Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review # 145: Women Writing the Weird edited by Deb Hoag

    Women Writing the Weird is an anthology of fictional stories surveying the weird and strange, featuring short stories by twenty-six of today's most talented female authors; including: Nancy A. Collins, Aliette de Bodard, Caroline M. Yoachim, Rachel Turner, Mysty Unger, Helen Burke, Carol Novak, Gina Ranalli, Eugie Foster, any many more...  Editor Deb Hoag remarks that the "weird fiction" genre contains- "Stories that delight, surprise, that hang about the dusty edges of "mainstream" fiction with characters, settings, plots that abandon the normal and mundane and explore new ideas, themes and ways of being." 

    When I think of all the meanings associated with the word "weird", I imagine a great many scenarios. I have used the word to describe a plethora of things lately, ranging from peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches, to the clothes Abby Sciuto wears on NCIS, the series finale of LOST, my spaghetti-eating cat, and even myself. So when I spotted Women Writing the Weird, I harbored a vast amount of questions as to the level and realm of the "weirdness".
     I was happy to read Deb Hoag's introduction, "The Wild Women Are Loose," because it solidified my theory that everyone has a different sense of "weird" - most including journeys into the unusual, strange, unbelievable, and even impossible; no matter how insignificant. I can honestly say, that each story was completely unique and mindbogglingly ethereal, my favorites being The Scene Changes by Mysty Unger, A Stray Child by Rachel Turner, Bird in the Hand by Flavia Testa, Catfish Gal Blues by Nancy A. Collins, Phat is a Four-Letter Word by Deb Hoag, and Beneath the Skin by C.M. Vernon. Whether they made me giggle, frown, or cringe, each story left a resounding and detailed "weirdness" imprinted on my mind. I enjoyed the creepiness, the surprise, and the peculiar nature each story seemed to encapsulate; some more unexpected than others. I also liked how Deb Hoag introduced each author with a few notes about the story being showcased, as well as her own thoughts. These intros allowed me to see each piece from a different perspective.
     Overall, I really enjoyed what the anthology had to offer singularly, and as a whole. The stories are short, but don't let their size(s) fool you; they will affect the reader in mysterious ways. I must note that there were a few "erotic" stories in the collection, but many of them were tasteful and well-written. I would gladly read this collection again, and recommend it for women, (and men), who crave the "weird", or who'd just like to visit...
Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this anthology from the publisher (Dog Horn Publishing) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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