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Review: Rogue Artists Anthology – Edited By E.D.E. Bell

Rogue Artists - Edited by E.D.E. Bell

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Reviewer: Olivia

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About The Book

To heal. to mourn. to redeem. to live.

Rogue Artists presents seventeen speculative fiction stories of art used for change, in celebration of the 2022 Origins Game Fair, themed: The Art of Gaming.


2022 Guest of Honor Cat Rambo, E.D.E. Bell, Marie Bilodeau, Donald J. Bingle, Jennifer Brozek, C. S. E. Cooney, Sarah Hans, Carlos Hernandez, Chris A. Jackson, Addie J. King, R. L. King, Daniel Myers, Aaron Rosenberg, Tracy R. Ross, Jason Sanford, Michael R. Underwood, Gregory A. Wilson

The Review

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Got your bag? Got your sketchbook? Got your water bottle? Okay, great! Time to enter this impressive gallery of an anthology. 

Many types are art are explored in these works: the art of tattoo, sketch work, and stage. The art of song, and the art of paint. Even the art of gallery curation.  Some tales between these pages will enchant you. Some will make you shiver and move on quickly. Some will comfort disturbed souls…and some will disturb comfortable egos. What I can promise you is that each story hung in this gallery has the power to move you. 

Characterization: 5/5

In this work, you’ll meet so many characters worth remembering. Sami, who mourns a planet and heals by painting. Mischievous Art playing tricks with a pencil and Mona who brings magic out of the grayness of loss. An incredible acting troupe who act as one and create in the face of repression. Sweet Olena and sorrowing Amina. So many characters with so many different lives, and all of them united by the power of art. 

As usual, I won’t dive deep into any single piece of an anthology, but the careful curation of these works walks us through a fascinating gallery of the human heart and soul.

Writing Style: 4/5

My particular favorite in this collection was Art In, a fun Oceans-11 style heist tale with a magic twist. Another absolute treasure is Seven Stones To Throw, which finishes the collection with a gentle paintbrush and a smile. But every one of these stories has something great to offer. The only stories I had any issue at all with were The New Pointillist Manifesto and A Matter Of Value,  which both struck me as that guy at the gala opening who insists on rambling away at you while drinking too much of the wine on offer. But hey, that’s expected when you go to the gallery. The careful curation of this collection starts the series with catharsis and new beginnings, leads us deep into humankind’s desires and the parts of ourselves we don’t always want to look in the eye, and gently leads us back up into the light refreshed from our journey.

Plot: 5/5

Some stories move at a fast clip and some are as leisurely as a day spent painting in the garden.  All are nicely timed. Again, good curation has created a careful beginning, a fast-paced early series, a deep and occasionally dark middle, and a final story as sweet and quiet as a Sunday afternoon.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

A gallery of metaphor and narrative well worth exploring. Enjoy.

The Reviewer

Olivia Wylie is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Trained in horticulture, she writes ethnobotany and horticulture under her own name and queer climate change fiction with a hopeful twist under the pen name of O.E. Tearmann. She lives in Colorado with a very patient partner and a rather impatient cat.