Review: 'Expiration Date' edited by Nancy Kilpatrick

Expiration Date edited by Nancy Kilpatrick
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (April 2015)
288 pages; paperback $11.93; ebook $5.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

ExpirationDateNancy Kilpatrick is a writer and editor. She has published 18 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 200 short stories, 5 collections of stories, and has edited 12 anthologies.

Her latest is Expiration Date, an anthology of brilliant stories that examine all sorts of expirations, but mainly the ones that are personal, because those are the demises that matter most to us. The collection of stories is broken into 3 parts; Negotiating Oblivion (trying to reason with death); Resisting Extinction (trying to avoid death); and Best Before/Best After (a group of stories tied to death).

Negotiating Oblivion

“Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” by Kelley Armstrong – Even vampires come with an expiration date. A clever, likable story. Kelley is the author of the Cainsville, a modern gothic series and the Otherworld urban fantasy series. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her family.

“Banshee” by Daniel Sernine with translation by Sheryl Curtis – A delightful tale on the legend of the Banshee. Daniel Sernine has a career spanning more than 40 years, with 39 books to his credit. Sheryl Curtis is a professional translator from Montreal, Quebec, with translated stories appearing in a variety of popular publications.

“Riding Shotgun” by Elaine Pascale – A fascinating fantasy involving a mythical wolf and death. Elaine lives on Cape Cod with her husband, son, and daughter. Her writing has been published in several magazines and anthologies. Elaine enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate and collecting cats.

“The Twenty Seven Club” by J. M. Frey – After reading the story, I went back and looked at the title.  Perfect, just like this Rock & Roll tale. J. M. Frey is an actor, author, and fanthroplogist. This is her first horror short.

“Trinity Death” by Steve Vernon – Having the ability to jump into others minds and influence their decisions has its advantages until death enters the equation. Steve is a hybrid author with both traditionally released ghost story collections — Haunted Harbours; Halifax Haunts; The Lunenburg Werewolf — and independently released e-books such as Flash Virus; Tatterdemon; Big Hairy Deal.

“What I Said to Richie Was…” by Ken Goldman – A charming story of a brother’s love. Ken is a former English and Film Studies teacher, who lives in Pennsylvania and the South Jersey shore. His stories received seven honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and appear in over 750 publications in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia.

“To Dance, Perchance to Die” by David McDonald – Another perfect title. Living in a tumultuous time in Europe, a dancer is given the gift of immortality, but what if you don’t want to live forever? David is a professional geek from Melbourne, Australia who works for an international welfare organization. When not on a computer or reading a book, he helps run a local cricket club. He is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association, the IAMTW and the SuperNOVA writers group.

“Death Doll” by Lois H. Gresh – If you don’t expire at your appointed time, it can throw off the balance of life and death. Lois is the New York Times Best-Selling Author of 27 books and 60 short stories.  Lois has received Bram Stoker Award, Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, and International Horror Guild Award nominations.

Resisting Extinction

“The Long Wait” by R. B. Payne – A wonderful tale of hanging on, lovingly told. R. B. Payne says he is assembled from stolen body parts, and he lives in the hope of someday being human. Meanwhile, he writes. His stories are in Times of Trouble; Chiral Mad, and a graphic dog-men novel from Island Tales.

“That Brightness” by Mary E. Choo – Another story of cheating death. Mary’s work has appeared in many publications, both print and electronic. She has been on the preliminary ballots of the Nebula and Bram Stoker awards (the latter for poetry) and is a two-time Aurora finalist.

“Night Market” by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem – A beautifully written story, but not my favorite. Left me a bit confused. This spring PS Publishing is bringing out Steve’s stand-alone novella In the Lovecraft Museum. The late Melanie Tem’s work has received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards, as well as a nomination for the Shirley Jackson Award.

“Sooner” by Morgan Dambergs – Playing let’s make a deal with Death. Morgan Dambergs has had short stories published in several anthologies, including Rock ‘N’ Roll is Dead and The Big Book of New Short Horror. She hopes to one day publish a novel. She owns a small secondhand bookstore, where she happily spends her days reading, writing, and chatting about books.

“The Great Inevitable” by Patricia Flewwelling – When it comes to making deals with Death, be careful what you ask for. Patricia is the author of the science fiction novel Helix: Blight of Exiles, and the dieselpunk series. She writes almost anything that can be labelled dark, action-packed, and ironic.

“In a Moment” by Christine Steendam – This story actually brought me to tears. Christine has been writing stories since she could put pen to paper and form words. Now, fifteen years later, her debut novel, Heart Like an Ocean is available and she is working on her second book. Christine makes her home in Manitoba with her husband, two kids, and horse.

“Death Drives a Cordoba” by Ryan McFadden – Great title and another well-told story, although all of this death is getting a bit depressing. Ryan is a two-time Aurora winning writer from London, Ontario. His most recent writing credits are stories in the anthologies When the Villain Comes Home and Blood and Water.

“Prison Break” by Tobin Elliott – Another clever title. Thanks to a boy’s love and belief, even a dog can escape death. Tobin is a Creative Writing teacher, a freelance editor and writing mentor, and a writer of horror. He has one published short story and three novellas. His first novel will be published this year.

“This Strange Way of Dying” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. One should make a promise unless they know what the promise is for. Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel Signal to Noise, about magic, music and Mexico City, is out now. Some of her stories appear in the collection Love & Other Poisons, and in a bunch of anthologies.

“The Deaths of Jeremiah Colverson” by George Wilhite – An interesting twist on the battle with Death and a chilling look into one possible future. George is the author of the horror collections On the Verge of Madness and Silhouette of Darkness, as well as nearly one hundred stories and poems in print or online.

Best Before / Best After

“The Shadow of Death” by Paul Kane – Even a man who believes he is Death incarnate must face Death. Paul is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over fifty books. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen.

“An Inspector Calls” by Rebecca Bradley – One of my favorites in a book filled with great reads. Rebecca puts her background to good use in this story. She has fond memories of working as an archaeologist in Egypt and the Sudan, and once shared a dighouse with a crowd of millennia-dead Nubians. She now lives in the West Kootenays of British Columbia, with some very lively cats.

“What Would Lizzie Do?” by Sèphera Girón – A totally enjoyable tale of a ghost hunter staying at the Lizzie Borden house. Sèphera is about halfway to her personal expiration date and still has loads to say. The author of a dozen published books, she’s also penned hundreds of short stories, blogs, articles, and horoscopes.

“Ashes to Ashes” by Amy Grech – The title says it all. Amy has sold over one hundred stories and three poems to various anthologies and magazines including Dead Harvest, and Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine. Amy is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association.

“The Greyness” by Kathryn Ptacek – This is a somewhat creepy story of a woman whose husband passes unexpectedly, leaving her with an unusual talent, or is it more of a curse? Kathryn Ptacek’s novels (in various genres) are being reissued as ebooks from Crossroad Press and Necon Ebooks. She lives in the beautiful northwest corner of New Jersey where she keeps a lively garden. She also collects teapots and beads.

“things in jars” by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens – A strange yet entertaining little story of tent in the middle of the desert nearby a one pump gas station filled with things in jars. That’ll be 25 Cents, please. Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens are New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestselling novelists. Stephen King praised their thriller, Icefire, as “the best suspense novel of its type since The Hunt for Red October.”

“Right of Survivorship” by Nancy Holder and Erin Underwood – I loved this tale. After the death of his uncle, Michael O’Dare is drawn into a world he doesn’t exactly believe in where he must sign a lease for the rights to the world or it will all return to the possession of the fae. Nancy is a New York Times bestselling author and has received five Bram Stoker Awards.  This is her second short story written with Erin Underwood. Erin Underwood is a writer and editor as well as the publisher at Underwords Press.

From EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Expiration Date is available now in both paperback and ebook formats.

Don’t miss this solid anthology.

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