Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Glitter and Mayhem - Book Review

Glitter and Mayhem
Edited by John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas

Welcome to Glitter & Mayhem, the most glamorous party in the multiverse.

Step behind the velvet rope of these fabulous Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror tales of roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery.

Dance through nightclubs, roller derby with cryptids and aliens, be seduced by otherworldly creatures, and ingest cocktails that will alter your existence forever. Your hosts are the Hugo Award-winning editors John Klima (Electric Velocipede) and Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine), and the Hugo-nominated editor Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine). (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Glitter and Mayhem is a short story anthology with the theme of glamour, parties, nightclubs, drugs, sex and rollerskating, all with a science fiction or fantasy element. The stories are all odd, some more so than others, and there’s a wonderful mix of fun, tongue-in-cheek, scary, thoughtful and sad. An anthology with this kind of theme could have suffered from stories that are all too similar in style and feel, but here this is not the case at all; the editors have managed to collect a really interesting mix.

This collection is a huge amount of fun, but it’s also refreshingly diverse in the characters, lifestyles, relationships and sex it explores. The most obvious theme of the anthology might be glamour and parties, but I think its strongest themes are acceptance, identity, and loving yourself for who you are.

As always with anthologies, there were some stories that didn’t grab me as much as others, but overall it’s a really strong collection. There are funny stories and straightforward stories and some with very clever twists. There are fairytale themes, aliens, the supernatural, the fae, and plenty of rollerskating!

Some of my favourite stories were:

Sooner Than Gold, by Cory Skerry, in which a door could lead to anywhere, but you might not like what’s on the other side.

Subterraneans, by William Shunn and Laura Chavoen, an interesting take on body-swapping.

Such & Such Said to So & So, by Maria Dahvana Headley, which plays with language in a clever little story about drinking and addiction.

Bess, the Landlord’s Daughter, Goes for Drinks with the Green Girl, by Sofia Samatar, a very weird and well-written story.

Blood and Sequins, by Diana Rowland, an unconventional approach to the cops-take-out-the-bad-guys story.

Inside Hides the Monster, by Damien Walters Grintalis, which explores how a siren might have difficulty adapting to modern music tastes.

Bad Dream Girl, by Seanan McGuire, a really fun story about roller derby teams with some unusual members.

A Hollow Play, by Amal El-Mohtar, which asks what people might be willing to give up for what they love, and how much they really value those things.

A really enjoyable anthology with a good variety of stories and styles!

Thank you to Apex Publications for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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