Read UnCommon Lands: A Collection of Rising Tides, Outer Space, and Foreign Realms (UnCommon Anthologies Book 5) by P.K. Tyler Ashleigh Gauch Daniel Arthur Smith Michael J.P. Whitmer Chris Godsoe E.E. Giorgi Shebat Legion Jeremy Rodden Online


UnCommon Lands presents 20 unique depictions of fantastic places and alien landscapes. These stories of the human (and inhuman) experience transcend time and place and will transport you to worlds you’ve never imagined. Including new and veteran voices, our UnCommon Authors bring you stories which span multiple genres, but hold together on a framework of quality storytelliUnCommon Lands presents 20 unique depictions of fantastic places and alien landscapes. These stories of the human (and inhuman) experience transcend time and place and will transport you to worlds you’ve never imagined. Including new and veteran voices, our UnCommon Authors bring you stories which span multiple genres, but hold together on a framework of quality storytelling and a solid theme. UnCommon Lands reminds us that where we are from isn’t as important as where we are going....

Title : UnCommon Lands: A Collection of Rising Tides, Outer Space, and Foreign Realms (UnCommon Anthologies Book 5)
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ISBN : 35921376
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 338 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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UnCommon Lands: A Collection of Rising Tides, Outer Space, and Foreign Realms (UnCommon Anthologies Book 5) Reviews

  • Lynda Dickson
    2019-03-25 06:50

    UnCommon Lands is a collection of 20 short stories from 20 different authors, each featuring a fantastical place or alien landscape. This review is for the story "Ecumenical Outpost 732" by P. K. Tyler, a story set in the Jakkattu world.Eleven-year-old T’se is a blue-eyed Mezna-human hybrid who lives on Station Cassiopeia with her mother, father, and baby sister. She spends her days staring out her window for a glimpse of Peritha, the red planet below, where the Jakkatu prisoners work the mines. She dreams of living on a planet, and feeling the ground beneath her feet, but Peritha is not safe for women, as the Jakkattu prisoners are far too violent. She also wonders about the Earth she has heard of in stories. All she has to look forward to from the age of twelve is a shaven head and a life sorting the minerals mined on the planet below. Until she meets a mysterious stowaway and begins questioning her life ..."Ecumenical Outpost 732" further explores aspects of life in the Jakkattu world, introduced in earlier stories and the novel, The Jakkattu Vector. The story highlights the persecution and discrimination that seem inherent in all societies. This is a simple narrative of friendship with another heartbreaking ending, a skill the author has perfected.I received this book in return for an honest review.Full blog post (22 August):

  • Closet Librarian
    2019-03-23 08:37

    A solid anthology ranging from SciFi to AltHistory to good old fashioned dystopia, including an interesting biblical flood/Promethean punishment mashup. The whole thing is worth a read, but here are my favorites alphabetically by author;Rakka Surprise by Bey Deckard – SciFi. It’s all about the vibes, and the vibes on foreign planet Beto are about to make Captain Drayan’s eyes bleed and derail his emissary mission to deliver a diplomatic gift to the locals. His first mate Sitik, a Rakka, stays by his side and helps him complete the mission; but is Sitik merely being a good crew member, or is there another motivation? Solid characterization, a splash of humor, and a snarky ship computer make for a read that has only one disappointment: it ends.Anderson’s Necessaries by Jon Etter – Fantasy/Whimsy – A magic convenience shop and three generation family business inexplicably has what everyone needs. When I first started reading it, I thought of Stephen King’s story “I Know What You Need”, but this is practically the antithesis, and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. If you haven’t yet read the King story go. Do it now. I’ll wait here. A Trap in Eshwar by E E Giorgi – SciFi – The tropes of interplanetary war and greed and rebel/separatist factions have been around as long as SciFi. Hyleesh defected from the people in power and anonymously sent classified information to rebel factions. Now one of them has tracked him down, and he’s too curious to resist a meeting invitation. It feels like a vignette or an interlude in a larger piece rather than a self-contained short, but it’s very well written, and you get a lot of character and story in a small package.The Rite by Christopher Godsoe – SciFi – Touching on eugenics, free will, destructive tendencies of humanity, AI, and simulated reality, this short story follows Nyla through the most difficult decision of her life. The Matrix backward – what if you could escape your wretched reality?Somewhere I Belong by Jeremy Rodden – Fantasy – Hybrid of Cool World and Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a twist of porn, which I appreciate, because apparently I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy. Angel has landed in the wrong place in the Tooniverse. Using quick wits and a flaming sword (because what kind of angel doesn’t have a flaming sword??) she works redefine herself to fit into a place that is not so . . . louche. Spanking good fun. Or maybe groping. Exhibit D – Michael K Schaefer – Dystopia – I found this vaguely reminiscent of Slaughterhouse Five for some odd reason, except instead of being unstuck in time, our hero develops the capacity to be unstuck in space. After being jailed for “crimes against the state” Dale finds himself isolated on the top of a tall stone pillar. After days. . . weeks. . . of tedium, a man on a neighboring pillar gives him the beginning of a blueprint for escape. I didn’t really get a feel for Dale as a person, which can be a challenge when you try to pack a big idea into a short story, but this is a strong contribution.

  • Gaele
    2019-03-07 08:54

    Review of Ecumenical Outpost 732 by P.K. Tyler In this collection of stories that introduce different worlds from these twenty authors, and I’m reviewing Ecumenical Outpost 732 by P.K.Tyler. A story that functions as a prequel, of sorts, for her Jakkatu worlds introduced in The Jakkatu Vector. We meet T’se at age eleven, she’s a Mezna-human hybrid, with blue eyes, longing for adventures outside of the small window she spends her days at. Living with her mother, father and sister, she wants to feel a planet beneath her feet, she wants adventure: but the stories she is told about dangers, and her parents efforts to shelter her from the dangers to come. See, at 12, she will be on Jakkatu, working in the mines with the others, destined to a life of toil. And then, T’se discovers a stowaway with more life experience who has seen many things, and her whole view of the way the world is and must be comes into question. A friendship that tosses the conventional and accepted prejudices, preconceptions and social boundaries to the side, Tyler imbues the story with a sense of the disaffected yet open: those who are willing to question the way things have always been in favor of what they see now: two friends, sharing, developing a bond and questioning the world around them. Tyler has done what I’ve come to expect – show the humanity and similarities between her characters, disputing the societal expectations in interactions, showing that when fear and obstacles are removed, very little is impossible. Of course, in this story, nothing is easy: but T’se is given a slice of possible before the real world intervenes. Tyler’s writing is wonderful (as always) and manages to bring emotions to a reader, while allowing them to look around at their own situations with new eyes, never truly forgetting the story they just finished. One of the few writers of Sci-Fi / Fantasy that I read and review, her stories are complex and nuanced, with something for everyone. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

  • Rita
    2019-02-25 12:44

    This is a review of CARCEREM by Daniel Arthur Smith.I love this short but captivation story.It takes place in a world which is full of different races of being, mortals being one of them. I love stories with different species living in the same world. Carcerem is a prison. A plane from which there is no escape...or so everyone is told. But a prisoner, who is an ex military officer, called Blitz, has the skills to fix a machine that can travel to between the planes. But only if he can fix it. The story is filled with a great description of Carcerem, giving so much life to it. I love the whole idea of a world which is monochrome. I also love the whole idea of different planes of existence and the creatures that inhabit them. Blitz is a brilliant character and if you have read Spectral Shift you will understand why. Everyone has what are called 'mods' or modifications, this means that everyone gets to look like they want to. This is a really awesome idea and one which could well be part of reality in the future in our world. I love this story for its unique world and its cleverly used science mixed in with fantasy folklorish characters. I found the story really interesting and exciting, especially right at the end. I was disappointed when it ended...I really wanted more. The only thing I would say is a negative is that, if this was a stand alone read, it might be hard to understand the world that is being portrayed. I have read Spectral Shift which is another in this series and therefore I understood this short story very well, but someone who has never read that book might find this hard to grasp. Having said that, I am giving this story a well deserved 4 stars.

  • J.G. Follansbee
    2019-02-26 07:56

    Fiction offers a way to explore different worlds with humane viewpoints that respect and welcome difference. Uncommon Lands features 18 speculative stories by new and published writers bravely testing cultural boundaries.Each story challenges the common view of what is real and possible. “Gators in Kansas and Other Hazards of Modern Farming,” by Ralph Walker, describes a farm unlike any other. It's part aquaculture and part conventional farm, where the fertile bottomland is literally the bottom of a broad, shallow body of water, and operators of the farm's machinery require a snorkel to plow the submerged fields. The ancient drive to have a piece of land to call your own motivates protagonist Salvatore to work his stake, while species that never belonged in Kansas or anywhere else north of Oklahoma in the past 250 million years threaten lives and limbs. Human dreams, however, are more powerful than invasive species and rising waters.Another story, “Walker Between the Worlds,” by Ashleigh Gauch, gets to the heart of why we need diverse voices in fiction. Gauch is part of the Haida First Nation, a powerful tribal group on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. In her story, Shepherd Mercer, a trained Haida shaman, breaks a fundamental law by using his powers for personal gain, rather than community service. After learning that the cost of his transgression is the soul of his beloved Aria, he undergoes a series of frightening trials to earn redemption, rejoin the community, and save the life of Aria. Though most religions feature physical and spiritual tests on the path to redemption, readers rarely see how this plays out in indigenous cultures outside the monotheistic mainstream. “Walker Between the Worlds” fills a portion of this gap.

  • Riina Y.T.
    2019-03-25 14:29

    UnCommon Lands is a anthology with 20 unique depictions of fantastic places and alien landscapes, spanning multiple genres. Today I would like to review the short story Rakka Surprise by the fabulous Bey Deckard. The story begins with Captain Drayan landing on a foreign planet on his mission to deliver a welcome present to the population of Beto. Unfortunately the planet messes with Drayan's 'primitive Earthling' sensory system and his visit is off to a bad start. Sitik, the big fuzzy Rakka, and Drayan's first mate, was by his side to sort it all out and help things to go on as smoothly as possible with the odd Betoans. With their mission accomplished, Drayan is left wondering if there is more to his first mate than he'd first thought. Turns out, Sitik has a big Rakka surprise for him!! I had so much fun with this shortie! Drayan is a great guy, someone I'd gladly follow on many more adventures through space. His interactions with Lala, his passiv-agressive space ship, added a fun touch. Sitik is absolutely adorable! He's got that endearing accent thing going on and is just a big fuzzy sweetheart. Despite being some kind of alien creature he seemed 'real' and in a way relatable. Once again Bey delivers fun and interesting characters, a unique settings and feels. This shortie has everything to get you hooked from the first sentence, entertain you until the end and makes you want more, more, more.As all UnCommon Lands stories, Bey Deckard's Rakka Surprise reminds us that where we are from isn’t as important as where we are going.

  • Silvaltur
    2019-03-06 06:45

    If you want to take a journey to many different shores, "UnCommon Lands" is a great and fun read for you. The twenty short and sometimes not so short stories of this anthology take the reader to many strange and fascinating places - be they in the future, on other planets or in a parallel plane of existence. The stories are diverse - fast-paced or slow, condensed or detailed, story- or concept-driven, gritty or tongue-in-cheek. So not all will be to your liking, but you will probably find most of them a worthy and some an even superb and thought-provoking read.Among those stories:"The Creaser" by Tom O'Brien, leads us to a future England, mostly buried under the sea due to "the melt" decades ago. In a strange new society, which O'Brien gives a colorful shape with few sentences, The Diver, a woman driven away from home, looks for magic in order to pay her debts and go back. Traveling between the few dry spots left, her thoughts show glimpses of the melt and a fragmented society, until she does encounter a magic - bound to change her...In "Rakka Surprise", Bey Deckard takes us to a strange foreign planet. Just being there causes a sickness which threatens Captain Drayan's diplomatic mission, yet teaches him much about the alien crewmate he hired on a whim...What would you do if a totalitarian regime imprisoned you on top of an incredibly high stone pillar you had no way of leaving? Dale, the protagonist of Michael K. Schaefer's "Exhibit D", sees other inmates on other pillars succumb to despair and is close to doing the same when a strangely unconcerned new prisoner tells him about his hare-brained way of getting out..."Ecumenical Outpost 732" is a space station above the mining planet Peritha, located in the middle of nowhere and in a future where Earth is only a myth. The girl T'se dreams of living on a planet, any planet, even Peritha, where the Jakkattu human slaves must work hard to atone for the crimes of their ancestors. Then she encounters a young Jakkattu stowaway..."The Pillars of Theonasa" hold the crumbling city the King of Wind Demons built. Roslyn Cay creates a short, intense story somewhere between Prometheus and Lucifer.In the 22nd century, "The Rite" is something every 18-year-old like Nyla has to undergo: 24 hours in a perfect world, created by the AIs which have the task to re-build the polluted Earth. At the end of these 24 hours, she will have to choose between the hard, drab life in reality and her conciousness staying for eternity in the perfect world, where she won't consume precious ressources and be a burden on the planet. All she'll have to do is leave her widowed mother behind - and her own body...I received an electronic advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. A friend of mine had one of his stories published in the anthology, and I'm glad the book turned out to be such a good read :-)

  • Kay Smillie
    2019-03-01 08:47

    What an excellent set of stories in 'UnCommon Lands'. There was not one single tale that I disliked or found fault with. They were all very enjoyable, and so well written.They ranged from: the 'aah, warm and fuzzy' story, 'Anderson's Necessaries' by Jon Etter, so beautifully written that I totally forgot the chocolate I had been eating, and it had melted by the time I had finished the story. Nothing usually takes my attention away from chocolate;to the'wow, that was so different - but makes you think - interesting' stories, such as, 'Gators in Kansas and Other Hazards of Modern Farming' by Ralph Walker, and 'Walker Between the Worlds' by Ashleigh Gauch, the latter making me feel like I was taking the journey too;and stories touching on all bits in between eg deep, experimental, fears, different kinds of war in real or unreal lands.I adored 'Ecumenical Outpost 732' by PK Tyler, a story which fits in beautifully to her Jakkattu series that I am enjoying. Two children from opposing factions find friendship on a space station, both prejudiced in different ways by other people. Tyler is so good at telling sentient life stories, whether it is human or non-human.The rest of the 'UnCommon' series of books are well worth reading too, and this volume certainly has not disappointed me at all. An easily scored five stars.

  • Deanne Charlton
    2019-03-24 13:51

    UnCommon Lands is a collection with something for everybody. Fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, horror. Sweet, eerie, poignant, frightening, weird. Unfathomable heights, depths of all descriptions. Soldiers, mothers, swimmers, robots, suckers, demons, prisoners, gators, toons, and more.I read in most genres and found satisfaction for several of my tastes. I appreciate the strange places the collection took me to, fretted over the choices some characters had to make, and am glad I brought a serving spoon to the feast.Favorites this time around (I'll probably add others when re-reading):"Walker Between the Worlds" - last story - read it first, or at least don't stop before you get to it. Harrowing and fulfilling."Galileo's Dog" - I think some part of me will always be "up there" with the pooch."Gators in Kansas" - real characters made me contemplate a likely future."Anderson's Necessaries" - just what I needed. :)With individual stories worth the selling price, UnCommon Lands is a bargain for the mind.

  • Christinaraven
    2019-03-19 06:49

    A good anthology full of stories that were all a bit different from each other. Quite a few were new authors so this was a great way to try them all out. I was never quite sure what would happen or what I would get when I started each story and that was half the fun. Some made me laugh, some groan, and some made me think. Great book for lunch time reading as most were not too long and a quick read. Really liked that in the front was a quick blurb for each story so made it great to go back and re-read a few. My honest review is that I really liked this anthology. A great way to try out authors and be entertained.

  • Susan
    2019-02-27 09:44

    Overall this set gets 3.5 stars. There are various genres in this book including post-apocalypse, dystopian, and SciFi stories. The one thing they have in common is that they involve unusual lands whether here on Earth (some version of it) or elsewhere in the universe. Add in diverse writers and it gets even better. The variety of authors and storylines will keep you riveted for hours. I even found a couple of new authors (new to me anyways) that I want to read more from. All the stories are short quick reads. Perfect for a lunch break or for when you don't have much time. I received a copy of this book and chose to leave a review for other readers.

  • Thomas
    2019-02-25 12:37

    I haven't read the entire collection yet, but I did read "Galileo's Dog" at the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it very much. It made me cry. Not many stories make me cry. If it's representative of the quality of the rest of the stories (and based on the previous UnCommon titles, it probably is) this book is well worth the price.

  • Anna Mattaar
    2019-02-23 10:45

    Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and I know one of the authors from a different anthology in which we both published a story. None of that influenced this review in any way, except maybe the fact that it exists.On average my rating would be 3,5 stars, so I'll be nice and round up. Most of the stories range from 3 to 5 stars, with my favourites being Rakka Surprise, Gators in Kansas and Ecumenical Outpost 732. There where only two stories that I couldn't enjoy at all. On the whole, I'd say this is a pretty good anthology with some really interesting ideas and covering a wide range of styles and topics.The Creaser - Tom O'BrienCaptivating story with a nice twist. I loved how it plunged me right into its world, only explaining the absolutely necessary. It did get a little confusing sometimes, especially the layout and such of a certain location, although I think I got it in the end.Gators in Kansas and Other Hazards of Modern Farming - Ralph WalkerA more or less ordinary story in an extraordinary setting. It paints a vivid image of an unusual farm, and the story comes together nicely in the end. Loved it. I did find some small errors, but they didn't distract me too much.Rakka Surprise - Bey DeckardIt starts with an intriguing mystery and goes on to explore the difficulties of interacting with a different cultures/species... plus something else which I'm not going to spoil here but found very well done. Really enjoyed this.The Crater - Kenneth RobbinsI liked the light, detached writing style in the beginning of this story; it did a great job depicting the life of soldiers following orders without knowing what they're for. The rest of the story was also well done, but I might have liked it better if I hadn't accidentally looked at the summary beforehand.Galileo's Dog - Karen Gemma BrewerI wasn't surprised to learn that the author also writes poetry, because that's what this story reminded me of. Not really any twists or turns, but it paints a beautiful picture of a sweet and sad situation, and I liked discovering certain things about the characters (I learned my lesson and skipped the summary this time).Exhibit D - Michael K. SchaeferI really liked the ideas behind this surreal story, but somehow it didn't draw me in like the author's story in In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett. Maybe it's that the pacing feels a bit off, or some ends could have been tied up better. Still, it's an intriguing story and a fun read.Ecumenical Outpost 732 - P.K. TylerA touching story about a little girl in a harsh world, with a really well-thought-out setting. One of my favourite things about it is that the main character is no hero, even though she might like to be one. It lends the story more weight.The Pillars of Theonasa - Roslyn CayWhile the setting of this story seemed very interesting, it would have benefited from some serious copy editing. As it stands, confusingly worded or incomplete sentences distracted me too much from the story itself to be able to enjoy it.The Rite - Christopher GodsoeA nice read with an intriguing premise that was well thought out. There was a bit too much explaining (instead of showing) for my taste, but it got better in the second half.Silicon Oar - Shebat LegionA short and unusual story in which the reader, just like the viewpoint character, only gradually gets an idea of what's going on. I still don't feel like I have the complete picture, but it was an interesting read.Carcerem - Daniel Arthur SmithThe setting is interesting and the writing pretty good, but I found the characters mostly one-dimensional and the plot rather straightforward. Not a bad story, but not a very special one either.Somewhere I Belong - Jeremy RoddenThis story is obviously meant humorously, but I found it only childish and irritating.A Trap in Eshwar - E.E. GiorgiThis one took some time to get into (about as long as it took for the intrigue to show up) but then I started enjoying it more and more. I'm not sure if having four consecutive viewpoint characters is the best way to tell a short story, but here it worked well enough.Dream Solution - Michael J.P. WhitmerAn interesting take on nightmares, with an unexpected ending. Overall a nice read, although the action felt a bit cartoonish at times.ConseQuent - Brent MeskeThe setting of this story felt like a rich, original world with its own culture, and Letzey is a great character. I was a bit disappointed by the turn the story took, even if the underlying concept was interesting. There just seemed to be too much unused promise in the setting.Dragomir - Tausha JohnsonFor a long time this fairytale-like story seemed to steer down familiar paths (... figuratively) but then some things started to show up that kept me on my toes, not knowing what to expect next. It's a nice mix of classic fairytale elements and something stranger. I like how the ending explained just enough to bring the story to a close, but still leaves a mystery.The Last Immaculate - Levi JacobsThis story takes the idea of a human-created world populated with simulated people and takes it to the next stage, where the inhabitants are fully aware of their situation. Although it could use a bit of polishing, I found it intriguing and unpredictable all the way through. Great read.Anderson's Necessaries - Jon EtterI may be biased because I just love magic shops, but I loved this sweet and whimsical story about a shop with an agenda, especially once I got past the first part where the shop's history is explained. No Small Favors - Anne SkinnerInteresting story, and I liked the idea behind it. Sadly the main character was rather bland and weak-willed and the writing tended to fall into clichés sometimes. Not a bad read overall but not the best either.Walker Between the Worlds - Ashleigh GauchA strong story to end the anthology, well written and with an original premise. There were some bits that I had to read a few times over before I understood what was going on, but on the whole it was pretty good.

  • Robert Defrank
    2019-03-12 07:58

    While I haven't finished all of the stories in the book as of this date, I'm reviewing based on the first story I've read in the collection: No Small Favors, a bittersweet gem that touches on such themes as forsaking the substance for grasping at the shadow and not being aware of the truly important things all around your everyday life.In short, a woman has the opportunity to live a magically-simulated year of a 'perfect' life. This is always a cost of course, and it seems so small at first. But not by the end.Now to see what other strange vistas await in the rest of the tales.

  • Lorena
    2019-03-10 07:38

    If you enjoy speculative fiction short stories, this is a great collection. The stories are well-written, original, often surprising, and sometimes challenging. While I enjoyed some stories more than others, I appreciated the variety of settings, styles, and themes. One thing I would have preferred would be more optimistic stories. To be fair, it's not as though these stories are without hope or filled with overwhelming doom, gloom, and violence, but at the same time, there aren't too many laughs and happy endings."Anderson's Necessaries" by Jon Etter was probably my favorite story in this collection. This was a sweet, whimsical romantic fantasy in a small town setting that reminded me of a Rockwell painting. The characters (which include the titular shop) were charming and funny, and I was genuinely delighted by the ending."Rakka Surprise" by Bey Deckard, a humorous space opera, also deserves special mention. The banter here was really cute, and the ending was sweet.P.K. Tyler's "Ecumenical Outpost 732" was probably the most emotional read for me. I was quickly drawn in to this short scifi story set in Tyler's Jakkattu Universe, and I felt gutted by the ending. This story works just fine as a stand-alone read, but if you want to learn more about this setting, I highly recommend the first novel, The Jakkattu Vector, or the first of her Jakkattu shorts, Avendui 5ive.The story I found most thought-provoking and have been discussing with many of my friends is the cyberpunk short "The Rite" by Christopher Godsoe. I was intrigued by the dilemma the heroine of this story faces, and I suspect I'll continue to think about this story for a long time to come.I received a free ARC of this book from one of the authors and volunteered to review it. The version I reviewed was generally well written, well edited, and cleanly formatted. I noticed only a few typos.

  • Ana
    2019-03-04 07:37

    This is only a review for one of the stories of the anthology and the one that make me buy it, Rakka Surprise by Bey Deckard.It was such a lovely story. I loved it. The odd world they were into, which is the common element on the anthology, was very interesting. The plot was great and it was so nice to discover little things about the characters. I loved the interactions between Drayan and Lala, it was so fun at times. I also loved Sitik, he was a fantastic character even though I struggle a lot trying to understand what he was trying to say most of the times, but I guess it was intended that way. The only issue I had with it was that it was too short. I wanted so bad to keep reading about them but I still liked what I read. It was an amazing story.I have read other three stories of the anthology so far. I liked what I’d read. After Rakka Surprise, my favorite has been Silicon Oar.

  • Diana in SC
    2019-02-26 07:52

    Hauntingly Wonderful5 starsI love the UnCommon anthologies because they never fail to have wildly imaginative Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror short stories. So far in this one, I have only read P.K. Tyler's "Ecumenical Outpost 732", a short story in her excellent Jakkattu series. This series shows a dystopic, post-apocalyptic future with vivid pespectives from people in various part and far-flung places in the society. This story is a brief 13-pages, but it is really deep. It is an eloquent, evocative snapshot of a beautiful child. Her wonder and vivacious are impacted by a bleak existence mapped out for her life, and then she meets a boy with an even bleaker life. If you like dystopic stories sometimes, you have to try this one. I can't wait to read more in this anthology.

  • S.A. Stovall
    2019-03-17 09:33

    This is a review for Gators Kansas and Other Hazards of Modern Farming, by Ralph Walker.This short story follows a man named Sal as he works a near-future farm. What I appreciated most about this story was the interesting tidbits of farming thrown in throughout the narrative. They harvest certain foods at a rapid rate, which means that three people can cover a lot of land (and get a lot of food really quick). But flooding up the river wrecks their work, and the story gets a bit of action when a gator actually shows up--I'm going to try and avoid spoilers, but someone even loses two fingers. It gets messy.The heart of the story comes from Sal's struggles. He's been working the farm for 6 years in an attempt to give his family a better life. He's lied to his wife about how much stake he has in the farm (which is to say, he has none at all, he's just a worker) but he persists regardless. Again, I don't want to spoil too much, but the ending was satisfying. While there were typos in this tale, I loved the voice of the narration. Any errors were quickly forgotten as I read, and as long as you aren't nitpicky about such details, I would say this is a perfect short story that highlights uncommon lands.

  • Cathy
    2019-03-23 09:35

    I received a free copy of this book from the author for my honest review.Uncommon Lands is an anthology of 20 stories and continues the Uncommon books that have short stories by creative writers. In this group of tales we find prisoners who awaken to find themselves on top of incredibly high columns with no way off; farmers who do their work underwater with alligators lurking; stores that hide items from customers and proprietors until they know what they really want. It is filled with creative questions and creative solutions. My favorite, “Exhibit D” involves a young man who goes to sleep in his prison cell and awakens on top of an extremely tall stone column with no possible way off. He is surrounded by many other columns with people on them and realized that they have been there for various time periods and various states of despair. Until suddenly another prisoner arrives on a neighboring column and tells him there is indeed a way out of this predicament. He tells him a fantastic tale and challenges him to get off the column. How? That’s where the talent and creativity of the author enters. Read it to find out.

  • Theresa Braun
    2019-03-20 06:50

    Looking for a way to escape from reality as you know it? Take the plunge into this vast collection of other worlds and dimensions full of imagination—concluding sometimes with a happy ending, or a little bit of mayhem. The beginning of the anthology includes a story summary, giving readers a sneak peek into what’s in store. Also, it allows you to pick and choose based on the types of tales that might tickle your fancy. I found it to be a welcome feature. Some stories that stood out for me: “The Rite” by Christopher Godsoe presents a dystopia where at the age of eighteen everyone must choose between the grim reality of life as he or she knows it, or an idyllic hologram existence. We follow Nyla and her choice, which is a well-written adventure making us question what it is we truly value. I really like fiction that makes me reflect, which is exactly what happened here. “Dragomir” by Tausha Johnson is an excellent trip into another time that’s chocked full of ancient traditions and superstitions. We learn what can happen when one gets lost in the bowels of the forest. I really enjoyed this dark story where nothing is really what it seems. Johnson craftily tells the tale through the disoriented main character, making for a great surprise ending. “Anderson’s Necessaries” by Jon Etter is a fun love story set around a five-and-dime store that sells just what the small town customer needs. Ruth comes in looking for colored chalk that the owner orders for her. But the store is sneaky in weaving a happily-ever-after. “No Small Favors” by Anne Skinner really drew me in. The main character is lured to the Room that promises to give her a year of happiness. All she has to do is give up one year in exchange. Despite her instincts to run for the hills, she makes a bargain that makes us question whether or not we should embrace our seemingly hum-drum existence or go for the fantasy life. This story really had me waxing philosophical. Overall, these tales are mostly sci-fi. So, if you are a fan of the genre, you won’t be disappointed. I fully recommend diving into the pages of this book. You might even find a favorite author to follow, as I have.

  • Julie
    2019-03-11 11:47

    I got this collection to read Jeremy Rodden's contribution, "Somewhere I Belong". I follow Rodden on twitter, and he's definitely a Cool Dude. So when this anthology came out, I figured, "Why not?"A different reviewer compared this to Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Cool World. The comparison holds up, and there is a lot of humor in here. One of the jokes made me laugh out loud as I was reading it.The tale here is short, even for a set of short stories. I would have liked a longer heroine's journey. I was settling in to read through 2 towns in Ao (where bad Toons go), and I thought we'd get the whole Dante-esque 7 circles. So not a bad story at all. I just wanted MORE. I think Rodden is clever enough he might have been able to deliver more variations.My rating for this story is 3.5, but I'll found up to a 4 for the rest of the anthology.

  • Mez
    2019-03-23 06:50

    I've only read Rakka Surprise because I don't normally read short stories but I have to read everything Bey Deckard has written so I bought this book.Rakka Surprise is a wonderful and weird short story about a captain and his first mate. It's funny and cute and totally unlike the dark stuff Bey normally writes but I really did like it alot and I'm hoping that he writes about them again.

  • Michael Schaefer
    2019-03-03 12:34

  • Daniel
    2019-03-25 14:53