Thursday 5 October 2023

Pluto - Edited by Dawn Witzke and Richard Paolinelli - Planetary Anthology Book 1

Planetary Anthology Book 1
Dawn Witzke (Editor)
ISBN 9781733510394
ASIN B081S745L7

Pluto - Edited by Dawn Witzke and Richard Paolinelli - Planetary Anthology Book 1

I picked up this anthology almost three years ago. There are several authors who contributed to it whose works I greatly appreciated. But I had not got around to reading it. I love anthologies in part because it is a way to get introduced to new authors. In part because short fiction is a very different art form from log fiction and requires different skills and talents to write successfully in the genre. And third because I am a ‘completionist’ and once I find authors I really like I try and track down everything they have written. And three of the authors in this collection are in that category for me already and a couple of others are headed that way.

The description of this volume states:

“An amazing series of science fiction and fantasy short stories. Pluto, the Roman god of death and wealth, ruled the underworld far away from all of the other gods. In this volume, Pluto, you will find twenty-one amazing stories of death and wealth set around a wandering cousin far out in the cold edges of our solar system. You will find Vikings, knights, warriors defending home and hearth, of triumph and tragedy, and, yes, even the god himself. You will read tales of great courage and great loss. Of sacrifice for a greater good and of justice delivered to the overly greedy. You will even find Walt Disney himself.”

The contributors are:

Arlan Andrews Sr.
J.D. Arguelles
L.A. Behm II
Bokerah Brumley
Christine Chase
Karina L. Fabian
Declan Finn
A.M. Freeman
Jake Freivald
Allen Goodner
W.J. Hayes
Frank Luke
Corey McCleery
John M. Olsen
Richard Paolinelli
P.A. Piatt
Andy Pluto
Jim Ryals
David Skinner
B. Michael Stevens
J. Manfred Weichsel

The stories in the collection are:

Introduction – Richard Paolinelli
Brief Story Synopsis’ 
Like So Many Paper Lanterns - B. Michael Stevens
Time Out For Pluto - P. A. Piatt
A Brush - J.D. Arguelles
The Pluto Chronicles - Bokerah Brumley
Bat out of Helheim - Corey McCleery
The Rainbow-Colored Rock Hopper - J. Manfred Weichsel
The Heart of Pluto - Christine Chase
The Case For Pluto - A.M. Freeman
Marathon to Mordor - Karina L. Fabian
Miss Nancy’s Flower Garden - Jim Ryals
On Eternal Patrol  - L.A. Behm II
Pluto Invictus - W.J. Hayes
Worst Contact - Arlan Andrews
Ambit of Charon - David Skinner
Sunset Over Gunther - Frank Luke
Adaptive Reasoning - John M. Olsen
The Judgment Of Anaq - Andy Pluto
Life at the End - Jake Freivald
A Clockwork Dragon - Allen Goodner
The Collector - Declan Finn
Yes Neil D. Tyson, Pluto is a Planet - Richard Paolinelli

This collection is different in that at the beginning of the volume there is a brief synopsis of each story. At the end of the story is a brief bio of the authors, or a paragraph about the pen name and what it is an anagram of. Prior to reading this volume I had encountered about a third of the contributors.

In this volume Bokerah Brumley has a chicken story, oh what a chicken story it is, she also has 3 chicken stories in Cracked: An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories, Witzke the editor of this collection and a few of the other contributors also have stories in that one. 

The stand out stories for me in this collection are: The Collector, A Clockwork Dragon, Marathon to Mordor, Yes Neil D. Tyson, Pluto is a Planet, A Brush. The stories that I reflected upon most are: The Rainbow-Colored Rock Hopper, Like So Many Paper Lanterns, Miss Nancy’s Gardem, Adaptive Reasoning and Life At The End. The only story that really did not hit for me was Time Out For Pluto. I loved that in a few of the stories authors in this collection or other others are characters. Some of the contributors play with the names and personalities of their contemporaries and it was fun to read this happening across a few of the stories. 

Overall this is a very good anthology. Most of the stories are entertaining. A few are excellent and a few standout. I loved Finn’s offering and it made me think of Slippery Jim diGriz, from the Stainless Steel Rat stories by Harry Harrison. I had previously read Fabian’s story as a standalone, but loved rereading it in the collection. And Paolinelli’s piece was highly entertaining. Finn, Fabian, and Paolinelli are among my favourite contemporary fictions authors and John M. Olsen and Bokerah Brumley have written stories in a few anthologies I have loved it is time to expand out to their other works. I have also heard great things about Dawn Witzke, who edited this collection but have only read one of her stories in a different anthology.

This Anthology is back in print as of October 2023, as are the other 11 in the series, including a 'Best of' volume. It is also available on audible. I can easily recommend this anthology.

Note: The Second Edition of this volume releasing in 2023 contains an additional story: It’s Always Darkest by Dan Gainor.  

The Planetary Anthologies - Tuscany Bay Books

Planetary Anthologies:
Best of Planetary Anthologies

1 comment:

John M Olsen said...

I really enjoyed being a part of this anthology. It warms my heart to see an in-depth review like this.