Paul Collins (ed), Rich & Rare, Ford Street Publishing, October 2015, 512pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781925272116
This eclectic collection of creative pieces is a treasure trove of tales. With 52 contributors, there is something for every middle to YA reader, even if not all readers will love all the stories. Short stories are divided into contemporary, adventure, crime, fantasy, science fiction, romance, ghost, horror, historical and humour. There are also illustrations, poetry and a graphic story. Styles range from the philosophical (Sofie Laguna’s Hope Cannot be Photographed) to the wry (Lorraine Marwood’s The Frog Diaries). At the back, there’s an interesting paragraph about each of the contributors.
In such a large work, it’s hard to comment on every piece so I’ll pick out my favourites. Simon Higgin’s Tomodachi – The silkworm and the leaf is a longer story, an exciting epic adventure of samurai with elegantly-written fight scenes. Justin D’Ath’s Bringing Luisa to Life is a beautiful story of a girl who recognises the true purpose of an antique violin. Sean McMullen’s The Time Machine uses a concertina as the thread between the eras. And Marc McBride’s ship-eating monster is spectacular (but why isn’t it on a full page of its own?). A reader will have to pick and choose what suits them but this is a volume that could be explored over time, depending upon what it is we want to read on the day.
Reviewed by Pam Harvey