"Because this is where the action is, honey- the energy. The oilsands. The blood of Tiamat – the great cosmic dragon herself- in the very soil. Here's where we come through." - From Strange Attractor, by Kevin Cockle
Fire, with its power to warm, transform or destroy, has long been a source of inspiration for writers of many genres. This short story collection, edited by Canadian writer Rhonda Parrish (editor of several previous anthologies including Corvidae and A is for Apocalypse), brings together twenty-one unique speculative fiction tales by various authors, all connected somehow to the theme of fire. While they all stick to that shared theme there is a lot of variety, in both subject and tone. As with any anthology, some stories were better, or more to my personal taste than others, but overall it is a solid collection. Some of my favourites included:
Strange Attractor by Kevin Cockle, the story of a young female truck driver with a secret, who is hired to transport mysterious cargo, 'no questions asked'. This one would make a terrific urban fantasy series.
The Djinni and the Accountant by Hal J. Friesen
This story explores what happens when a Djinni needs to sort out his accounts, sorting out the taxes and import duties on items he produces for people who make wishes and revisits the old conundrum of how to make a wish that won't go horribly wrong.
The Second Great Fire- Laura VanArendonk Baugh