Last summer, a group of writers I am friends with got together to form a new kind of publishing house called Kosa Press. Their tagline is “Rethinking Publishing One Universe At A Time.” Formed by a group of people with a shared love of science fiction and fantasy books, as well as flash and short fiction, they were determined to put out high-quality short story anthologies that would serve the same purpose as a novel: to immerse readers in new and inventive worlds, make us fall in love with foreign characters, and tell rich, wild stories.
The first time I saw the cover for THESE BROKEN WORLDS, the first “Kosalogy” released by Kosa Press, I knew I had to read it. I freely admit that I am a sucker for cool covers. The cover for THESE BROKEN WORLDS was designed by Pavarti K. Tyler, and you better believe I was impressed from the get-go. Clearly, these writers were taking themselves very, very seriously.
I signed up for the newsletter to receive updates about the status of Kosa Press, and in exchange was gifted a free copy of the debut mini-Kosalogy. It’s a very quick read – just over thirty pages – comprised of ten different short stories by four authors. None of the stories is more than five pages long. It took me about an hour to read. It begins with a one-page introduction that sets the scene: aliens seek refuge on Earth from a genocidal species that has pursued them across galaxies and millenia, and humans are none too happy about it. With a kind of District 9 sensibility and rich with classic sci-fi themes, THESE BROKEN WORLDS is a remarkable collection for both its brevity and its intensity.
The collection opens with a story by Woelf Dietrich, who, along with Pavarti Tyler, Jessica West, and MJ Kelley, wrote and assembled all the stories in the anthology. Dietrich’s story sets the stage as two spaceships crash into the surface of the Earth, one destroying Los Angeles, the other carving a swath out of Arizona to rival the Grand Canyon. An old man, reminiscing on the night he watched the stars blink out as the spaceships careened through the atmosphere, immediately makes it clear that the path forward is not bright: he wishes humans had been wiped out and spared the pain yet to come.
That sets the tone for the rest of the anthology. If you’re looking for feel-good, uplifting material, look elsewhere. THESE BROKEN WORLDS is unflinching in its portrayal of the clash between the drilodytes – the aliens fleeing annihilation from elsewhere – their attackers, and humans. With stories about half-breed children being hanged at an orphanage by human children, and the drilodytes taking human women as sex slaves to create a superior, interbred race, this collection is not for the faint of heart. But if you can brave these broken worlds, the reward is great: every story is powerful and unique, and the world the authors have drawn is broad and diverse. Clearly, there is far more to be mined from the world they have built thus far.
If you are a science fiction fan and are looking for something quick, easy, and very intense, I highly recommend you scoot on over to Kosa’s page and sign up for their newsletter so as to get yourself a free copy, or do the writers a favor and nab it on Amazon.