Various International Anthologies – Stripburger #18
Anthologies are, invariably, a tricky proposition. How do you recommend something that has 3/4 great stories, but 1/4 of it sucks? Or how about if that number is turned around and 3/4 of it sucks, but the other 1/4 of it is so amazing that you think everyone should read it? Well, that issue can be dealt with another day, because this book is almost all at least worth reading, if not great. It’s an anthology of handicapped people from Europe and it’s something else. Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland and France all had people contribute to making this book. Chances are you haven’t heard of most of these people, unless you follow the scene in other countries. I was happy to learn that there are so many other issues of this series available. It’s up to #20 now along with a few special issues, and most of them are anthologies with a theme of come kind. Once I move out of my current place in Champaign, I’m going to send away for as many of these things as I can afford and see if they’re all as enjoyable as this one.
What kind of stories are in this mini? Well, there’s the man with no arms who has to find a way to take a piss, an impotent bigot wandering around town, two people in a convalescent home who can’t get sexual satisfaction, and a wheelchair race in hell. As I look through this again, maybe I was being too generous in saying that the whole thing worked. There’s not a bad story in the bunch, which is saying something, but a couple of them aren’t much past average. And if that’s the worst thing that I can say about a book, that has to be a good thing. I also expected more of a sense of anger at the non-handicapped world. I don’t know why I thought that would be the case, and there are hints of it here and there, but it’s not anywhere near as pervasive as I thought it might be. If you’re at all curious to see what the scene is like in Europe, this is the best place I’ve seen to start looking.