– A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
– Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
– A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).
These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.
But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author’s comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.
So, are you curious now?
The Curiosities is a collection of mostly unedited short stories, complete with notes from the author that discuss their inspiration for the story, some of the reasons why they chose certain ideas, and what they were hoping to accomplish with it. I loved getting a glimpse into Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna’s heads – not only to help me with my own writing, but to help me appreciate theirs even more.
One of my favourite aspects of anthologies is that they let you “sample” an author’s writing. The Curiosities reaffirmed my love for Maggie’s vivid writing and compelling narrative voice, while introducing me to Brenna’s subtle magic and Tessa’s imaginative voice. Maggie’s works are already a permanent fixture on my to-read list and, after finishing this collection, Brenna and Tessa’s will be as well.
The stories themselves were equal parts creepy, confusing, and enthralling. I was amazed by how much worldbuilding and character establishment could occur in such a limited amount of page time, and found myself wishing that many of the stories could keep going.