September’s book is Hear Me Roar, edited by Liz Grzyb and published by Ticonderoga. The subtitle is 17 Stories of Real Women and Unreal Worlds. As the editor says in her introduction, the anthology features ‘the stories of women who, every day, need to be strong and brave in many different ways that aren’t always recognised as such.’
I love the fact that these stories are not all about warrior women, or about women who can only show strength if they behave in ways traditionally considered masculine (though some of them do.) For that reason, one of my favourite stories was Jenny Blackford’s The Sorrow, which begins the book – a story about scientists in a Mars colony, whose work suffers because they are affected by crippling depression. In this tale the author celebrates both the strength and the tenderness of her female characters, nailing the anthology’s brief in a mere ten pages.
I’m a great admirer of Faith Mudge’s writing, so rich in folklore and so original. Her contribution to Hear Me Roar is no exception. Blueblood blends elements of two fairy tales, Bluebeard and The Goose Girl, to create a remarkable and triumphant new story in which her characters snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
There’s something for everyone in this anthology, from gritty westerns to dark fairy tales, from dystopian science fiction to hip urban fantasy. There are many standout stories, including several that, in very different ways, explore human civilization in decline –Kay Chronister’s devastating Dustbowl, Stephanie Gunn’s compelling Broken Glass, Kathryn Hore’s thought-provoking Generation Zero. A lighter touch is offered by Jane Routley’s Barista, in which unlikely super-heroes stand up for their local community. The final story, Clara’s by Marlee Jane Ward, is a post-apocalyptic tale of the ‘you’ve got to laugh so you don’t cry’ variety. Other strong contributions are Susan Wardle’s taut vengeance story A Truck Called Remembrance, and a fairy tale with a twist, A Hedge of Yellow Roses by the multi-talented Kathleen Jennings.
All the stories in Hear Me Roar are good, and every reader is likely to have a different favourite as the editor has gathered such a diverse collection. Highly recommended!
You can purchase Hear Me Roar here, or via the usual online booksellers. It’s available in print and ebook editions.
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