The Abbreviated Epics Anthology by Third FlatIron Press is a collection of short fantasy stories, each of which tackles the oft-quoted theme of ‘epic’, repurposing it according to each author’s whim. There are steampunk shorts that take you to exotic locales, theological discussions in strange new universies, cosmological debates among nascent godlings and railroad rides with trickster-gods.
The variety of stories packed in this collection is downright impressive, rangging from comedy shorts about unimpressed Chosen ones, to doomed treks across a parallel version of the Himalaias and (my personal favorite) a spirited debate between two not-quite-so bloodthirsty Orcs. While designating some of the bolder expariments in this anthology as ‘debatably’ epic, the collection seems to mostly tie together very well and makes for a very enjoyable read overall.
The cover and interior art, however, are slightly underwhelming. The cover artist’s intent to reproduce an ancient Japanese woodcut narrative of the first story in the anthology does not quite catch the eye and the illustratiosn that precede every story don’t always seem to fit with the narrative.
If you have always had a hankering for the fantasy genre but could never really go for just the overwhelming majoriity of the Scandivanian and Saxon-offshoot epics, then Abbreviated Epics could help quench your thirst for new ideas in a bite-sized format.