Sunday, January 25, 2009

Outsiders edited by Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpactrick

Everyone needs to step out of their comfort zones now and again. Try some ethnic food, walk an extra mile, root for the Cleveland Browns, that sort of thing. So I, despite my reservations, thought I'd give this a try.

After all, there's a Neil Gaiman story in here.

Except that it's a Gaiman poem, and was over all too quick. From there, it was a steady slide into the type of fiction that I really have no interest in:

vampire lust
borderline bestiality, guised as "fantasy"
infodumps larger than a garbage scow
thinly veiled pornographic writing (just write porn and be done with it)
gratuitous violence

This is not to say the entire anthology was like that, but it seems the editors opted to decide that "edgy" and "out there" meant picking things that pushed the envelope for the sake of doing it rather than to tell a good story. It leads to overly clever stories like "Lighten Up" about a group of people who rob those who dislike smoking in bars. That's not outsiders, that's just ridiculous.

None of the stories really have anything going for them. Even those that aren't bad, such as "Ruby Tuesday", a takeoff on RHPS with a grieving girl using a cult movie to assuage her pain, can only be best described as, well, not bad. "Craving" was rather creepy, but the narration style is so narrator-heavy that the reader doesn't get to feel anything or be surprised.

All in all, I just need to accept that this just isn't fiction geared to me. But if you like any all all kinds of fantasy and can stand sex in places it doesn't belong--and I know there's a huge market for that--you might like this better than I did.

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