16 November, 2013

Review - Manifesto UF, Edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann

I like to read anthologies slowly and when the mood for that particular theme strikes me. This has been so for a while and it will probably never cease. I've come to believe that this type of reading schedule is exactly what anthologies were made for and it helps break up some of my other reading projects that are usually in either Science Fiction or Fantasy with little deviation, especially to Urban Fantasy. So, it took a while to read Manifesto UF [US] [UK], even there were some excellent stories. 

What will bring me to an anthology like this is the big named authors, even though this is a small-press publication. I've enjoyed authors like Jeff Salyards and heard lots of good things about Teresa Frohhock and Zachary Jernigan. Of course the big names** performed as expected, but I was even more impressed by the lesser known authors. 

**by which I mean, authors whose work I've seen at Barnes & Noble.

Nick Sharps scared the crap out of me with his creepy story of Toejam and Shrapnel and Abhinav Jain created a really interesting world with Indian influences. Kenny Soward impressed me with his debut, Rough Magic, and did so yet again with his story Dust Woman. I don't think I completely got That Old Tree by R.L. Treadway and yet the imagery was visceral. I enjoyed Lincoln Crisler's superhero anthology, Corrupts Absolutely?, and his short story, Queen's Blood, was an excellent addition here. I think my favorite, though, might have to go to Nephilim by TSP Sweeney. 

I think what keeps me away from urban fantasy mostly is the line between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy can often be a fine one. I like to focus on the fantastical elements, magic, etc. rather than the rather mundane sex and whatnot (many things go in the "whatnot" category). While there's plenty of sex here that got to be a bit much for this prude at times, there's also a healthy dose of magic and interesting creatures and myths. 

Both the pros and the soon-to-be pros shine in this anthology. I didn't have time to list each story individually, but suffice it to say, I can't name a bad one in the bunch. Urban fantasy is not always my cup of tea, and that's because so many subscribe to a certain formula, but Manifesto UF really pushed those bounds and I like to see that. This is urban fantasy I like to read.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

Note - Full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of Tim Marquitz, one of the editors of this anthology, and I consider Tyson Mauermann, the other editor, a friend I've met through blogging and forums. Take this as you will. 

Full list of stories - authors:
Rev – Kirk Dougal | I’m an Animal. You’re an Animal, Too – Zachary Jernigan | Los Lagos Heat – Karina Fabian | Savage Rise – Adam Millard | Front Lines, Big City – Timothy Baker | Break Free – Ryan Lawler | Naked the Night Sings – Teresa Frohock | Double Date – Andrew Moczulski | That Old Tree – R.L. Treadway | Dharmasankat – Abhinav Jain | Nephilim – TSP Sweeney | Toejam & Shrapnel – Nickolas Sharps | Green Grow the Rashes – William Meikle | Under the Dragon Moon – Jonathan Pine | Gold Dust Woman – Kenny Soward | Wizard’s Run – Joshua S. Hill |Chains of Gray – Betsy Dornbusch | Bloody Red Sun of Fantastic LA – Jake Elliot | Queen’s Blood – Lincoln Crisler | Beneath a Scalding Moon – Jeff Salyards | Separation Anxiety – J.M. Martin | Blessing and Damnation – Wilson Geiger | Jesse Shimmer Goes to Hell – Lucy A. Snyder


Bibliotropic said...

I was really impressed with this anthology. I swear, if more urban fantasy was like the stuff contained in this collection, I'd be reading more urban fantasy! And for the maybe 1 or 2 stories I wasn't too keen on, it was definitely a matter of personal taste rather than the quality of the story. And when I find anthologies to be very hit-or-miss when it comes to quality, that's saying something!

Bryce L. said...

Well put, I would totally read more UF if it were more like this. I don't know if it's the medium of the short story that allowed it to be so different from the usual, but I really liked that.

The Reader said...

Nick's story was one of the highlights of this collection for me alongwith TF & ZJ. Also you beat me to the review Bryce ;)


Bryce L. said...

I was in the zone the other day for reviewing, but now I'm still 7 books behind. I just can't keep up lately.

Daniel B (@publiusdb) said...

Four out of five on an urban fantasy from you? Not too shabby. I might have to give it a look-see.

Bryce L. said...

I'm glad someone noticed! :D