Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beyond the Pale by Henry L. Herz

Beyond the Pale-Short Stories

Beyond the Pale is an anthology of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories.

Beyond the Pale contains eleven short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon), Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), Heather Brewer (Vladimir Tod), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Nancy Holder (Wicked), Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels), and Jane Yolen (Owl Moon).

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, "beyond the pale" means foreign, strange, or threatening. You are about to go Beyond the Pale.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 7th 2014 by Birch Tree Publishing
ISBN  0989448738 (ISBN13: 9780989448734)

The first thing that caught my attention with this book was that I recognized the majority of the authors that added a story to this collection. A couple of them it was a nice introduction and I am looking forward to picking up more of their writings. All of the stories include supernatural elements and a lot of fantasy. 

It made for great bedtime reads for me, and I enjoyed them very much. I have written down the story titles and a couple words about each.

Hooves And The Hovel of Abdel Jameela 
A young physicker is called upon to help his uncle who is a hermit. 
The Children of the Shark God by Peter S Beagle
Mirali, an only child. Hard working and caring. Unwed, gives birth to twins, to the surprise of the islanders. 

Misery by Heather Brewer
In the town of Misery gifts are received, but what if you receive nothing?

Shadow Children by Heather Brewer
The shadows want your children...but what will you get in return?

Even Hand by Jim Butcher
Johnny Marcone has a runaway in his possession. He knows the right thing to do is return her and the child, but is there something more to her presence?

Red Run by Kami Garcia
Edie wants revenge on the ghost that killed her brother

Pale Rider by Nancy Holder
Fairies and Goblins and Magic..oh my!

Frost Child by Gillian Philip
A prequel story in the Rebel Angels world

South by Gillian Philip 
A tale of parents struggling to raise their child in the Antarctic, isolation and cold climate.

A Knot of Toads by Jane Yolen
A toad harbinger, and some magic

The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones by Nancy and Belle Holder
Medieval mice and vampire rats. 

I really enjoyed the stories in this collection.  Each story completely different from the next and very memorable. My personal favorite story was Misery by Heather Brewer, that one really caught my attention and made me think. Stories about Gods, ghosts, Magic and many more. Escaping danger and standing your ground. It is definitely something I would recommend you pick up. I found it very entertaining and really great stories. There are some very good writers here and their stories and this collection is a great one. Well Done.

excerpt -Peter S. Beagle's "The Children of the Shark God".
Once there was a village on an island that belonged to the Shark God. Every man in the village was a fisherman, and the women cooked their catch and mended their nets and sails, and painted their little boats. And because that island was sacred to him, the Shark God saw to it that there were always fish to be caught, and seals as well, in the waters beyond the coral reef, and protected the village from the great gray typhoons that came every year to flood other lagoons and blow down the trees and the huts of other islands. Therefore the children of the village grew fat and strong, and the women were beautiful and strong, and the fishermen were strong and high-hearted even when they were old.
In return for his benevolence the Shark God asked little from his people: only tribute of a single goat at the turn of each year. To the accompaniment of music and prayers, and with a wreath of plaited fresh flowers around its neck, it would be tethered in the lagoon at moonrise. Morning would find it gone, flower petals floating on the water, and the Shark God never seen—never in that form, anyway.
Now the Shark God could alter his shape as he pleased, like any god, but he never showed himself on land more than once in a generation. When he did, he was most often known to appear as a handsome young man, light-footed and charming. Only one woman ever recognized the divinity hiding behind the human mask. Her name was Mirali, and this tale is what is known about her, and about her children.
Mirali’s parents were already aging when she was born, and had long since given up the hope of ever having a child—indeed, her name meant “the long-desired one.” Her father had been crippled when the mast of his boat snapped during a storm and crushed his leg, falling on him, and if it had not been for their daughter, the old couple’s lives would have been hard indeed. Mirali could not go out with the fishing fleet herself, of course—as she greatly wished to do, having loved the sea from her earliest memory—but she did every kind of work for any number of island families, whether cleaning houses, marketing, minding young children, or even assisting the midwife when a birthing was difficult or there were simply too many babies coming at the same time. She was equally known as a seamstress, and also as a cook for special feasts; nor was there anyone who could mend a pandanus-leaf thatching as quickly as she, though this is generally man’s work. No drop of rain ever penetrated any pandanus roof that came under Mirali’s hands.
Nor did she complain of her labors, for she was very proud of being able to care for her mother and father as a son would have done. Because of this, she was much admired and respected in the village, and young men came courting just as though she were a great beauty. Which she was not, being small and somewhat square-made, with straight brows—considered unlucky by most—and hips that gave no promise of a large family. But she had kind eyes, deep-set under those regrettable brows, and hair as black and thick as that of any woman on the island. Many, indeed, envied her; but of that Mirali knew nothing. She had no time for envy herself, nor for young men, either.
Now it happened that Mirali was often chosen by the village priest to sweep out the temple of the Shark God. This was not only a grand honor for a child barely turned seventeen but a serious responsibility as well, for sharks are cleanly in their habits, and to leave his spiritual dwelling disorderly would surely be to dishonor and anger the god himself. So Mirali was particularly attentive when she cleaned after the worshippers, making certain that no prayer whistle or burned stick of incense was left behind. And in this manner did the Shark God become aware of Mirali.


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