A TOWN CALLED PANDEMONIUM, ed by Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry,Â Jurassic London, p/b Â£8.99, ebook Â£3.99 http://www.pandemonium-fiction.com
Reviewed by Glen Mehn
Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin continue their unbroken streak of top-notch anthologies. These are voices to watch in the short story world. They’ve put down the overtly weird for ten stories in a shared world â€“ bringing together both emerging talent as well as established authors.
A Town Called Pandemonium takes place over the year of 1853, in a fictionalised universe not that different from our own.
The Old West is a rich, but heavily worked vein of stories and talent. The stories and characters have been done in so many ways â€“ from stock characters through films like ‘The Wild Bunch’ and ‘The Unforgiven’ that turn tropes on their head â€“ that it’s difficult to find something fresh and original. This is where the weird can come in and breathe fresh life and a new look, but as we see, new stories can still be told in this setting.The collection starts off strong, and very creepy with Will Hill’s “The Sad Tale of the Deakins Boys”, which is one not to read before bed. Were you to, however, Sam Sykes’ “Wish for a gun” is a meditation on loss in an uncaring, nonsensical world that brought a catharsis beyond tears.
I could happily write up each of the ten stories in this collection, but it’s best if you just go and get this excellent collection, and savour each of the stories, ideally with hot coffee and cold whisky, from Jon Oliver’s story about stories to Scott K. Andrews’ tale of a stranger coming to town, naked, with a task and dust in his nethers.
In this town of Pandemonium, nothing is ever as it seems. Truths are revealed, usually, and justice is seldom if ever served, as it should be.
Adam Hill provides stunning artwork.
A portion of the proceeds from all anthologies from Jurassic London go to charity; the selected charity for ‘A Town Called Pandemonium’ is the Arthur C. Clarke award.