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Review: The Draft – Stories from the Warwick MA in Writing
Danielle Shields reviews an extraordinary anthology, demonstrating that fantasy fiction can still be conceived by the imagination

Author: Various
Publisher: Ball Bearing Press
ISBN: 978-0-9566700-1-4

Twenty-seven writers bring together an extraordinary anthology, demonstrating that fantasy fiction can still be conceived by the imagination.

In this anthology holds a collection of twenty-seven short stories, with three hopefully being transformed into novels, from this years talented literates of the Writing MA at Warwick. The book has been blessed by the contributing writers; with their dilute curiosity and passion for the written word, they interpret to the reader hours of bitter-sweet joy. They have all began from distinctive backgrounds, from various places all across the world, and have paved fresh walks of life for themselves, culminating in dynamic inspiration for some of their stories. This gives us an insight into their heritage and their existence as they contemplate us as humans and our capabilities in this wondrous universe.

All of the stories are unique, but bounded by one key element: the impossible. They illustrate creatures, ghosts and lifestyles that we cannot believe to be practical in our average days. Although, their words seduce you in poetic luxury, so beautiful that it makes us believe that such fantasy elements can enlighten the crust of Earth. In other words: miracles become more than possibilities; they become realities.

Straight away we are absorbed into an intense tale of fictional paradise in, 'All that Remains is Earth,' by Miranda Floy, conveying powerful queries which makes you pause in awe of such selfless indulgence yet bemused puzzlement, such as “There are three things you should know about Federico Ortega: one, his skills as a horseman is such he has a reputation for lassoing grizzlies; two, he has loved just one women, passionately, ever day of his life, and three, I am the reason he has never met her.”

Flickering between first and third person narratives, the stories continue in this way; never failing to disappoint with their lyrical like enchantments, but also always confusing your instincts, making you think long after you have finished reading them. The variety of tales are incredulous, we read about our intolerability of the crazy, the death of ones daughter, a male magical mushroom charmer, an underwear robber, spider Gods and that's only the first five tales!

Rosanne Moulding's, The Debt is the first chapter in a young adult novel about a young women, Sola Herrington, who is lost in a corrupt world where civilians are murdered in a gruelling contest by people named demonstrators. The chapter closes on a cliffhanger with Sola “chosen to help pay the Nation's Debt,” which catapults your integrity to learn more. A comical poignant story is portrayed by Jonny Rowland in, Slow Days, with the protagonist being an amateur author who speaks the hidden confessions of many writers with, “...I've been getting a perverse pleasure from procrastination, watching the deadlines that I promised myself that I would keep stretch further and further back in time.”

These writers have not only become storytellers, but transporters; inflicting us into their kaleidoscope of colourful worlds and wisdom, enriching us with their discoveries about the lives we live. They toy with our human emotions, carving out fantasy worlds mixed in with the insecurities that Earth beholds: they bring hope that fiction can remain original.

Ghosts using public transport, a pink and fluffy devil and a village cocooned in mystery, are all confided in one of the best anthologies the UK has to offer.

Danielle Shields is a book reviewer for the Young Writers' Hub. You can purchase The Draft on Amazon