Monday, July 21, 2008

Magazine/Anthology Review: Nemonymous: Cone Zero

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book reviews.

The concept of a semi-anonymous (the authors are listed although you don't know who wrote which) anthology appeals to me: no reader biases and one can judge the fiction based on its own merits. Additionally, perceptive readers can turn the experience into a mini-game. But another impressive thing about Nemonymous is its concept and while I didn't know what to expect from something as weird as "cone zero", reading through the first set of stories blew me away. The various stories adapt the Cone Zero theme for their own purposes and each tells a unique narrative. Perhaps the only problem here is that there are several stories with the same title which isn't a real problem if you're reading Nemonymous but can be a hassle for the purposes of talking about it with others. My favorite story is "The Point of Oswald Masters" which is absurdly fantastic and the author manages to successfully execute his/her concept. I have a minor complaint though and it's that the narrator's tone of voice doesn't sound feminine enough. Another story I enjoyed was "Cone Zero, Sphere Zero" which is this adventurous sci-fi story with compelling characters. There's also "Always More Than You Know" which has a little bit of everything: humor, strong characterization, a solid sci-fi concept, and touches of horror. Actually, overall, there are a lot of stories that I enjoyed in Nemonymous: Cone Zero and there's a wide variety to be found here whether you're looking for science fiction, fantasy, horror, plain weirdness, or even comedy. Most of all, Cone Zero combines not just good writing but stories that are simply fun.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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