I've just finished From the Indie Side, which is a collection of a dozen non-realated short stories with a common science fiction thread running through them. Granted, this is not my usual reading matter, but hey, I'm branching out. The fact that this compilation has my editor's (David Gatewood) name on the cover may also have had something to do with my selection!
In sum,this is a good read as well as a great idea, which gives an inquisitive reader a chance to discover some different authors. I think this is particularly good for readers who are experimenting with the genre and don't necessarily want to invest the time and money in a full-blown novel – sci-fi books can run quite long. I found the short stories to have a good flow and I liked that I didn't get bogged down.
When I started reading the book, I'd heard of a couple of the contributors, but now I've finished I will definitely check out the work of some of the others. There's a useful author website list at the end to make this easy. My favourite stories which deserve special mention, were Sara Foster's Cipher and Peter Cawdron's, The Man Who Remembered Today.
I would definitely recommend everyone grab a copy of this book as it gives an insight and an introduction into the parallel, but no less talented world of indie writing and publishing.
There was a time when short stories had a lot of credibility in sci-fi. Arguably some of the greatest work from classic sci-fi, fantasy and horror authors are short stories and there was a time when anthologies were plentiful. Some of my fondest reading memories as a kid was reading the Harlan Ellison-edited Dangerous Visions, Clive Barker’s Books Of Blood or Stephen King’s Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight.
The good news is, short stories are making a comeback, fuelled largely by ebooks and self-publishing. A short story anthology is ideal for readers who adore the convenience. It’s something you can dip into occasionally and come back to anytime. Read, re-read, skip forward, skip back. Don’t like a story? That’s fine. Don’t like an author? That’s fine too – next! Sometimes it’s a great palate cleanser in between novels, especially for reviewers such as myself. They are however starting to take on a life of their own, with many authors expanding their original short story into successful novels, Hugh Howey’s Wool and Michael Bunker’s Wick both being prime examples.
For authors there are no restrictions. Write your story, publish it yourself and see what happens. Readers may like it, they may not, people may buy it, they may not. What is evident from what I’ve seen in the world of self-publishing so far is that the cream tends to rise to the top. It may take a while, but if you’re an indie author with talent the only limit to your success is yourself.
From The Indie Side is the culmination of a lot of these success stories, some now well-established, others rising stars on the indie scene, but all extremely talented and deserving of their place on this book.
The sign of a good anthology is when you’ve finished one story and feel compelled to move straight on to the next. From The Indie Side is one of those. There are twelve stories featured, from Jason Gurley’s beautiful opening story The Winter Lands to (my personal favourite) Peter Cawdron’s thrilling finale The Man Who Remembered Today, spanning an excellent range of sub-genres. While you may be familiar with some of the more popular authors featured, what impressed me most were the writers I hadn’t yet read. There are some genuine gems in there, most notably from Brian Spangler, Sarah Foster and Susan May. I have to admit, some of the more fantasy-based stories weren’t for me, but that’s purely a matter of personal taste on my part, I can’t fault the writing.
From The Indie Side is a fitting snapshot of both the health and wealth of independent science fiction right now and whether you’re a hardened fan or about to dip a toe in the indie fiction pool, there is no better place to begin than here.
An interesting and enjoyable collection of tales by various authors. Some of these authors can really make you think about the deeper meaning behind the story. The Man Who Remembered Today by Peter Cawdron is about a man who has spent his working life saving people but having the wrong name and being in the wrong place has led to unfounded conclusions about him by the authorities. Gyre~Witchery by Kev Heritage is about a young girl who has the wrong colour eyes and is made an outcast and blamed for the troubles of her village simply because of her eye colour. The War Veteran by Susan May is a rather sad story of a man who has served his country in a war but one mistake and natural fear has led him to believe he is responsible for the deaths of his comrades and he has lived with the guilt for his whole life.
The better stories were by the better known authors. My favorites, in order of preference, were The Man Who Remembered Today (which may have a follow up, since it ends "Not Quite The End", Queen Joanna and Redoubt. Formatting, proof reading and presentation were up to scratch.