Mechanics' Institute Review

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The Independent Culture

Get past the needlessly belligerent introduction and you find that this sixth anthology of short fiction from the Birkbeck College creative-writing school makes the case for the protean story better than its self-righteous advocates do.

Guest contributors – Chimamanda Adichie, Russell Celyn Jones, Richard Milward – do fine work, with Peter Ho Davies even slipping in some sly allusions to short-story teaching and its to-be-broken rules.

Among the newcomers an impressive span of times, venues and people takes us from Thea Bennett's Viking shores to Mary Irene Masaba's African village and Margi Williams's neo-Wild West. And an intriguing cluster of tales – from David Quéva, Kavita Jindal, Jon Elsom – touch via fantasy or even SF on fears about the fate of children.