This is the second issue of a new series of e-books from Rampant Loon Press. Each volume is an anthology of fantasy and science fiction short stories and this is the first issue I had a chance to read. I found this to be a solid collection, and each tale was short enough that I could read several in one sitting.
- First Impressions by Aaron Bradford Starr - This was a story of first contact gone wrong. While the ending did not break any new ground among sci-fi themes, it was well done and I enjoyed the humor.
- The Bamboo Garden by Clare L. Deming - This was the most amazing, magnificent, and imaginative fantasy story I've ever read. Disclaimer...I wrote it, so how objective do you think I'm going to be? It's a fantasy tale in a non-traditional setting, and I think it's a good one.
- Home Security by Gary McKenzie - When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This takes on a new meaning when Roy purchases a home security system from a shady fellow. I felt the characters were well-drawn and the idea was original.
- Borrowed Feathers by Sarah Frost - A creepy look at the aftermath of an alien invasion. Humans are taken by the aliens, but birds of all kinds are gathered up and brought to one woman, trapped in a skyscraper and wondering how to go on. This was a rather chilling tale with lots of unanswered questions, but a fascinating read.
- If This Be Magic by Anatoly Belilovsky - Two men, out for a night on the town, discover that magic takes many forms when they encounter a strange house and a man that intrigues their dates. I felt like I missed something in this story, like a reference I didn't understand. I think that the men were nicely set up to be unlikable, and the end was fitting.
- The Oily by E. A. Black - Lara and Nate return to their childhood home where they confront haunted memories and secrets of Winwood House and the neighboring swamp. I don't usually like ghost stories, but this was one of my favorite selections in the book.
- In Fall, After the Harvest by S. Travis Brown - Dave resists his company's new health and fitness initiative when almost everyone eventually gives in. This was the shortest piece but was funny, with an unexpected twist.
- The King of Ash and Bones by Rebecca Roland - A ruined king seeks revenge in a fantasy setting where magic is transferred by implanted worms. I really enjoyed the idea behind the magic and I would love to see more of this world.
- Watch This! by Henry Vogel - Two uncouth hillbillies lacking in common sense find themselves in an unexplained line. Humorous, and fitting with the cover of the issue.