One of my favorite anthologies from last year was A Quiet Afternoon, edited by the Canadian duo of Liane Tsui and Grace Seybold and published by Grace & Victory Publications. So I was very pleased to see an ambitious follow-up arrive this month, packed with 27 stories by Stewart C. Baker, Gabrielle Bleu, L. Chan, Jessica Cho, and many others.
What’s it all about then? Here’s Laura DeHaan, from her introduction.
We are tried and overstimulated and wrung out. The real world is presenting us with more than enough actual life-or-death struggles that we frequently feel powerless to affect. We don’t need to read more of that in our escapist literature. Instead, we take comfort in stories featuring manageable goals and which celebrate small victories.
There are, of course, bittersweet tales as well: broken hearts, lost recipes, forgotten words. Even so, there are triumphs, That which is broken can be fixed, the lost found, the forgotten remembered. After every small deep breath is the long exhale.
An anthology dedicated to low-stakes speculative fiction is welcome and oh-so timely. Filled with tales of talking cats, home-cooked meals, robots, cryptids, weather magic, haunted houses, aliens, and knitting, A Quiet Afternoon 2 is waiting with a warm cup of tea to comfort and entertain you.
Here’s the publisher’s description and the complete contributor list.
PREPARE YOURSELF… TO PROCRASTINATE
Find a comfy chair and get ready to put off those chores you’ve been meaning to do, because A Quiet Afternoon 2 is here to distract you with twenty-seven speculative Low-Fi tales of harmonious resolutions, idle reminiscences, and hopeful dreams.
Unruly neighbours learn to coexist peacefully…
Family recipes are as valuable as any treasure…
And princesses do not need rescuing.
Spend some time with the bricklayers who refuse to let a robot take their jobs, a woman made of gems who wants to be a bird, and a very brave squirrel. Explore the shop where you can pawn your dreams, tour a house who wants to be haunted, and take in the fairground where dinosaurs come to life.
Comfy and cozy with a touch of the bittersweet, these low-stakes moderate-rewards stories are ready to let you relax.
Here’s the complete contributor list.
Stewart C. Baker
S. M. Dziok
Rebecca Gomez Farrell
Tawanda Adrian Konde
Brian M. Milton
Christopher R. Muscato
Almah LaVon Rice
Sara L. Uckelman
Xan van Rooyen
See all our converge of the best new releases here.