Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gateways - edited by Martin H. Greenberg

I love short story anthologies, because (1) they don't take too long to get moving, (B) they give you a wide variety, and (iii) I can quit reading within a day if a "must read now" book comes along, and then come back to it without having to try to remember what was going on.

I always loved the concept of stumbling across a special gateway to somewhere else. When I was a kid (back in the pre-CNN late 70's and early 80's, before every child abduction was broadcast on the news) I would often just wander around the neighborhood for hours, investigating forests and quarries and wherever the train tracks led me. Sometimes I was alone, but a lot of the time I was with my friend Frank. And there was always a feeling of adventure, as if the next forest might just reveal a sparkling window among the trees that could take us anywhere.

This anthology brings back that feeling, not just because that's actually what it's about, but because (being an anthology) each story uses a different kind of gateway and tells a different kind of story. Some are science fiction, some are fantasy, some are horror. The gateways can be anything, from magic windows to space portals to even role-playing games. They can go anywhere, from the obvious far-away worlds to different times to dark netherworlds. So going into each new story gave me that same tingle of excitement and discovery.

The risk with anthologies is there is inevitably something you won't like, but each of these stories were intriguing enough that I got something good out of all of them. Quite a few of them, like "Double Trouble" by John Zakour and "Worlds Enough ...and Time" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I'd love to see more of. I really don't care for horror stories, but the ones here never got gory, so the gateway concept (and often the characters themselves) was enough to keep me interested.

All in all, a very fun book!

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