Unmasked

Edited by Kevin J. Anderson. WordFire, $30.99 (332p) ISBN 978-1-68057-228-5
Anderson (editor, Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem) and his graduate students at Western Colorado University bring together 21 speculative shorts that share the timely, if at times belabored, theme of masks. Some of these masks take literal form—as in Seanan McGuire’s “Pygmalion,” in which the daughter of a superhero confronts her family’s legacy—while other stories adopt a more metaphorical approach, including “Masque” by J.L. Curtis, about an 18-year-old Native American boy enlisted in the U.S. Army who uses his ability to transform into a wolf to spy on enemy troops. These fantasies are positioned alongside science fiction pieces like “The Green Gas” by Liam Hogan, which takes readers into a postapocalyptic world where an orphaned girl learns the consequences of being caught in chemical-infested air without a gas mask. Though the emphasis on masks can feel a bit cheesy, the stories offer a wide range of genre and setting, giving readers a varied assortment of adventurous tales to journey with. It’s fun, easy reading best taken in small doses. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/06/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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