4.5⭐️ – I always hope, when I read a collection or an anthology, that I’ll like more than one story. I’m happy to say I found something to like in every story in Distant Gardens and will add all the authors I didn’t already know to my list of authors I want to read more by.
There are ten stories in this collection, written by five authors, each offering a standalone story and one linked to previous works. There are murderous AIs, sneaky spores, fairies, krakens, scientists of all species and genders, mutinies, and all sorts of uncooperative trees and fungi. All with kickass sapphic heroines, including superheroines. A word of warning though: there’s a lot more gore than romance (but there’s romance too).
A couple of stories felt slightly too long, and one was a bit hard to get into without already knowing the universe. Readers who haven’t read J.S. Fields’ Ardulum series might feel the same way when reading the author’s koala offering, which I already knew and like a lot. There’s an easy fix, however: read the Ardulum books, they’re awesome.
Fields’ Jellyfish Lovepotion was one of my favourite stories in this collection, along with Sara Codair’s Brie and the Marsh Kraken and How to Steal a Planet by N.L. Bates.