Monday, August 27, 2012

Review of Science Fiction Trails--All Martian Spectacular

Reviewed by Steve Johnson.

26 August 2012

Large size anthology, 9 stories, edited by David B. Riley, weird western theme.
I got back from a week in Wellington to find that this anthology had been dropped off for me to review, and I’ve had some amusement doing that. I like a good WW story and this anthology has some excellent tales – and none that weren’t good. Commodities of Nature by David Lee Summers manages to combine canals, Martian influences, Tesla, and the art of compromise, in one solid story. It is a little-used aspect of westerns that this tale featured a man able to accept that someone else’s POV might also be valid and I liked that. Then, not to be influenced, but I thought that Lyn’s A Day Out Shopping really fitted the ‘Weird” part of the anthology. It’s difficult to describe because it’s a very odd story, but quite fascinating to read because you have no idea where this plot is going until you arrive.
Go West, Young Martian, Go West by Laura Givens made me laugh. I could just see the Martian trying to establish telepathic rapport with a wagon team and finding that the horses simply didn’t want to hurry up. But it’s a very pleasant tale about prejudice, and finding that those who are really different may still have a lot to contribute. Sam Kepfield’s The Treasure of Vallis Marinaris is a riff on the old theme that ‘a treasure isn’t always gold and jewels,’ and is none the worse for that. A well-written variation.
I enjoyed the remainder of the stories but don’t have anything more specific to say about them.I can add that I liked the large size format, by which I mean that this anthology isn’t thicker, it’s several sizes up from a normal softcover, closer to large comic book dimensions. But with that size and the vivid attractive cover, it catches the reader’s eye, and that’s always a good thing.

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