Monday, June 27, 2016

ARC Review: Strangers Among Us

29484057Title; Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts
Editor: Susan Forest
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, anthology

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
There's a delicate balance between mental health and mental illness…
Who are STRANGERS AMONG US?
We are your fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and lovers. We staff your stores, cross your streets, and study in your schools, invisible among you. We are your outcasts and underdogs, and often, your unsung heroes.
Nineteen science fiction and fantasy authors tackle the division between mental health and mental illness; how the interplay between our minds' quirks and the diverse societies and cultures we live in can set us apart, or must be concealed, or become unlikely strengths.
We find troubles with Irish fay, a North Korean cosmonaut's fear of flying, an aging maid dealing with politics of revenge, a mute boy and an army of darkness, a sister reaching out at the edge of a black hole, the dog and the sleepwalker, and many more.
After all, what harm can be done…

I was really excited about this anthology when I first heard about it. I've been looking for more books/stories that address mental illness or feature characters that have mental illnesses, especially after reading the phenomenal Challenger Deep. A sci-fi/fantasy anthology that featured characters with mental illnesses and unusual perspectives seemed like the perfect fit! Unforunately this anthology didn't live up to my expectations.

I think part of it was that my understanding of what this anthology was about is different from what the anthology was actually aiming for. In the description, it says:

"Nineteen science fiction and fantasy authors tackle the division between mental health and mental illness; how the interplay between our minds' quirks and the diverse societies and cultures we live in can set us apart, or must be concealed, or become unlikely strengths."

And some of the stories really did that in a phenomenal way. There were many stories I really enjoyed and I thought they did a great job of incorporating a respectful and realistic portrayal of people who live with mental illness and how it affects their lives. Others just had a character who saw visions/hallucinations or heard voices and didn't really address it from a mental illness standpoint; instead, it seemed more like the magical "chosen one" situation and that to me really took away from the message I was expecting from this book.

As with all anthologies, some stories were far more enjoyable than others, but overall I'd say this was a pretty mediocre anthology.

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