Monday, May 26, 2008

Some Gave All by various authors

TITLE: Some Gave All
AUTHOR: Jefferson Dane, Aline de Chevigny, Wayne Greenough, J.M. Snyder
PUBLISHER: Aspen Mountain Press
LENGTH: Anthology (roughly 51k)
GENRE: Military drama
COST: $4.99

Four tales of varying genres, all celebrating those who serve in the armed forces.

When I first saw the blurbs for this anthology, it was the description of “Memorial Meeting,” by Aline de Chevigny, that prompted me to buy this. This is the story of the grandson and granddaughter of a nurse and soldier from WWI who corresponded but were never able to hook up after the war. The grandchildren are meeting in their elders’ stead, and it was supposed to be love at first sight. Well, in all fairness to the blurb, it was. Unfortunately, it was an absolute mess when it came to reading. The editing on this is some of the worst I’ve seen, with punctuation so poor that it literally changes the meaning of some sentences. Seriously. “He loved her child,” means one thing, while “He loved her, child,” means something else entirely. The entire story is riddled with these kinds of mistakes. When you can’t even convey what you mean, how am I supposed to be able to immerse myself into your story? It doesn’t help that the characterization is flat and unbelievable, either. The weakest story of the four.

“Flyover,” by Jefferson Dane, is a paranormal drama about a soldier rescued from the Afghanistan mountains, who has been traumatized by both the slaughter of his unit and the terror they witnessed on a nightly basis. It is moody and chilling, and proof that strong authors can rise above sloppy editing, because this suffers from none of the mistakes of its predecessor. The slowly built tension in this helps to make the paranormal aspects painted over an all-too-realistic and grim setting believable. Characterization is careful and delicate; I believed completely in all three of the principles in this, even if the psychiatrist is more of a means of ferreting out the story than anything else. By far, the strongest story of the bunch.

Wayne Greenough's “Thanet Blake's Memorial Day” is a little harder to pin down. I’m going to call it a paranormal detective story, but saying that, I had the distinct impression throughout that I was reading a character I was supposed to recognize. It wasn’t until I was done with the anthology and I checked the author’s website that I saw, yes, Thanet Blake has another story as well. With that in mind, I think this story is best served to those who are familiar with the author’s world. It tells the story of Thanet Blake taking his mother to various graveyards on Memorial Day, with new characters introduced every other page. There are so many that they all blurred for me; I had no distinction on any of them except for Thanet and then the ghost he gets coerced into helping. As a standalone story, it just doesn’t work. There’s too much going on in too small a space for any of it to make any kind of impact.

The final story in the anthology is the gay romance, “For the Boys,” by J.M. Snyder. Carl Prosser is stationed in Korea when he meets USO boy Tommy. Love ensues. Some light sex. And it’s sweet. As prolific as Snyder is, I have to admit this is the first time I’ve ever read her. I think I see what the appeal is. The prose is very romantic, and the situation more so. It’s competently written with likable characters, and if it’s not very challenging to read, it still managed to make me smile more than once. Probably the most feel good story of the anthology.


6/10 – The first and third stories drag this down.


7/10 – All but Greenough’s story worked for me.


6/10 – Dane has the strongest entry, while Greenough bites off more than he can chew and falls flat.

Entertainment value

6/10 – Dane and Snyder are the only two I’d bother with again.

World building

6/10 – Again, Dane and Snyder are the pros here.



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