by Lee Murray, Jan Goldie, Piper Mejia, Celine Murray
This collection by different authors includes four stories of fantasy or soft science fiction accessible to all readers. They’re held together by the device of ‘Conclave’, which also differs in concept – being a place, entity, or event.
Jan Goldie’s A Mer-Tale, tells of a community of Mer-people who because of an invasion of the seas by extra-terrestrials has had to adapt partially to land living. “We Mer are real. There’s nothing mythological about us. We’ve inhabited Earth’s seas for millions of years. But about one thousand years ago all that changed….Now we slum it in the human world.” There’s intrigue and action as a small group of young Mer sets out to rescue captured friends and restore their right to live in the oceans. The story is well told and memorable.
Piper Mejia’s The Fence, deals with another small group that escapes from an enclosed community controlled by a despotic authority called ConClave Corp. It’s a familiar scenario within the genre but the story is interesting for the insights into how different characters respond to circumstances beyond their control and what they value most.
In Conclave Seven, by Lee Murray, Conclave is a Galactic Games event, and the story has more than a passing similarity to The Hunger Games. A team of four Terrean contestants must outperform teams from 19 other civilizations and complete a series of challenges. Though killing one’s rivals isn’t the aim, the majority of competitors don’t survive. Giant spiders reminiscent of Shelob, trees that move, a whirlpool, and tensions in team dynamics keep the action moving.
Celine Murray’s story Peach and Araxis is the fourth and shortest. Set on board a spaceship, Conclave Pacifica, the travellers are ex-Earth migrants bound for a new home planet. Somehow during the journey of several generations duration they’ve gone seriously off-course. Will this mean failure of the mission, or can intervention by Peach’s mysterious online social-media-style friend solve the problem?
The characters at the centre of each of these stories are young and the collection is aimed at YA readers, but Conclave could also be a good starting point for adults who have avoided fantasy and science fiction so far and would like to try it. The four Authors have all been published previously within the genres.
There are a few errors that should be corrected in a later edition, but overall it’s a very readable collection.
Publisher: Leapy Sheep, April 2014, 263pp
ISBN 978-0-473-28191-4 print; ISBN 978-0-473-28199-1 epub; ISBN 978-0-473-28200-4 mobi
Available from: Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Conclave-Collection-Science-Fiction-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B00JJIQ8EQ
Wheelers, or direct from the publisher.