SALOONS & STARDUST: A COLLECTION
Praise is rolling in for my new collection...
'This was such a creative collection of speculative short fiction! The author brought together so many interesting ideas into some of the most fun and imaginative science fiction stories that I have ever read.
These speculative stories were predominantly pieces science fiction, although there was also fantastical elements and even a little bit of horror. The writing in the collection was consistently strong. The stories were a good balance of unique ideas, beautiful prose and action. The stories felt cohesive enough to feel like a curated collection while still having enough variety to keep the reading experience fresh. The stories were loosely themed around the concept of courageous woman with each story centered around a strong female protagonist. From vampires to aliens to pirates, From vampires to aliens to pirates, From vampires to aliens to pirates,the stories blended together so many bizarre creatures and concepts in the most natural ways. The stories were just so much fun, yet still so smart.
As with every short story collection, I loved some stories more than others. Yet, I can honestly say that I liked just about every story in this book. When I wasn’t reading, I found myself dying to return back to the collection, which isn’t usually something I experience when reading short stories. I could definitely see myself re-reading these stories in the future.
Here are my thoughts on some of the most notable stories
Cards and Steel Hearts
This was my absolute favourite in the collection. As the first story, this one kicked off the collection strong on a very strong note. This was one of the stories that blended elements of science fiction with a western setting and I loved it. The main character was a brave indingous young woman whom I adored. The ending was absolutely brilliant.
In Salt and By Starlight
This was another favourite in the collection. This story addressed environmental themes without every seeming preachy or heavy handed. The imagery surrounding the dead whales was beautiful and haunting.
Gunfire, Gas & Ruin
This was a fairly classic zombie narrative that was made a little more unique by the inclusion of aliens. The story really highlighted how fear can bring out the worst in humanity.
Saloons & Stardust
This is another story with a western setting, which always work for me. I love the fierce motherly instincts driving this one.
This was one involved a female blacksmith and pirates, which made for a very cool narrative.
Chimeras at High Noon
This one had mechanical horses. So, naturally, I loved it.
This is easily the best werewolf story I have read. It was fantastic to read about an independent woman willing to take justice into her own hands.
I originally discovered this author when I read (and loved) her story, The Fallen, in the Fright into Flight anthology and I was eager to check out more of her work. Needless to say, I was not disappointed by this collection! I would love to see several of these stories in this collection expanded into full length novels. I look forward to reading her debut collection, Red Hour and Other Strange Tales in the near future.
I would highly recommend this collection to any speculative fiction reader, even if they don’t normally read a lot of short fiction.'
— Rachel - The Shades of Orange (Goodreads Reviewer)
'Love this collection of short, weird-sci-fi stories. Jeffs has a vivid and strange imagination that takes you easily to far-off worlds and slides you effortlessly into their realm. Her worldbuilding is seamless, her writing style evocative. Anyone who like weird-west sci-fi, or just plain weird sci-fi, or with a touch of horror, will love these stories. Beautiful writing.'
— Aiki Flintheart (Author of the Kalima Chronicles)
‘For I am Memory, and memory is forever. I will kill them.’
‘Creatively brilliant’ was running through my mind while reading “Cards and Steel Hearts,” the first story in this anthology. Pamela Jeffs creates a world, within only a few pages, that feels comfortably curious. As the story unfolds, and the creativity of Jeffs’ world starts to mesh, I couldn’t help but smile. It was all new to me, an avid reader and published writer.
“Cards and Steel Hearts,” was flawless in execution, and leaves the reader in the dust as it ends, while they wait to turn the page and see “Chapter 1” of what only could have been the beginning of an incredible novel.
I want more of this world, a world where the teenage protagonist, a teenage Indian girl seeking vengeance provides the reader with, “...my tomahawk has split his skull. It cracks like a melon, the features of his face lost in a sheet of hot blood.” It was hard to leave this world and jump to the next one, and this was common while reading “Saloons and Stardust,” where each story left the reading fulfilled yet longing for more.
“In Salt and By Starlight” is another beautifully written tale of heroism, but to call it heroism is an insult to the strong women that make the heart of these stories beat. The true word would, and should be heroineism, because the protagonists of these tales remind me of the legacies of Joan of Arc and Amelia Earhart.
I could go on about each short story, how they all carry a textbook introduction, intriguing protagonist, creatively-inspiring setting, and daggering twist. It’s like a MasterClass on how to start a novel.
—And I remind myself these aren’t novels, they’re short stories, but the weight they hold on the reader are as everlasting as the novels I dearly hope many of these stories one day produce.
I urge any reader whose mind longs to explore other worlds to read “Salons and Stardust.” Pamela Jeffs is just getting started. Buckle up.
— J. Chasteen (Amazon Reviewer)
"In just a few sentences and sometimes mere words, Jeffs can pull you in to a world of her imagination that feels so real and tangible, you wouldn't be surprised to look out your window and see one of her characters racing on top of a mechanical horse, dust flying out behind.
I opened the book and ended up reading the first story Cards and Steel Hearts three times before I could move on, because I simply didn't want to leave the amazing world and characters created.
Every single story in this collection is worth a read. And by the end of some stories I felt my heart pounding with the rush of adventure and soaring with the emotions and strength of characters created. My personal favourites were definitely Cards and Steel Hearts, Saloons and Stardust, Undertaker, Bloodlines and Wolverslinger.
With lines such as:
‘He's haunted looking, like he's seen bad things - things that don't sit too well with the soul.’ ‘Piles of clustered rubbish, heaving with rats, loiter in the gutters.’
How can you not love Jeffs' writing and feel the magic she is weaving.
There is so much in this collection and I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy"
— N. Coen (Goodreads Reviewer)
Whether it’s mechanical stallions galloping in fields or alien technology powering native dwellers, there is a story in here for everyone. ‘Gunfire, guns and ruins’ stood out for me, telling a fine tale of global infections and alien encounters.
‘Saloons and stardust’ lets your imagination run wild with
form changing wolves & magical hunters.
‘Revelation’ is filled with steampunked ships of the night, treasure maps, clockwork guards and tales of piracy onboard huge solar powered floating galleon vessels.
Gunslinging creatures that never yield to the blade wander these pages, beware reader, a strong heart is required. You have been warned. Have your colts charged with silver bullets, and make sure your aim is true when the challenge of a duel is called, or you may find yourself immortalised in stone if you’re second to draw.
If your heart ain’t up to the challenge mayhaps a new one can be forged.
$2.90 well spent.
— G. Cunningham (Goodreads Reviewer)