This review was first published by Booklist on September 1, 2016.
The 30 stories collected here come from an impressive cast of authors. All stories are set in Portland, Oregon (you don’t need to know anything about Portland to enjoy them), and partake, to varying degrees, of the unique brand of weird that defines that city. Some center around specific landmarks (Powell’s bookstore makes several appearances), some reference the history of the town, and some treat the city only as a general setting. These stories range from highly speculative to more mainstream, from upbeat to cynical, silly to serious; stories of love and loss, humor and pathos, from the bizarre to the poetic. There’s even an illustrated comic. Some are wonderfully pulpy, and some are more modern. “Transformation,” by Dan DeWeese, uses an alien invasion as critique of mindless conformity; “Yay,” by Bradley K. Rosen, is a Christmas Krampus story of madness and indigence; “Waiting for the Question,” by Art Edwards, is a gritty urban fantasia featuring Alex Trebek. All of the stories are very good, making this a fun and recommended collection.