cover image Writers of the Future, Vol. 31

Writers of the Future, Vol. 31

Edited by David Farland. Galaxy, $15.95 trade paper (395p) ISBN 978-1-61986-322-4

The quarterly Writers of the Future contest for unpublished authors generally produces winners whose work ranges from competent to excellent, and the latest cohort is no exception. Standouts are Tim Napper's cyberpunk "Twelve Minutes to Vinh Quang," featuring a download with the tension of a high-speed chase; Krystal Grell's "Planar Ghosts," in which a boy negotiates his way through a post-apocalyptic landscape with a transparent girl; and Samantha Murray's "Half Past," a story of magic and adolescence that skims the edge of horror. In the clever "A Revolutionary's Guide to Practical Conjuration," Auston Habershaw creates a ghul-infected book and Arabian Nights%E2%80%93flavored world that's worthy of expansion into a longer work. In "Purposes Made for Alien Minds," Scott R. Parkin's near-human construct narrates in five-word sentences with surprising eloquence. Zach Chapman's "Between Screens" is a vinegar-sharp tale of nihilistic adolescents warp-jumping between space stations, frustratingly cut short at its conclusion. Kary English's "Poseidon's Eyes" is a lyric tale of spirits in a sea-clung town. Michael T. Banker's "Wisteria Melancholy" features a halfway home for those with physical manifestations (such as invisibility) of psychological conditions. Genre insiders will find this an excellent place to spot fresh talent. Agent: Claude Sandoz, Author Services. (May)