I’m excited today to jump in on the Borderlands Anthology Review Tour and offer my review.
This is a fun and entertaining collection of stories from so many great authors. Each world within the Actuator universe is brought to life with highly creative imagery. The descriptive styles of many of the authors are vivid, and each story carries a distinct flavor. Characters are introduced with peculiar obstacles that challenge their goals, lives, and relationships in, at times, deeply humanizing ways. Also, there were lots of dragons. Dragons make everything awesome. Here are highlights of some of my favorite stories in the lot:
I loved Sara Wolf’s ability to bring the sensory aspects of the Actuator world to life with intriguing and beautiful descriptions woven seamlessly into Daniel’s urgent quest to find his girlfriend in “Remembering Emily.”
Matthew Cox’s “Stolen Orchid,” also has fabulous descriptions of an Oriental cyberpunk world, and I found the plight of the characters heart-tugging.
“The Blackbird’s Tale” by Dan Willis is an intriguing noir adventure. One of my favorite aspects was the black and white movie effect of the setting zone the main character, David, crossed into.
Mara Valderran’s “The Austenation” was just plain brilliant. I was entertained by the Pride and Prejudice-specific twist to this world alone.
“Escape,” by Patrick Burdine was awesomely creepy.
I enjoyed the rather bleak, post-apocalyptic style world of Jason Purdy’s “Anna and Lena.”
Juhi’s “The Search for Punarnav” had a cool setting in which a man is trying to diffuse a bomb in an Indian bazaar one moment, and finds himself in an old-fashioned realm of myth with a whole new set of dangers the next.
There is truly something for everyone to like in here. Great stories. Highly recommended reading!
Check out all the information on the Borderlands Anthology below, along with links to where you can find this great story collection online.
The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology
Genre(s): Anthology, Action & Adventure, Alternative History, Cyberpunk, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Myths, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: September 11, 2014
Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson at Blue Sky Design
When the Actuator breaks the earth into a patchwork of altered realities, the remaining Machine Monks begin looking for the Keys to put it back. In the meantime, everyone in the world has been transformed without knowing why. This collection tells about some of the people struggling to deal with the change.
- In “Remembering Emily,” by Sara Wolf, Daniel must rescue his distant girlfriend from danger. Worse, she might forget him.
- Matthew Cox explores Cyberpunked China in “Stolen Orchid,” where a man finds his wife has become a ghost. His only hope is to cross the border to an unfamiliar realm.
- In “The Blackbird’s Tale,” Dan Willis tells of a Machine Monk named David, who works his way through Chicago’s noir scene to find an Actuator Key.
- Nathan Yocum gives us “The Dream Journal of Oren Smith Wessely,” in steampunk Arizona where his dreams suddenly come to life.
- Mara Valderran’s “The Austenation” crosses Pride and Prejudice with werewolves so the young heroine is forced to do the unthinkable and take matters into her own hands.
- In “Escape,” by Patrick Burdine, a group of teenagers are caught in a motherless town where all the fathers have turned into faceless, soul-sucking monsters.
- “The Ritual,” by Whitney Trang, is a haunted house in Japan where a ghost seeks to sacrifice a young woman’s sister to save his family.
- “The Gatekeepers of Change” is James Pratt’s chronicle of the awakening of great power in a man preparing to enact terrible plans.
- “The Ringer” is Craig Nybo’s tale about a detective in New Orleans facing zombies and other undead monsters as he assists a client in taking on her crime lord husband.
- A Soviet soldier guarding Chernobyl, in Jason Purdy’s “Anna and Lena,” must escape the poisoning by crossing an unknown border.
- Jenny Persson brings us a teen in Viking Sweden in “Once Upon a Frozen North,” who looks to the steampunk airships just across the border as a means for her escape.
- Jay Wilburn tells of drug addicted Travis, in “Halfway,” who finds the sanctuary of the sanitarium suddenly turns violent.
- The author Juhi’s “The Search for Punarnav” takes us to India, where a man seeks to become a healer despite the dangerous Hindu mythologies suddenly made real.
- Jason A. Anderson brings us “15 Seconds of Fame,” in Steampunk London where a detective risks everything to save a child from her mob boss father.
- In “Forever Young,” Wilbert Stanton explores the fate of an old man who finds himself young again, after paying his life’s savings to gain admission into an exclusive realm.
- Finally, James Wymore’s tale, “Cult of the Actuation,” continues the story from book 1, as Dragon Star takes on religious zealots, organized in the wake of the Change, who have taken one of the Machine Monks captive.
I’m feeling deliciously sneaky right now. I’ve been working on a steampunk novel since November, and I decided to submit the first act to Xchyler’s “The Strange Island of…” contest for kicks and giggles. Apparently it worked… Holy moly!
I’m very excited!
The anthology is planned for release in May.
The next anthology releases on Xchyler’s list include The Toll of Another Bell (join the January 31 Facebook launch party here: https://www.facebook.com/events/621475937997967) and Mechanized Masterpieces II.
For any interested writers, be sure to check out the details for Xchyler’s next contest: “Losers Weepers!” They’re an especially great team for new writers to work with:
Also, if you happen to have read Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions, we would very much appreciate a moment of your time to leave a review. If you haven’t read it, you should! Because Samson as a jinni, and other awesome stuff: http://www.amazon.com/Legends-Lore-Anthology-Mythic-Proportions-ebook/dp/B00OGLQ0QC.
Leading Edge Magazine Issue 66 has gone live once more on Amazon. It was taken down over the holidays to fix some formatting and graphic design issues. Today, it is available for your enjoyment.
My short story “Driveless” is featured in this issue, as are some other fun stories and poems.
It is a new year, a chance to reflect on what I’ve done and where I’m going from here.
I’m blown away by all the opportunities I’ve had this year to contribute my thoughts and experience as an indie author on writing panels, from LTUE to Salt Lake Comic Con and beyond. I’ve made so many friends who have encouraged me and buoyed me up along the way. This year, I self published a novella with fantastic cover art by Cater Reid. I had a short story published in Leading Edge Magazine, and discovered Xchyler Publishing through the amazing Scott Taylor where I had another short story officially published. Dave Butler’s generosity and ability to bring a bunch of indie authors together to share his booth space at these conventions has allowed me to mingle with many local authors and make numerous contacts I wouldn’t have managed all on my own. It’s been an exciting year full of growth where my still very green writing and publishing career are concerned.
Outside of writing, I found a new job at Ancestry.com as an archival digitization specialist last summer and have made many new friends there.
For the future, I wish I could say the path is clear. My dream is still to go to graduate school and become a vertebrate paleontologist, but it looks like that might be out of reach for a few years until I’m ready to retake the GRE. This is probably the most frustrating part of my life’s journey right now. Writing full time began more as a way to distract myself from other things that weren’t quite going as expected years ago, and I’ve had mixed feelings about this path. Writing fiction is a talent I’d been wanting to develop for some time, and it feels wonderful that I’m finally getting the hang of it well enough to compete with others on the market. But it’s also a path my parents have not supported as much overall, and it makes me wonder sometimes…well, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing right now?
As I am LDS, I often seek priesthood blessings for things that concern me in life. The priesthood blessings I receive on this topic assure me repeatedly that there are many paths one can take in life that will fulfill the things we’ve come here on earth to do, and that the path I’m on right now is perfectly worthwhile. I hope someday I still get be the scientist I’ve dreamed of becoming, and contribute to the world in that way. For now, I’m a geology bachelor in limbo, a part-time archival digitization specialist, and an author who hopes her powers to convey beautiful stories that entertain, explore, and inspire will only continue to grow in the coming year.
My goal is to complete two novels this year, and to shoot for a pro-market short fiction publication. My sister thinks dating more extensively, socializing, and increased physical activity should probably go on my resolution list for this year, too. We’ll see about those…ha ha!
Happy New Year, and thanks to everyone who has been in my life the past year! So many people have influenced my life and my perspectives for the better, and I’ve grown in so many ways because of you, your examples, your kindness and encouragement, and your enthusiasm. May you each and all have a wonderful year, and many years of life to come.