Alex Irvine,
Unintended Consequences
(Subterranean Press, 2003)

Unintended Consequences is an anthology of 13 short stories by Alex Irvine. "A Peaceable Man" was written for the collection, while the other dozen are reprints, thus usefully bringing together this award-winning author's short fiction in one place.

The collection begins with "Jimmy Guang's House of Gladmech," a sci-fi tale set in 2083 covering the way people try to deal with warfare as best they can, and how it still reaches out and touches them in unexpected ways. From there, we go back to the land of the Pharoahs for a fantastical story titled "Akhenaten." It reads well, and it's an intriguing tale, but possibly requires more effort than I was able/willing to put into it.

"Rossetti Song" is a moving piece about love and loss, mourning and nostalgia, and the journeys we must take from one to the other. "The Sands of Iwo Jima" has a similar theme. It tells the tale of Harvey Sprewell, waiting for winter to end, and watching the Duke take a sniper's bullet on a daily basis. These two are amongst my favourites and are fairly typical of the other tales in the collection, which is an unusual blend of literary fiction, thriller, ghost story, sci-fi and fantasy.

If you enjoy short fiction and welcome the opportunity to dip in and out of several genres whilst skipping through a variety of settings and historical periods, you'll be well entertained by this book.

- Rambles
written by Jean Lewis
published 3 July 2004

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