This was my introduction to the Bourbon Penn anthologies and I’m now asking myself: how has it taken me so long to discover them? At 150 pages, Issue #25 is pleasingly weird and quirky, exactly as its cover image promises.
My favourite story was Anthony Panegyres’ “Anthropopages Anonymous (AA)”, which totally nails the thoughts and actions of upwardly evolved bears. The humour is subtle and dark, while the bears’ way of thinking is a dangerous mix of animal and human.
I was particularly drawn to the mystery of Louis Evans’ “Lazaret” with its strange Twilight Zone-esque vibes; and also to the precarious balance of tragedy and creepiness in Simon Stanzas’ “That House”.
E Catherine Tobler’s “The Truth Each Carried” allows the reader to discover more than one secret through the eyes of a perceptive and gifted older woman. Her horses are wonderful!
Allie Kiri Mendelsohn’s “Mosaic” is a tale of magic told from the point of view of a very young adult. Mendelsohn’s use of language does much to enhance the characterisation and setting.
Gregory Norman Bossert’s “Appearing Nightly” is an atmospheric vignette about a magician whose performances are at once perplexing and elusive.
I finished this antho in less than a day. All six stories left me thinking about them afterwards.
Bourbon Penn #25 edited by Erik Secker is available online at Amazon, Book Depository and Bourbon Penn Website