Story collections are often a mixed bag. It’s their nature to sport a certain variety, both in terms of the storytelling and format but also often in terms of the quality. This is where having a good editor can make or break a short story collection. The job of the editor is to maintain consistency. This sounds easy enough, and in a perfect editorial world it probably is. But editing, like writing, is a business and, invariably, things out of your control will arise, not the least of which is receiving a submission from an author that just doesn’t cut it. All this is to say that while there are challenges with concocting any collection of short stories, Evil is a Matter of Perspective edited by Adrian Collins manages to avoid the worst of these pitfalls and delivers an array of stories that are unique in their perspective with a high degree of creative and storytelling quality.
Evil is a Matter of Perspective: An Anthology of Antagonists got its start as a Kickstarter campaign:
The team at GRIMDARK MAGAZINE want to get fantasy authors into the shoes of their established antagonists and present you with 15+ dark fantasy stories in a beautiful print tome. We've engaged a range of fantasy authors with established worlds including R. Scott Bakker's The Second Apocalypse, Courtney Schafer's Shattered Sigil, Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt, Teresa Frohock's Los Nefilim, Jeff Salyards' Bloodsounder's Arc, and many more.
Of course, I realize this is old news given that the kickstarter for the anthology began in 2017 and the book was released that same year after receiving full funding and more in record time, as I recall at the time. There are so many books and so little time, though, as I’m sure you can relate, and so this one did not receive my attention until just recently. I am regretful I did not get to it sooner but happy that I now have. Evil is a Matter of Perspective is as wicked as it is endearing, as the reader encounters characters who are evil now, yes, but only because they were victims themselves at one time and corrupted by circumstance. Others are not evil per se, but so driven that they’ll do anything to see their goal accomplished. This doesn’t excuse any character’s actions, but it stays true to the book’s title.
Like any collection, not every story can resonate with every reader. In this case, there were only a few that did not work for me. On the whole, Collins checks all the boxes, though: high quality writing, well thought out characters, great storytelling, and a nice mix of such elements as love, deceit, bravery, and, of course, evil. I’m giving Evil is a Matter of Perspective a solid four rockets. It very nearly was five, but just missed the mark with a couple of the stories. I would encourage you to give this one a read if you haven’t already and also check out some of the Grimdark’s other anthologies. They all look good.