cover image Hidden Youth

Hidden Youth

Edited by Mikki Kendall and Chesya Burke. Crossed Genres, $9.99 e-book (316p) ISBN 978-0-9913921-3-1

In this celebration of diversity throughout the ages, a thematic sequel to 2014’s Long Hidden, 22 authors craft thought-provoking speculative fiction tales of children and teens, all representative of marginalized populations or communities, as they cope with overwhelming odds and strange situations. The protagonists come from a vast array of cultures, countries, and eras, such as first-century Byzantium, 18th-century Poland, and France during World War I. In K.T. Katzmann’s “The Bread-Thing in the Basket,” Polish Jews defend themselves against oppression. In Jessi Cole Jackson’s “Throwaway Children,” magic-using orphans are sent west in 1860s America. A few aim for a more steampunk or technological bent, including Michael Ezell’s “Genius Jones and the Rolling Rifle,” about a young black inventor looking to avenge his mentor, and E.C. Myers’s “In His Own Image,” set in an alternate 1907 Korea where giant mechs are used in war against Japan. The offerings are solid, entertaining, and generally fascinating, conjuring up voices and experiences not often heard. This collection is well worth checking out for all fans of speculative fiction. (Nov.)