Shades Within Us – Mini Review

Hello Humans! It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any kind of anthology but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, especially since I loved Where the Stars Rise so much. I used to find anthologies hard to read, feeling like I couldn’t get my teeth into any of the stories. But I’ve since discovered how great it is to read little excerpts from so many different authors. It’s kind of like having a really great selection box of chocolates, except they are stories. Great now I want chocolate!

shades within us

Goodreads Summary:

Journey with twenty-one speculative fiction authors through the fractured borders of human migration to examine assumptions and catch a glimpse of the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of those who choose–or are forced–to leave home and familiar places. Who straddle borders within our worlds–and within us.

Migration. A transformation of time, place, and being . . .

We are called drifters, nomads. We are expatriates, evacuees, and pilgrims. We are colonists, aliens, explorers; strangers, visitors–intruders, conquerors–exiles, asylum seekers, and . . . outsiders.

An American father shields his son from Irish discrimination. A Chinese foreign student wrestles to safeguard her family at the expense of her soul. A college graduate is displaced by technology. A Nigerian high school student chooses between revenge and redemption. A bureaucrat parses the mystery of Taiwanese time travellers. A defeated alien struggles to assimilate into human culture. A Czechoslovakian actress confronts the German WWII invasion. A child crosses an invisible border wall. And many more.

Stories that transcend borders, generations, and cultures. Each is a glimpse into our human need in face of change: to hold fast to home, to tradition, to family; and yet to reach out, to strive for a better life.

Featuring Original Stories by Vanessa Cardui, Elsie Chapman, Kate Heartfield, S.L. Huang, Tyler Keevil, Matthew Kressel, Rich Larson, Tonya Liburd, Karin Lowachee, Seanan McGuire, Brent Nichols, Julie NovAkovA, Heather Osborne, Sarah Raughley, Alex Shvartsman, Amanda Sun, Jeremy Szal, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Christie Yant & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

With An Introduction by Eric Choi & Gillian Clinton

Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law

Find On Goodreads | Amazon UK (Affiliate)

Now, I think it’s important to recognise that I’m a white lady who has never lived more than three hours from where she grew up, therefore there will be a layer of nuance to these stories that I can’t hope to pick up on. I’m reviewing this from my own experience and my own perspective (though I always try to be as unbiased as possible) and I urge you to read other reviews as they will doubtless have had a different experience when reading this. If I come across any that are particularly poignant I will link them below.

The range of stories, settings and characters in this anthology is, simply put, exceptional. From stories about climate change to time travel to alternative history, this book has them all. I think it would not only work for those who like to dip in and out of things but also for people like me who like to read things in one go.

I liked that the authors each took such a different approach to the theme, it just goes to show how complex and intersectional the idea of borders and migrations are. This collection does a great job of conveying that intricacy.

Normally, I would pick a favourite story but in this instance, it would be impossible to choose as the stories are all so different.

I think this is a collection that has to be read to be believed. I cannot recommend it highly enough, whether you enjoy short stories or you’re looking to find out!

My rating: 4/5stars

I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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