I was approached recently by Curiosity Quills Press to see if I would like to review a copy of The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, but I do love fantasy and this anthology promised to deliver a little bit of both, so I thought, what the heck and asked for them to send it on. I’m glad I did as all the stories are really good and there is something between these covers for all sci-fi/fantasy fans. Here’s a bit about the book:
The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology
Genre(s): Anthology, Action & Adventure, Alternative History, Cyberpunk, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Myths, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: September 11, 2014
Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson at Blue Sky Design
Description: When the Actuator breaks the earth into a patchwork of altered realities, the remaining Machine Monks begin looking for the Keys to put it back. In the meantime, everyone in the world has been transformed without knowing why. This collection tells about some of the people struggling to deal with the change. Read more here.
It is difficult for me to pinpoint which story I liked the most. Each one was written very well and were quite entertaining, and I enjoyed them all.
There is a common theme that runs through this anthology, and each one of the authors tweaked their characters and their settings around that theme. It actually seems like each of the stories play off of each other in an odd way, almost as if one can’t exist without the other. I do think some of the stories could have been expanded. Some felt flat. Some ended abruptly. A few left me thinking “huh?”, but overall, it was a good anthology.
Some of my favorite stories were:
Remembering Emily by Sarah Wolf. I love the author’s voice and descriptions. Beautiful imagery here and the story is vibrant.
Stolen Orchid by Matthew Cox is one of the coolest cyberpunk stories I’ve ever read and it also played with my emotions.
The Austenation by Mara Valdarran was pure brilliance though I do think there could have been a bit more conflict. Jane Austen fans…you’re going to LOVE this one.
Escape by Patrick Burdine gave me the creepy willies. Seriously, don’t read this right before you go to bed. Not a good idea.
Halfway by Jay Wilburn. Ok, so this story freaked me out. There are clowns and peculiar lighting and odd people. There’s an Edward Scissorhands feel to the story, and it left me feeling numb. Well-written and freaky creepy.
Fifteen Seconds of Fame by Jason A. Anderson. A great story of one woman’s decision to defy the mob and help a little girl find her mom. Fast moving with an enjoyable, satisfying ending.
These are only 6 out of 20 amazing and unique stories. While I liked some better than others, I am sure everyone who loves these genres will find something to enjoy.
I give four stars to this anthology. Thank you Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK