Crime and Punishment
My review -
This is a second anthology from a great group of writers. I’d have bought this for the first story alone. As I always find, some stories from a collection like this stick with me, mean more to me, than others. However, they are all a good read and a different interpretation of the theme.
Atonement is set in the Beyond the Wall series of books and the reader is quickly drawn into the oppressive regime. Lahm buys his own freedom by working as a bounty hunter. Is he really free? This is perhaps more like reparation than punishment. Really atmospheric, as always with Lucas Bale’s writing.
I loved the little Mowgli-type character in Oubliette. This punishment hole into which the condemned are cast to be forgotten had me intrigued. I’d love to read more about this character.
To some extent The Marque, quite a horror story, echoes the first in that it questions to what extent we can be free. Would you save yourself or co-operate with an alien invader. Who is brave and who is the coward? Thought-provoking.
I loved Arcadio’s Valley in which the old people (I take things too personally!) want their real lives back. Echoes here of David Wailing’s Auto series.
And the finale – the punctuation mark at the end – is another question about freedom. There was a wonderful Adam and Eve moment in here – “The woman lied to me!” Humanity curtails its own freedom but is the cure a worse crime than the original greedy devouring of the earth and its resources?
I haven’t mentioned all the stories though I enjoyed reading them – you’ll have to read them yourself and I suspect your choice of memorable ones will be different. As speculative fiction goes, we’re here with some of the best.