Well, here I am at the end of the anthology.
What a weird ride this book is, and I mean that in a positive way. This entire experience has been surreal at times, and I have to say if this is what it's like to be a part of the SF community at large, I think they're pretty damn fantastic. When you write gay mystery, or gay science fiction, or gay romance, you're in double-genre, and "gay" has more weight. What I mean is generally speaking, it will be seen as gay first, then whatever other genre it belongs to as a secondary quality. So, even though almost everything I've written before this has had a slice of something spec fic mixed in, this is the first time I've had an audience that didn't come looking for a gay story.
And they were very, very kind.
It's been a lot of fun, too, getting comments from people I know I would never have connected with through anything else I've written (or am likely to write). I hope at least a time or two that maybe it makes a reader consider trying out something else I've written. I know I've been madly scrambling through the Table of Contents looking for other works by more than a few of the contributors. For me, that's always been one of the best things about anthologies - you get to "meet" so many new authors.
It's always a bit sad to finish off an anthology - especially one I've enjoyed as much as This is How You Die - but I'm so damned proud to have been a part of it. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope I've enticed a few of you to give it a shot with my day-by-day micro-reviews of the stories.
I should also remind you of an offer. If you write a review of This is How You Die (be it online at Goodreads, or any other online source), I will write a wee "Machine of Death" story scene for you. Your choice of going to the online Machine of Death calculator (which is here: http://www.machineofdeath.com/ ) or letting me draw one of my remaining cards for you.
Just post a link to your review, and I'll get to work.
"Furnace," by Erika Hammerschmidt
This tale is unique in the collection in that it takes place after a race other-than (or greather-than?) humanity is now the one in possession of the Death Machine, but this alien race isn't entirely sure what this device is. The conclusions they draw, and the progression of the tale as the Machine becomes more commonly used throughout the society, is somehow whimsical, funny, dark, and sad - all at once. And there's a final shiver at the end of the tale that leaves me pondering the question set up way back when in the first collection:
Would you want to know?
I'm still not sure.