Henry Herz

Books: Fantasy

Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology (2014)

Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology (2014) edited by Henry Herz

Beyond the PaleI probably started reading this right after it came out, and got hung up on a single story. Two years later I decided to skip through the stories that didn't interest me and finish the anthology.

The noun "pale" refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). "Pale" came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, "beyond the pale" means foreign, strange, or threatening.

"Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" by Saladin Ahmed was one of the stories I liked. A young man of education and learning–a court physician–is all but exiled, but finds patients even in his exile.

(A) man is not merely who he is, but what he has.

"The Children of the Shark God" by Peter S. Beagle is the tale a a young woman who weds the shark god, and the adventures of her children as they search out their father.

(C)ourage and attention are not the same thing. Listening is not the same as hearing.

"Misery" by Heather Brewer was a story I struggled to finish. But I did finish it.

"Shadow Children" by Heather Brewer was a just plain distressing story. But I finished it.

"Even Hand" by Jim Butcher is a Dresden files story told from the POV of the bad guy, Johnny Marcone.

After a few visits from Dresden and his ilk, I had invested in cheap, light doors at dramatic (as opposed to tactical) entry points.

"Red Run" by Kami Garcia is a ghost story, where the girl wants revenge on the ghost who killed her brother. I really liked this story.

"Pale Rider" by Nancy Holder I ended up skimming, since it was mostly a dystopia, and I don't enjoy dystopias.

"Frost Child" by Gillian Philip I skimmed.

"South" by Gillian Philip is the story or a grandfather, remembering his wife. Mostly.

"A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen I quite liked. A young woman returns home for her father's death–although it ends up being his funeral. There is something strange about his death, but no one will say anything straight out, perhaps because she's been gone for so long she is no longer one of them, or perhaps because they don't want to call bad things by speaking of them.

Even at five and six and seven I'd been an unbeliever. Not having a mother had made me so. How could I worship a God whom both Mrs. Marr and my father assured me had so wanted mother, He'd called her away. A selfish God, that, who had listened to his own desires and not mine. Such a God was not for me. Not then. Not now.

"The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones" by Nancy & Belle Holder is a silly and fun story, a good way to end the anthology.

Dracula, but with mice. 

Published by Birch Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10