junk drawer that includes some great and not-so-great writing.

The main selling point for the collection is its inclusion of a story by Piers Anthony. He was the only author I’d heard of in this collection. The good news is that every other author turned in a better story than Anthony. I’ve taken the time to separately review each story. A full ten stories rated 4-5 stars, which represents my recommended favorites. They are:
Cox, Matthew S.–“Innocent Deception”-5 stars
Hayden, G. Miki–“Gookie Visits Her Moma”–5 stars
Stanton, Wilbert–“The Room Below”–5 stars
Swanson, Stan–“Wind Up Hearts”–5 stars

Anckorn, J. E.–“The Unattended Life”–4 stars
Buckley, Andrew–“Whitechapel”–4 stars
Frost, Julie–“That Which is Hidden”–4 stars
Nicholson, Scott–“Wampus Cat”–4 stars
Woodring, Mark W.–“After-Party”–4 stars
Wymore, James–“Draconic King”–4 stars

The rest in order of decreasing stars:
Moynahan, J. P.–“Signs Unseen”–3 stars
Roberts, Richard–“Above the Clouds”–3 stars
Sloan, J. P.–“Bait and Witch”–3 stars
Tyler, Tara–“The Comeback”–3 stars
Young, Katie–“Strange Flesh”–3 stars
Elizabeth, Jordan–“Yours Until the Ink Dries”–2 stars
Graybosch, Matthew–“Limited Liability”–2 stars
Healey, Tony–“The Lair”–2 stars
Johnson, B. C.–“In the Clutches of the Mummy Prince”–2 stars
Kennedy, Darin–“Flight of the Pegasus”–2 stars
Rain, J. R.–“The Bull”–2 stars
Yocum, Nathan L.–“The Colorado King”–2 stars
Rausch, Andrew J.–“Inmate #85298”–1 star
Anthony, Piers–“Lava”–1 star

I received my digital copy of this anthology from Curiosity Quills through Net Galley for reviewing purposes.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


3 responses to “Review: Chronology

  1. Pingback: Review: “Limited Liability” by Matthew Graybosch | Jaffalogue

  2. Anthologies are often difficult to rate — often they are commissioned pieces and the author can’t really come up with something that matches the theme (no theme here, obviously), or the famous big name authors who are commissioned turn in crap, or a handful of stories are obviously filler…. I’m glad there are a handful of great stories though — but, I rarely rate anthologies over a 3.5/5 or so for they often have this sort of range.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve given the two anthologies I’ve reviewed edited by Paula Guran 4 stars. The shorts themselves averaged just over three stars, like this one [I’m rather consist in my ratings spread], but the depth of exploration within the theme was truly impressive. It really took the anthology to another level to not just have a commonality, to but use it to flush out a topic with a couple dozen perspectives that were not trying to do the same thing. I’ve also never given a partial star . . .


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