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Collective Ramblings Anthology: Volume 1

2015’s Twenty Short Story Contest winners assembled in one place. Five stories from each category (Super Powers, Deserted Island, Horror, and Labyrinth), including the top winners of each contest shown below.

The Era of Super Weapons – Roger, America’s super-soldier, embarks on what seemed a routine mission –until his enemies turn to allies against a horde revealing information that will turn the entire world on its head.

Synchronysi – A steampunk masterpiece. After her volunteer operation, a woman awakens to a world made entirely of tine crystals. As she travels the shining island, the product of her surgery reveals much more than she may be able to handle—neither the land of crystals nor the world from which she arrived are exactly what they seem.

Terrors Great and Small – A couple barricades themselves in their home to escape a viral outbreak carried by mosquito bites. As the days of panic and solitude stack up, they battle with both their own crumbling sanity and the terror of what really awaits them beyond their front door.

The Walls Are Alive – in a world where violent offenders are placed in a deadly, automated labyrinth—designed to let no one escape alive—the labyrinth’s caretaker steps inside for a routine maintenance. When the automation turns on him, he’s forced to run the maze like all the criminals he’s sent to their own demise.

Excerpt from Synchronysi:

The experiment had been an opportunity to study history ‘up close and for real’, he’d said. Not the distorted version that surrounded the university, nor the staid, bland version in books. The Chronoscopic goggles gave the viewer the opportunity to see the past much as an astronomer observed the stars. Now she realized, too late for regret, that she had accepted Elefterias’s invitation and persuaded Saul to do the same without knowing just how risky his experiment was. They’d been played for guinea pigs. Of course, they had been told there were risks…but there was no explaining her present predicament, this displacement of space and time, or the physical butchery. He hadn’t told her she would be removed from the present and deposited elsewhere. He had simply said she would see the past as it was happening.

The erratic crashing of the tide had become no more than a tinkle in the distance. Up ahead, she saw a dark shadow…a cave, perhaps, where she could lie down and rest. As she approached, the blur on the horizon didn’t get any clearer; the goggles wouldn’t allow her to see the bigger picture. She reached up and touched the lenses timidly, wondering what she might find and scared of hurting herself again. Her fingers appeared inordinately large in the foreground of her vision. Around the lenses were a series of dials and adjustment knobs. Andromeda was loath to tamper with them, as any hasty move could leave her blind.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just as it says, Collective Ramblings is a collection of various works, an anthology. In 2015, we completed our quarterly writing contests, each with its own theme. For each theme, the five best entries were selected from the contest to have their works published. All twenty stories have been compiled into this book for your reading pleasure. The four contest themes were:
• Super Powers
• Deserted Island
• Horror
• Labyrinth.

We know everyone will love these imagination-stretching stories, that are filled with suspense, bravery, and danger, as much as we did.

***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

What’s Good: As advertised, it’s a diverse collection of shorts split into four categories.  Some of which I found pretty interesting and kept me turning pages, ready to find out what was happening.  Never gonna complain about that.

What’s Bad: too many of the stories are truncated, finishing without a true resolution or finale.  Don’t understand what the reason for this is and left me a  feeling kinda flat.

What’s Left: a nifty showcase for new authors that’ll definitely spark your interest and keep you reading, regardless of how they end.  Or don’t.

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