Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: Lawless Lands

Lawless Lands
Emily Lavin Leverett, Misty Massey, Margaret S. McGraw (editors)
Science fiction, fantasy, Western

Big disclaimer up front. One of my closest friends in the world has a story in this collection. Furthermore, I read and commented on an earlier draft thereof. There's no way I'm feeling impartial about that one; I think it's really good.

So let's talk about the collection as a whole. I don't like to damn it with faint praise, but it's decidedly a mixed bag. A number of the stories are all written from basically the same plot outline--several of them are near-clones of one another. There's a lot of dark fantasy/horror, which I personally don't find very interesting or imaginative; your mileage may vary.

There are some ups as well as some downs, I'm happy to say. Among these I'd single out:

  • Seanan McGuire's "Pixie Season," which offers a welcome relief from the general diet of gloom & doom & gritty & despair & earnest & more doom & more gloom.
  • Dave Benyon's "The Stranger in the Glass" doesn't, much, but it has a neat idea at its core.
  • Laura Ann Gilman's "Boots of Clay" has a more interesting cast of characters and a decidedly different kind of conflict.
I will say that Mr. B.S. Donovan--"Old B.S." to his friends--has undeniably achieved a different voice than any other story in Lawless Lands. I can't imagine that this will be his last sale.

P.S. In case you somehow managed to miss it, there's also this.


  1. I believe you've also called me old "full of" as well as "steaming pile 'o" and let's not forget "Pila del" that one semester I took Spanish. Kind of you to review the book. In reading it, I also felt that the voice in my story was very distinct from the others. Like you said there was kind of a theme in there, even beyond the weird west theme.

    Anyway, thanks for the mention.

    1. If I called you any of these things, which I deny, it was meant affectionately.

    2. Yeah, well I never took Spanish, so there's that, too.

    3. Yo lo estudiaba, y puedo decir, con mano sobre corazon: Quiero devolver este disco, está rayado. Y tambien mi aerodeslizador esta lleno de anguilas.