cover image Pileaus: Symphony No. 1

Pileaus: Symphony No. 1

Edited by Scott Colby. Outland Entertainment, $17.95 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-954255-19-7

Colby (The Black Yonnix) brings together 27 evocative vignettes set in the shared fantasy universe of Pileaus, first introduced in Daniel Tyler Gooden’s The Unmade Man. The stories flit between sadness, humor, and hope as bards who make magic from music and dance, wolf people called marii, and dangerous Fae strive to live freely under the rule of the Black Queen. In Colby’s melancholy “Debt,” a man plays a magical violin to woo the richest girl in the village, leaving him in staggering debt to the violin’s owner—until a conniving Fae tricks him into taking an even worse offer. Emma Melville’s “Oceans of the Heart” follows a sea dweller cursed to live on land who seeks help from an empathetic Fae. Melville’s follow-up, “Discord,” explores the sacrifice that same Fae is willing to make to help a silenced harpist regain his music. Humorous pieces include Alana Joli Abbott’s “The Trick to Tricking a Trickster,” in which a storyteller gives a shape-shifting Fae bartering tips, and Robert Lee Beers’s “My Kind of Place,” which sees a grizzled soldier reveling in a good old-fashioned bar fight. New readers will take some time to acclimate to the intricate world, but all will find something to enjoy in these triumphant stories of magic and mayhem. (Dec.)