Review: Crime & Punishment

Crime and Punishment: A Speculative Fiction Anthology - S.W. Fairbrother, Lucas Bale, S. Elliot Brandis, G. S. Jennsen, Michael Patrick Hicks, J.S Collyer, Alex Roddie, Samuel Peralta, Harry Manners

Reading an anthology is one of my favorite ways of being introduced to new worlds, new ideas, and new authors. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, with its eight stories by talented authors, is no exception.

 

The collection starts out with "Atonement" by Lucas Bale, introducing us to a bounty hunter who must track down others to stay free himself. Showing that sometimes it's easier to let yourself see only the surface of things, but that you might lose your humanity in the process, this is a story of regret and redemption. 4 ½ Stars

 

"Bang:Bang" by S. Elliot Brandis brings us Schrödinger's cat in written form. Would you be able to pull the trigger, knowing that there would be a 50% chance you would die instead? The government doesn't think you can. Out of the entire collection, this is probably my favorite story, since I loved the cause to effect of the story progression, as well as the uncertainty involved. 5 Stars

 

J.S. Bollyer's "New Tricks" is another great story, bringing us into the jail cell of a man—a boy, really—who is accused of killing others, seemingly with his mind. This story is fast-paced and brings us intrigue and action both, wrapped up in an intergalactic tale. 4 ½ Stars

 

Traitors go down the hole. The traitors go into the moss. And the worms are intelligent. What is really going on in S.W. Fairbrother's "Oubliette"? Unique and well-written, this author hooked me in the first few pages! 5 Stars

 

The theme of "The Marque" by Michael Patrick Hicks is difficult choices. In this western-feeling story set after an alien invasion, we get to see how the choices others make play out in the long run, and it leaves us to contemplate what hope there would be in a similar situation, and what we would do if we found ourselves there. 4 ½ Stars

 

"Solatium" by G.S. Jennsen is a story of justice, set in the lawless colony of Pandora, and became one of my favorites in this collection. It can be read alone or as a supplement to the author's Aurora Rising trilogy... I loved the characters, so I've added the trilogy to my TBR list! 5 Stars

 

"Arcadio's Valley" by Harry Manners gives us a view into a future where humans are so engrossed in technology that we stop seeing the world around us, stop caring about what makes us human. The only exceptions are the elderly, who remember a time before the Mind, when people actually were allowed to have thoughts and ideas of their own. I really enjoyed this story, especially since it is a glimpse into a possible future. 5 Stars

 

The last story in this collection if "The Great Correction" by Alex Roddie. After humanity brought the Earth to the brink of disaster, the Great Correction took place—leaving the humans remaining with rules that grow stricter by the day. The author does a great job at showing the conflict because ideals and reality, and what happens to those left behind. This is a great tale to finish out the book with, as it completes the circle with a new beginning. Or is it an end? 5 Stars

 

Overall, I rate this as a 5 Star Collection, full of stories that show that no matter what year it is, and no matter where we are in the universe, there is always a consequence to our actions.

 

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.