Released: September 4th 2018
Warnings: Animal death, graphic descriptions of death and decay
I received a copy of Worlds Seen in Passing through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This has to be one of the most impressive collection of short stories I’ve read in a long time. This year marks the tenth year that Tor has been publishing fiction, and this was their way of celebrating their success. What a way to celebrate, right?
Worlds Seen in Passing contains a wild variety of themes and subjects, from science fiction and/or fantasy to horror. Every story is different and unique, yet the flow from one to the next was masterfully done. Not once did I find myself struggling to remember what happened in a specific short.
While reading Worlds Seen in Passing, I was strongly reminded of the fact that I should really read more collections like this. The greedy part of me hopes to see more compilations like this from Tor.
If you look at the table of contents you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of short stories included here (forty in total, for those that are curious), and there are some major names included as well. Many will recognize Charlie Jane Anders, N. K. Jemisin, Leigh Bardugo, Yoon Ha Lee, Carrie Vaughn, Max Gladstone, just to name a few.
I’m sure everyone that has read the collection could point out the ones that stuck out the most to them, the ones they loved the most, or the ones they felt the most impact from. I’m also sure that based on how many short stories are in this compilation, none of us would give the same answer. Personally, my favorites would have to be: Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders, Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang, The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys, Brimestone and Marmalade by Aaron Corwin, About Faries by Pat Murphy, and The Shape of My Name by Nino Cipri. While those ones were my favorite, I have to admit that some of the others had a very strong impact on me personally, for varying reasons. The Best We Can by Carrie Vaughn, Please Undo this Hurt by Seth Dickinson, the Language of Knives by Haralambi Markov, and Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky all seem to strike a chord with me. Also, please don’t underestimate how difficult it was to not let myself list every short story in the collection here – it was very tempting.
Before I review each of these individually, I will mention that while they were all fantastic and expertly written, they also tend to be on the heavier and more somber side of fiction. That isn’t the case for all, but I’ll confess that I found myself only being able to read one or two at a time before taking a breather. I still greatly enjoyed the experience – I just wanted to give new readers a heads up. Additionally there are several shorts that I would put a ‘warning’ label on, as with my typical reviews. I’ll try to put a warning in the brief reviews, but there being so many, I don’t want to promise that I didn’t miss anything.