cover image Eat, Drink, and Be Wary

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary

Edited by Lisa Mangum. WordFire, $34.99 (244p) ISBN 978-1-68057-294-0

The seventh anthology from the alumni of Superstar Writing Seminars offers a tasting menu of 19 punchy speculative shorts centered on food and cooking. Though several, such as Aleksa Baxter’s cookies-and-murder story “Tick Tock” and Jessica Guernsey’s modernized Hansel-and-Gretel “The Gingerbread Contract,” are structured so that it’s easy to see the ending peeking through the setup, execution is almost uniformly tight and the wide range of genres keeps the volume fresh even in a straight read-though. Liz Pierce offers sweet fantasy in “The Last Ramekin,” Mary Pletch delivers magical realism in “Roll the Dice,” and Ken Bebelle and Julia Vee weave Eastern mythology into “The Boba Thief.” “The Last Jars of Peaches” by Lauren Lang explores postapocalyptic food scarcity. Mike Jack Stoumbos’s “Mission Impossible” dips into high-tech espionage, while Alicia Cay’s “A Recipe for Home” drips with sad nostalgia. The gonzo horror of Bonnie Elizabeth’s “An Obsession of Peaches” centers on overenthusiastic attack produce. Though the food featured can be dangerous, even deadly, the collection keeps to the appetizing; no spoiled and stomach-turning surprises await, and even the obligatory cannibalism story, “Murder in the Roux Morgue” by Chris Mandeville, is subtle in presentation. SFF-loving gourmands will be delighted. (Feb.)