Disclosure: The publisher sent a review copy for the purposes of this review.
Two stories that I feel are powerful character-centric pieces are "The Tiger Man" by Geordie Williams Flantz and "Liza's Home" by Kenneth Schneyer. These, I think, could have easily placed itself in a literary journal the way they tackle their protagonist's plights. "The Tiger Man" for example is very surreal and it's readily apparent that something is bizarre when it comes to the main character's relationship with his wife. The speculative element here, in my opinion, acts as a filter to tackle this dilemma. "Liza's Home", on the other hand, features time-travel paradoxes while still remaining very human and emotional. It could easily have been a derivative O. Henry story but what made O. Henry's writing popular is the way readers sympathized with the characters, and Schneyer succeeds in that.