I was lucky enough to win an e-version of this anthology at the facebook book launch. I rather stupidly asked for a pdf version, because at the time I didn’t have an ereader. When I was given an ereader I loaded Hope onto it and realised reading pdfs on ereaders is nasty! But the anthology was worth the pain of the ill-fitting format.
Hope is a speculative fiction anthology designed to raise awareness of suicide. There are thirteen original stories and the anthology also contains useful information.
There are a couple of stories that wobbled, but on the whole I was impressed with the quality of the fiction. It’s hard to list my favourites as I might end up with a ridiculous list, but if I was to arbitrarily pick my 5 favourite stories, they would be (in no particular order): “Duty and Sacrifice” by Alan Baxter, “Blinded” by Jodi Cleghorn, “The Encounter” by Sasha Beattie, “Burned in the Black” by Janette Dalgliesh, and “High Tide at Hot Water Beach” by Paul Haines. All had compelling stories with engaging (sometimes broken) characters.
“The Choosing” by Rowena Cory Daniells and “Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden” by Joanne Anderton had beautifully realised worlds with characters I enjoyed investing in. Graham Storrs “The God on the Mountain” made me snort with laughter more than once. “The Haunted Earth” by Sean Williams and “A Moment, A Day, A Year” by Pamela Freeman were both thought provoking and beautifully written. “Eliot” by Benjamin Solah was raw and gut-wrenching. “Deployment” by Craig Hull weaves a tale about the giving of your Self for a cause greater than one person, and “Boundaries” by Karen Lee Field offers hope that perhaps we aren’t as limited as we think.
I have to say each story moved me, but some just moved me more than others. “High Tide at Hot Water Beach” was particularly evocative, as I could see shades of the author in the character’s desperation. I had to put the anthology down after reading that one (the very first story) and take a while to process what I’d just read.
The educational aspect of the book was also well done, interspersed in-between each work of fiction. I learned a few things about suicide that I didn’t know, and had a few myths dispelled.
All profits raised from the anthology go to suicide awareness. It is well worth a read.