- “Of Love and Olives” by Nick Dichario (fantasy short story)
- “Kite Dancer” by Laurie Tom (fantasy short story)
- “See A Penny…” by David Afsharirad (fantasy short story)
- “Frozen Moments, Stolen Out of Time” by George Nikolopoulos (fantasy short story)
- “After the Story Ends” by M. E. Garber (fantasy short story)
- “An Unfamiliar Face” by David VonAllmen (horror short story)
- “The Godhead Grimoire” by Sean Patrick Hazlett (horror short story)
- “A Song for Charon” by Eric Leif Davin (fantasy short story)
The two stories which stuck out a little for me were “After the Story Ends” and “The Godhead Grimoire.” The latter is a horror story in which a woman, who is trying to get a divorce from her cheating husband, receives a package intended for him and opens it, finding a Book which leads her to increasingly bloody acts in pursuit of the godhead it promises. It’s not the most original thing in the world, there’s a glitch involving the dog, and the ending is debatable and has an element of potential confusion, but it’s certainly a vigorous, engrossing, and horrific tale. “After the Story Ends” seems to take a variant page from what I’ve heard of Darryl Gregory’s Afterparty in that it tells the story of a woman who went into Fairy(land) to save her daughter but the narration starts after her successful return when she’s basically dealing with addiction to Fairy’s glitter and glory, as this world now seems colorless, tasteless, and insipid and her love for it and all within it has faded. The speechifying between her and the Wise Character is a little bald but the story as a whole paints an interesting dilemma with plausible dynamics.
Of the other short stories, all involve World War I and/or marriages. Set in Italy, “Of Love and Olives” has a woman find a soldier who was frozen a century ago and is thawed out, having improbable but well-drawn effects on her and her husband. “Kite Dancer” is not set in our WWI but has a tiny Chinese woman controlling the winds for German zeppelins. Like “Olives,” “See a Penny…” eventually takes a fantastic look at marriage via a magic penny that helps grant the power of suggestion to the protagonist.
Of the very short (less than two thousand word) stories, “Frozen Moments, Stolen Out of Time” depicts a desperate father trying to save his child when an assassin pulls the trigger and time stops, “An Unfamiliar Face” is a horror story about a critter trying to reproduce, and “A Song for Charon” is a variant on the Orpheus and Eurydice tale from Charon’s point of view which, for those who know the traditional myth, ends on an odd note.