This annual feast satisfies again. Its score of stories never need shout, or pose, in order to transform everyday life. As Anneliese Mackintosh has it ("Doctors"), "writing doesn't have to be like a million fireworks all going off at once".
No, but over the short haul it has to smoulder and flame, as Lesley Glaister, Adam Marek, MJ Hyland, Charles Boyle and others here confirm. Time and again, in Royle's crafty editorial hands, closely observed normality yields (as Nikesh Shukla's spear-fisher grasps) to the things we "cannot control".BT