Novel Review: Sojurn, an Anthology of Speculative Fiction (Volume 1)

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Sojurn, an Anthology of Speculative Fiction
By Cape Rust
FTB-Sojourn

Learn more about Sojurn here
Purchase Sojurn here

These reviews are normally called books for roleplayers and most of the time they are. In the case of Sojurn, an Anthology of Speculative Fiction (Volume 1), it is more of a case of a book written by roleplayers. There is some good gaming fodder here but Sojurn is a collection of stories compiled by the folks over at Fear the Boot. If you are not familiar with Fear the Boot it is a podcast dedicated to gaming and gamers. They are active in supporting causes near and dear to people’s hearts and host Fear the Con annually for the last several years. I have had the privilege to appear on their podcast and know a few of the hosts and to see this collection of stories compiled and published by them and many prominent Booters did my heart good.

Beyond the sentimental attachment I formed with this anthology, before I even read it, there is some amazing work contained within its covers. I appreciated that Sojurn was accurately labeled as speculative fiction. This collection is as eclectic as the authors whose stories were selected. The mix of  haves and are going tos, as far as authors went, created a collection that felt fresh, original, and diverse.  The stories in this collection run the gambit from ancient to far flung futures.  It was a pleasure to see author Hans Cummings in the lineup, his story entitled Forgotten Dreams took place in his go-to short story setting “Seven Galaxies”. I appreciated the Spelljammer feel that it had and in his usual fashion, Cummings wrote a short story that filled me up without stuffing me to the point of puking.

Collections like this become synergistic when done right. I have trolled several of the contributing authors’ pages and other social media outlets and a recurring theme that I keep coming across is the huge amount of support and guidance the editorial team gave each author. The impression I get is that not only were the editors supportive, but fellow authors were as well. I mentioned the Fear the Boot Community and those positive reports are further proof of why people are generally proud to call themselves Booters.

Because of the vast diversity of types of stories included in Sojurn, it is actually kind of hard to classify it as anything but speculative.  But I think the speculation goes much deeper than that. Dan Repperger and crew were willing to look to people who they know yet were not necessarily known commodities. I think this willingness to take a few risks really made Sojurn much more than a labor of love. Sojurn  transcends that old classification. Even the order in which the stories were placed in the novel makes this eclectic collection feel seamless and streamlined; now that is editing!

Sojurn is much like eating at a popular buffet restaurant; there is fare for all sorts of tastes from the subtle to the exotic. Because of the length of the stories, readers can get a wonderful taste from all of the authors without being overwhelmed by serving size or an aversion to a genre. There are stories here that will leave you wanting more and there are stories here that end exactly when they should. Purchasing this book is about more than supporting fellow gamers, it is about reading a really good collection of stories that were written and edited by passionate people who are good at what they do.

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