With the print publication of Discord's Child and Discord's Apprentice with CreateSpace due on April Fool's Day, I've been getting really fidgetty. Reading always helps me to relax, so I treated myself to Third Flatiron Anthology's Principia Ponderosa.
    I love Westerns. I was raised on them. In fact, I can't read the word Ponderosa without hearing the Bonanza theme tune. Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that I also love SF and Fantasy. Purists might think that the genres should never mix, but when you consider that the pioneers of the West were explorers of what was often a strange and alien world, it seems quite logical to join the two.
    The stories in Principia Ponderosa don't simply mash together the stereotypes of both genres, they offer thoughtful twists on well-worn themes. I particularly enjoyed Martin Clark's take on High Noon in 'No Country for Young Men' and Philip Di Boise's 'Closing the Frontier'. Jackson Kuhl starts in familiar Western territory in 'Mourning Dove' and makes it strange, as do Geoff Gander in 'The Windfather' and Robert Walton in 'La Loca'. 'Blazing Beamard' by Stanley Webb is an action-packed steam-punk tale on the lighter side, as is Mark Mellon's 'The Great Man's Iron Horse'. My personal favourite is the beautifully written world-building in Jordan Ashley Moore's 'The Quiet Crime'. A trio of flash stories round off the feast.
    As I said at the beginning, I love both Westerns and speculative fiction. In Prinicpia Ponderosa they are like bacon and eggs–very nice on their own, but even better together.
    If you'd like to see your work in a Third Flatiron anthology (and having had a story in Hyperpowers, I can recommend it), the company is seeking stories inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's 'sideways, sceptical humour' for its 'Cat's Breakfast' anthology by 15th April and slipstream stories for 'Strange Beasties' from 15th May to 15th July. Visit http://www.thirdflatiron.com to find out more.