Surprising and fun, but also heartbreaking and mournful stories in: LOVE HURTS

by Tricia Reeks, ed. Jeff VanDer Meer, et. al.

Verdict: As full of creativity as it is of heartbreak, it's a book that truly is full of surprises.

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A collection of dark love stories in science fiction and fantasy, from authors both renowned and obscure.

The speculative fiction anthology LOVE HURTS is 26 short stories by 26 contemporary genre fiction authors, all of them finding different ways of combining the romantic with the tragic. A scavenger in a lifeless steampunk world tries to find a rose, an android does all he can for his aging wife, and two women try as best they can to maintain their love in a dystopian society. Those are just a few of the stories awaiting you in this collection.

LOVE HURTS might have huge variation in terms of tone and subject matter, but the quality is  consistently good. Kyle Richardson’s “Catching On” is a superhero story with an unexpectedly moving ending. Dan Micklethwaite’s “Your Moment of Zen” is a funny and weird little second-person account of time tourism. Charlie Jane Anders’ “Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie” provides much needed humor in an anthology full of pretty bleak material.

It’s tempting to put this book under labels like “slipstream” or “new weird” – stories like Jeff VanDerMeer’s “A Heart for Lucretia” and A. Merc Rustad’s “The Sorcerer’s Unatainable Gardens” would certainly seem to qualify – and while that might be an oversimplification, most of the work here does at least bear some resemblance to those literary movements. There is a feeling in these stories that anything can happen; that the story being a love story, and the love story being a sad one, are the only real certainties one can have going in.

For fans of weird and beautifully written genre fiction, LOVE HURTS is a work that delivers 26 distinct emotional roller coaster rides, each as different from one another as they are from any other story you’ve probably ever read. As full of creativity as it is of heartbreak, it’s a book that truly is full of surprises.


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