“Lost Worlds and Mythological Kingdoms” is an anthology of exactly that- 17 all-new stories about discovering or re-discovering forgotten lands and mythological places. These stories are varied and almost all of particularly high quality, with many interesting and unique takes on the trope. Highly recommend if you’re a fan of these types of stories!
INDIVIDUAL REVIEWS FOR EACH STORY BELOW:
The Light Long Lost at Sea (4/5)
The first story in this is already an interesting one. On first sight, it appears people have discovered a remnant of the old empire- underwater ruins in a post-magic society. But forgotten things are often infused with old magic…
The Cleft of Bones (3.5/5)
A community of slaves has to hide for a tsunami, discovering a forgotten place while doing so. A well-told story, in a developed-feeling world. Another story that doesn’t entirely feel like a classic adventure story discovering lost worlds.
The Voyage of Brenya (4.5/5)
Here’s the “mythological”‘ part! A women desperate to save her people from raiders decides to travel to the West by boat, to the land of the gods.
Comfort Lodge, Enigma Valley (3.5/5)
A very fun Calvino-esque story of some magical lodge told in the way of customer reviews.
The Expedition Stops for the Evening at the Foot of the Mountain Pass (2.5/5)
This one never felt like it went anywhere. An intermezzo, a break during an expedition, with a bit too much left unsaid for me.
Down in the Dim Kingdoms (4/5)
A conquistador discovered a city in the center of the earth. Now, decades later, he visits with his family right before the place is about to become a tourist hotspot. His legacy is explored. Succinct! Reminded me of Silverberg’s Downward to the Earth.
Those Who Have Gone (4/5)
A slower story, slowly winning me over by the end. Triss and her asshole boyfriend are traveling through a national park in the United States, a place so big it might as well be a country of its own. Much of it is still unexplored– who knows, there might even be people living there? Feels like a parable.
An Account, by Dr. Ingle Kühn, of the Summer Expedition and Its Discoveries (3/5)
On a dying Earth, scientists in Antarctica discover an underground city. Another slower story, written like a diary.
Out of the Dark (4/5)
An anthropological story of two people landing on a planet where the colonists of old have reverted to a more primitive way of living (think Planet of Exile). The two scientists now face a conundrum: do they report this place as no longer having “civilized” (described as sapient in the story, but it amounts to the same thing) life, which would lead to the destruction of these people, or do they let them be?
More of a horror story, discovering Lovecraftian creatures.
The Orpheus Gate (2/5)
A story about ghosts and spirits. Not my cup of tea, never has been. Well-written though, and I’m sure it’s a nice story if it’s your type of thing.
Hotel Motel Holiday Inn (1/5)
Another disappointing story… Contemporary tale of a hotel, not much interesting happened in it.
On the Cold Hill Side (4.5)
Fantastic! According to local legend, the island of Harbor’s Hope keeps disappearing and re-appearing every hundred years or so. This story explores what happens when legends become real, and islands appear out of thin air.
The Return of Grace Malfrey (3.5)
A similar story, but instead of an island it’s a girl. Grave disappeared one day, from one moment to the next. Now, ten years later, she falls out of the sky on a parking lot. What happened in those ten years? Where has she been?
The Tomb Ship (4.5)
When Laym discovers an ancient spaceship of legend, she can’t believe her eyes. History will have to be re-contexualised, and choices will have to be made… The only story in this that’s actually set in space, and it’s a great one!
Pellargonia: A Letter to the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology (4/5)
A group of friends imagine a country and it becomes real. This epistolary story explores the consequences of this event.
There, She Didn’t Need Air to Fill Her Lungs (3/5)
Magic and hills! A fun story, but nothing particularly special.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.
Goran Lowie is an avid reader of all kinds of speculative fiction and poetry. For years, he's been rotting away in some rural hellhole in Belgium, but luckily he has literature to keep him going!
His real obsession with the genre sparked with the incomporable works of Ursula K. Le Guin, and his heart stayed there forever. Other favourite authors include Patricia A. McKillip, Mary Soon Lee, John Wiswell, Robert Silverberg and Italo Calvino.
When Goran isn't reading books, he's either editing this very magazine or creating lesson plans for his day-job as a high school teacher! You can find him on Twitter: @GoranLowie
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