Review: Lost Worlds and Mythological Kingdoms

Editor: John Joseph Adams
Authors: James L. Cambias, Becky Chambers, Kate Elliot, C.C. Finlay, Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, Darcie Little Badger, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, An Owomoyela, Dexter Palmer, Cadwell Turnbull, Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Vaughn, Charles Yu, E. Lily Yu, Tobias S. Buckell
Publisher: Grim Oak Press
Released: March 8, 2022
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

Do you love stories of missing worlds and places? Stories such as the lost city of Atlantis, El Dorado, or Shangri-La? Well, then I have some good news for you! Lost Worlds and Mythological Kingdoms is an entire collection of very similar stories.

In total, I believe there are seventeen short stories in this anthology, all revolving around the concept of missing worlds and all very much fitting a sci-fi vibe. I’ll confess that this anthology first came up on my radar because of one of my favorite authors (Seanan McGuire). Other authors I adore in this anthology include Becky Chambers, Kate Elliot, Theodora Goss, and Carrie Vaughn.

The Light Long Lost at Sea by An Owomoyela

Rating: ★ ★ ★

The Light Long Lost at Sea kinda read like it was the continuation of a story – but I can’t find any evidence of the story it may have spawned from. This isn’t unusual – reading a short story out of context, and it actually seems to happen a lot in anthologies. Still, I would love to know more about this world before diving in.

The Cleft of Bones by Kate Elliot

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I love Kate Elliot, so I wasn’t surprised to find myself enjoying this latest world she’s built, The Cleft of Bones. It’s dark and heavy but still wonderfully done. I found myself wanting more as the story came to a conclusion.

The Voyage of Brenya by Carrie Vaughn

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a very interesting story that felt more lyrical, which was a nice surprise. It follows a woman who sets off all alone on a journey of her own. I didn’t mean to rhyme there, sorry!

Comfort Lodge by Enigma Valley

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

If you don’t like unique storytelling formats, then you probably won’t enjoy Comfort Lodge. It’s a collection of reviews/notes about a hotel and is totally different from anything else I’ve read. I rather enjoyed the unique take on the subject.

The Expedition for the Evening at the Foot of the Mountain Pass by Genevieve Valentine

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

There’s something very somber about The Expedition for the Evening at the Foot of the Mountain Pass. Probably the fact that many of the people in the expedition know that they won’t all survive. It’s very realistic in that sense, I suppose.

Down in the Dim Kingdom by Tobias S. Buckell

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

This one got dark – it was good, don’t get me wrong. But there are certainly some dark elements. Down in the Dim Kingdom raises all sorts of questions about the intention behind missing worlds.

Those Who Have Gone by C.C. Finlay

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Those Who Have Gone hurt my heart in a way. It felt too real – with a situation many younger women have found themselves in. Yet it had a fantasy edge, though I’m not entirely sure that the fantasy elements helped soothe the ache.

An Account, by Dr. Inge Kuhn, of the Summer Expedition and Its Discoveries by E. Lily Yu

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I loved An Account, by Dr. Inge Kuhn, of the Summer Expedition and Its Discoveries. I know it relied on a common fascination these days – something cropping up from the melting polar ice caps, but I appreciated the twist here.

Out of the Dark by James L. Cambias

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Out of the Dark very much felt like repo men in space. It was a solid foundation to work with; I only wish that there had been more time to explore the concept.

Endosymbiosis by Darcie Little Badger

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

How many people do you think have gone missing over the years? Are there certain jobs more prone to a mysterious fate than others? I imagine that oceanographers would be more at risk of getting taken away by sirens for obvious reasons. It would seem that Darcie Little Badger has the same thought.

The Orpheus Gate by Jonathan Maberry

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Orpheus Gate uses magic and fantasy realms to explore a common concept – having our worlds rocked by a new discovery. I really enjoyed it, even though the overall themes felt familiar.

Hotel Motel Holiday Inn by Dexter Palmer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Palmer imagines a series of salespeople gathering in hotels and the like to share their stories. While many of them probably see the same thing day in and out, the odds are always higher than average that they will come across the strange and unknown. It is the nature of their job.

On the Cold Hill Side by Seanan McGuire

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

On the Cold Hill Side is my absolute favorite short story from this collection, and I’m not just saying that because Seanan McGuire is a favorite author of mine. This one grabbed my imagination and would not let go. It’s a story that takes place across hundreds of years, following an island as it comes and goes. I loved the collection of stories it collects and the modern conclusion to the tale (not so much a conclusion – I would love to see McGuire pick this up as a series).

The Return of Grace Malfrey by Jeffrey Ford

Rating: ★ ★ ★

I honestly don’t quite know what to say about this one. It is extremely imaginative, I’ll give you that! It’s out there in a way that stories of the lost could only ever hope to be.

The Tomb Ship by Becky Chambers

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I love that this anthology included stories set in space as well as in fantastical lands. This one follows a miner in space (as in, they literally mine things for a living). Though they’re about to come across a few surprises to make things more interesting.

Pellargonia: A Letter to the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology by Theodora Goss

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I love Theodora Goss’ writing; it’s so evocative and powerful. Especially in this story, which imagines three teens discussing a story that they created together and what it means to them. It feels rather relevant, don’t you think?

There, She Didn’t Need Air to Fill Her Lungs by Cadwell Turnbull

Rating: ★ ★ ★

I really love how There, She Didn’t Need Air to Fill Her Lungs will (and has) make readers stop and think. As such, it makes total sense that this is the final story in the anthology. I won’t say that it is the one that will linger the longest (for me, that will always be On the Cold Hill Side), but it will linger in your mind nonetheless.

Thanks to Grim Oak Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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