I really love short stories. I’m also quite partial to themed anthologies, because as both a writer and a reader I enjoy experiencing the wide and varied ways other writers interpret these themes. So when I had an opportunity* to read this anthology with the intriguing theme of “Wrestling with Gods,” I jumped at the chance. Not because I’m a particularly religious person (quite the opposite) but because I was very interested to see what a diverse collection of speculative short story writers would bring to this theme. It could be a tricky and delicate one to handle.
I was delighted to find that I was by turns engaged, intrigued,and amused by the broad range of stories the anthology offered. There’s little in the way of proselytizing here; I felt that the authors did an admirable job of turning their focus to the many ways humans use, define, and interpret the idea of relationships with “higher beings”, and how we can be changed by those relationships. The editors, too, should be commended on their choices. A broad variety of belief systems (both real and imaginary) and writing styles are represented, presenting the reader with a new experience in every piece. Lovers of speculative fiction are in for a treat in the diversity of genres represented.
As with any anthology, I liked some stories better than others, but overall they are strong, engaging, and both solidly and beautifully told. Definitely recommended.
*I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.