THE OLD GUARD — Rucka & Fernández

Publisher Image Comics (Dark Horse Imprint)
Genre Action
Narrative voice First-Person
Pairings F/F, M/M, F/M
Content warnings Death, Blood & Gore, Violence
Maturity rating 16+
Rating 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

“War never takes the wicked man by chance, the good man always.”

— Sophocles, Philoctetes

Soldiers Live. They Wonder Why.

The concept of The Old Guard, sketched out in the exposition and then built upon throughout, is that everyone dies — just for some, their time hasn’t come yet.

The soldiers in this group aren’t immortal, they’re simply not dead yet, and that’s what elevates this from origin story to something more akin to fate — it’s time that’s getting longer instead of running out, and it’s as unpredictable as death has always been and will be. What binds them is war, is knowing that everyone they love will die, is that they will never know which bullet is going to be the last. They get torn apart and put themselves back together, until they don’t. They love and they lose and they search for purpose. They find each other in their dreams, and sometimes they find dreams in each other’s hearts.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD — Catherine Lundoff

Cover Out Of This World Catherine Lundoff
Publisher Queen of Swords Press
Genre Speculative Fiction
Narrative voice First-Person, Third-Person
Pairings Gen, F/F, M/M
Content warnings Death, Sexual Assault/Rape, Blood & Gore, Violence
Maturity rating 16+
Rating 🌈🌈🌈🌈

If I said I met my vampire prince at a ball at the King’s palace, would you believe me?

— OUT OF THIS WORLD

OUT OF THIS WORLD is an excellent anthology — crucially in that it introduces new readers, such as me, to such a wide variety of stories by a single author. The short stories selected for this each are set in its own, sometimes fantastic, sometimes magical, often dark sort of world; drawing on their own tropes and genres. The distinctions of each are easily grasped, so deft is Lundoff in crafting the impressions of those worlds. I could see the cushy, Victorian furniture in Medium Méchanique in front of me as well as the mean streets a femme private eye walks in Red Scare.

I may have not connected with every single protagonist in each of the stories, and such is the nature of anthologies especially when the stories contained are not all of one genre and style. But more than that, it’s down to the diversity of Lundoff’s characters that you’ll meet some you don’t vibe with and others you immediately want to go sit down for coffee (or something stronger, your mileage may vary) with. Even more decidedly so, however, I can name my favourites.

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