Thursday, December 31, 2015

Occupied Earth: Stories of Aliens, Resistance and Survival at all Costs - Edited by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips - A terrific shared world anthology

4 of 5 Stars

Every now and again I like to step away from the horror genre and read something different.  I saw this one and thought it might be a nice change of pace.  It was exceptional. Occupied Earth: Stories of Aliens, Resistance and Survival at all Costs is a shared world anthology where the earth has been conquered by an alien race  and is now under their rule.  Each story is a slice of life and what it's like living under the authority of the Mahk-Ra.

There weren't a lot of familiar names in this anthology, at least they weren't familiar to me, they may be to you, and they certainly are to the writers themselves.

Each writer manages to tell a solid story of life in the aftermath of an alien invasion, and at the same time keep the overall mythos of the new Earth consistent throughout.  Kudos to editors Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips who, no doubt, played a big part in pulling that off.

Hunter X – Parts 1-3 by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips 

Richard and Gary are the editors of the anthology.  Richard is a native Californian, has always been a lover of stories and storytelling. He has worked as a writer, actor, bookseller, story editor, book reviewer, movie and television Development Executive, and audiobook narrator. Gary has family roots in Texas and the Mississippi Delta, he's a native of  L.A. and was editor of the bestselling Orange County Noir.  His graphic novel about a money launderer, The Rinse, has been optioned for television

The Hunter X story is split into three parts.  It starts and ends the anthology and there's another piece about midway through the book.  In this story FBI Special Agent, Paul Hunter, and his partner, JoHannas-ra, make up the first Mahk-Ra-human investigative team.  "...a shining symbol of interspecies cooperation.  Harmony among the species and all that."  Told with a touch of humor, this story sets the stage fort the rest of the anthology.

Do No Harm by Rachel Howzell Hall and David W. Hall

Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of the critically-acclaimed mystery series featuring LAPD Homicide Detective Elouise Norton.  David Hall is the Design Director for the digital arm of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). This is his first story collaboration with his wife writer Rachel Howzell Hall.

Years after the Mahk-Ra occupation two EMTs just doing their job stumble upon a scene which will change their lives again. Just because the Mahk-Ras can do whatever they like doesn't make it right.

Pike Street Pick-Up by Adam L. Korenman 

Adam Korenman has been dabbling in writing for most of his life, but only recently began spilling the crazy thoughts down on paper. Adam is also a Captain with the Army National Guard, serving with a company of tankers in California.

Pike Street Pick-Up is a fine story of a street urchin and pickpocket who lifts more than he bargains for from a Mahk-Ra official.

Union Day by Lisa Morton 

Lisa is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and winner of the 2012 Grand Prize from the Halloween Book Festival.   She also knows more about Halloween than just about anyone in the world.

Union Day is a Halloween story, of sorts, set in this shared world of alien domination.

How the Game is Played by Rob Hart 

Rob Hart has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, and a commissioner for the City of New York.  His debut novel, New Yorked, was published by Polis Books in June 2015.

How the Game is Played shows how even with the occupation it's politics as usual.

Strange Alliance by Cliff Allen 

Cliff is a lifelong fan of the space program, and that has led to an avid interest in science fiction as a literary form.

Strange Alliance features clever storytelling and good writing.  It's about a merciless human who rises high in the ranks of the Mahk-Ra.

Hope by Matthew V. Clemens 

Matthew V. Clemens is a long-time co-conspirator with Max Allan Collins, the pair have collaborated on over twenty novels – including CSI and Criminal Minds TV tie-in books.

Hope is another well-told story of occupation and resistance and how one should never jump to conclusions.

Location, Location, Location by Howard V. Hendrix

Howard Hendrix is the award-winning author of six novels, as well as numerous non-fiction books and short stories.

A prime example of how life goes on after the occupation.  The story of an ex-astronaut turned real estate agent working to make a sale of a movie making property to the Mahk-Re.

Letting Go the Ghosts by Marsheila Rockwell and Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell and Jeffrey J. Mariotte have written more than 60 novels between them. They’ve also written dozens of short stories, separately and together.

For the Occupied Earth anthology they've written a powerful story of the Taovayan native Anerican tribe continuing to make their way under Mahk-Ra occupation.  Now comes an offer for the mineral rights to their land that the Taovayan cannot refuse, but not everyone believes they should sell.

A Day in the Life by R. M. Johnson 

Richard M. Johnson is a screenwriter, copywriter, playwright, and poet. His short stories can be found in several anthologies.  He is also a performer and photographer and uses both avocations as excuses to occasionally get out of the house and into the sun.

Another solid story.  This one set in occupied L.A.

Second Coming by Craig Faustus Buck 

Craig Faustus Buck is an LA-based writer for both print and screen.  He is President of Mystery Writers of America SoCal chapter, a member of the board of Sisters in Crime LA, and an active member of the Writers Guild of America and International Thriller Writers.

This was my personal favorite story in the anthology.  Quite an original tale.  I would love to see this given a longer treatment someday.

The Devil You Know by Jessica Kaye 

Jessica Kaye is a partner at Kaye & Mills (, a law firm specializing in publishing and entertainment. She is an audiobook producer of hundreds of audiobooks, more than a few of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards.

Another well told story of Mahk-Ra and humans working together, with a nice twist.

Johnny and the Warehouse Women by Nathan Walpow 

Nathan Walpow is a prolific writer, a past president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion.

A simple warehouse robbery uncovers a prostitution ring involving Mahk-Re women.  From there, things get a bit complicated.

Traitor by Adam Lance Garcia 

Adam Lance Garcia was raised on comic books, movie serials, and lightsabers.  In addition Adam has also worked as a full-time television producer and a part-time screenwriter.

A brilliant story of revenge.

Occupied Earth: Stories of Aliens, Resistance and Survival at all Costs is out now from Polis Books and is available in paperback, e-book, MP3, and Audible formats.


No comments:

Post a Comment