Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) From angels to vampires, dragons to wizards, Manifesto brings together twenty-three stories full of action, snark, and unadulterated badassery.
Featuring stories from Lucy A. Snyder, Jeff Salyards, William Meikle, Teresa Frohock, Zachary Jernigan, Betsy Dornbusch, and more.
The time has come to make a statement, to define a genre. This is our manifesto.
Thoughts: If more people wrote urban fantasy the way the stories in Manifesto UF were written, I’d be reading more urban fantasy. This collection of short stories contains as much diversity as it does talent. Tim Marquitz, Zachary Jernigan, Teresa Frohock, and many other big names that UF fans will no doubt recognize, as well as friend and fellow blogger Abhinav Jain, all make their mark on the genre with stories that are fast-paced, creative, and exciting.
I say this about a lot of short story collections, and it nearly always holds true: none are perfect. Different styles don’t always mesh, and jumping from one story to another doesn’t always work well for a reader, constantly being pulled out of the action to something new. This is no exception here, but the stories are, with very few exceptions, of such high quality that I think I can rate this as the second-best anthology that I’ve read. (The best being Elizabeth Bear’s Shoggoths in Bloom.) If I rated in half-cups, this would be 4.5 instead of a standard 4.
From Teresa Frohock’s Naked the Night Sings, a hauntingly beautiful and unnerving story of the coming apocalypse, to Jeff Salyards’s sexually-charged Beneath a Scalding Moon, which has a little wordplay on the term “cougar,” to Zachary Jernigan’s I’m an Animal, You’re an Animal Too, which is amusing with its in-jokes and cameos, the stories in this collection are endlessly entertaining and full of creativity. Even the less enjoyable offerings were still enjoyable; better to say that they just weren’t my cup of tea rather than being bad stories or poor writing. The mix of talent in this collection is truly astounding; editor Tim Marquitz certainly pulled out all the stops to getting this book in motion and you can see the work that went into it.
And the big bonus of any diverse group of contributors, I’ve now been introduced to the work of a few authors I want to see more of. Nickolas Sharps (with his rather disturbing story, Toejam and Shrapnel) springs instantly to mind; I get the feeling that I’m going to enjoy what he’s written elsewhere.
Entertainment value shines through the pages and pulls the reader in, story after story, page after page filled with vampires and werebeasts, demons and angels, social commentary and pure simple fluff. Fans of urban fantasy, especially urban fantasy that tends toward darker content rather than romance, would do well to get their hands on this collection.
(Received for review from many of the people involved.)