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on 16 May 2013
This collection of stories was free on Kindle so I snapped it up, attracted by the bold cover. The first story certainly had a powerful hook, but overall I found the collection far too brief and focused on religious themes. I gather this is intended to be an advert for a series of novels set in the same universe ... to be honest something longer with stronger characters would do the job far more effectively.
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on 11 July 2013
1853 is the companion chapbook to A Town Called Pandemonium and contains a further three stories in the same alternate historic timeline, but instead of focusing on Pandemonium, they focus on the world at large. I found this an entertaining premise as it allowed the reader to explore the alternate reality a bit further and to see that all the uncanniness wasn't just limited to the Weird West, but was all across the globe.

Marc Aplin - Son of
Aplin's story is an interesting alternate history. The titular son, Hong Xiuquan, was a historical figure I'd never heard of before, and as a lover of history that is always a fun discovery. As for the meat of the story, the question remains whether it was the Devil or God who chose the gun's chamber in that crucial moment? And what does the shooter believe himself?

Jonathan Green - Bat Out of Hell
The second story in this chapbook moves us firmly towards the horror corner of genre with the accidental renewal of an old god. Blood sacrifice is always a nasty thing! Still, I liked the story, though I wonder whether I was the only one to flash to the Chupacabra episode of Destination Truth at the last paragraph.

Laura Graham - Islands to Auld Reekie
Graham's tale gives us a nice glimpse of 1853 Edinburgh and of the Clearances. A historical fact I'd vaguely heard about before in the context of industrialisation, it was interesting to see it incorporated here. The unsettling feeling Abigail described can be interpreted in several ways: as the worries of country folk having to move to the unfamiliar confines of a city, people trying to explain away regular crime, or indeed as a supernatural threat. It's up to the reader to interpret it how they like. I really enjoyed this story and Graham's writing and I hope to see more of her work in the future.

1853 is a great companion piece to A Town Called Pandemonium, but can also easily be read without prior knowledge of the main anthology as it stands on its own fairly well. I love the idea of these chapbooks, especially since they remain available even after the main anthologies they accompany go out of print. 1853 is a great way to spend a couple of commutes or lunch breaks and for a small bite is quite satisfying.
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on 18 January 2014
I like stories I can read over a cup of coffee and these fit the bill. There are some parts I wish were longer because i found the situation and characters interesting. If you like short stories, pick it up and enjoy.
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on 24 February 2014
it is a good selection of stories and a quick and easy read to enjoy. I have a few other books of Jonathan Green and enjoy his work
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on 9 July 2013
Fantastic, one of the few anthologies I've read and enjoyed and will happily read again & recommend to friends! Loved it.
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