Review: The Sum Of Us – Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law (editors)

34666135Verdict: Surprisingly great.

My rating: 3,5 out of 5 stars

Date read: April 22nd, 2018

Published by Laksa Media Groups, September 2017

Find it on Goodreads.

The world of caregivers and unsung heroes, the province of ghosts . . .

Who are THE SUM OF US?

If we believe that we are the protagonists of our lives, then caregivers—our pillars—are ghosts, the bit players, the stock characters, the secondary supports, living lives of quiet trust and toil in the shadows. Summoned to us by the profound magic of great emotional, physical, or psychological need, they play their roles, and when our need diminishes . . .


These are their stories.

Children giving care. Dogs and cats giving care. Sidekicks, military, monks, ghosts, robots. Even aliens. Care given by lovers, family, professionals. Caregivers who can no longer give. Caregivers who make the decision not to give, and the costs and the consequences that follow. Bound to us by invisible bonds, but with lives, dreams, and passions of their own.

Twenty-three science fiction and fantasy authors explore the depth and breadth of caring and of giving. They find insight, joy, devastation, and heroism in grand sweeps and in tiny niches. And, like wasps made of stinging words, there is pain in giving, and in working one’s way through to the light.

Our lives and relationships are complex. But in the end, there is hope, and there is love.

This was such a constistently good short story anthology. I have been struggling with anthologies recently so much that I started to consider not reading any anymore. This one, however, was really mostly good. I struggle with reviewing anthologies in general and while I thought this was really worthwhile, there were no stories that became new favourites and that I want to gush about.

The collection of speculative works looks at the concept of caregivers from many different angles; some of which I just adored. I loved the idea of a retirement home for former super villains and their henchmen (and henchwomen) and thought this story was executed wonderfully (The Dunschemin Retirement Home For Repentant Supervillains by Ian Creasey). Bottleneck by A. Am. Dellamonica was action-packed and interesting enough that I would love a whole book set in this world.

As always, there were some stories that did not quite work for me – I mean what is it with stories set in societies that closely resemble beehives? There were two of those here and while the first one did in fact prove to be charming after a while (The Mother’s Keepers by Edward Willet), the second dragged and did not offer anything new I found (Am I Not A Proud Outlier? by Kate Story). Also, this is a premise I have no definitely have read enough of.

So overall, worthwhile but not groundbreaking. I even now struggle to recall most of the stories and I think this will prove to be even more the case in a few weeks time. But I enjoyed it while I read it, which sometimes is enough.

I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Laksa Media Groups in exchange for an honest review.


7 thoughts on “Review: The Sum Of Us – Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law (editors)

  1. You put it perfectly when you say that you “struggle to recall” any of the stories. That is also my criteria of a great book vs. one that just passes the time enoyably!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Especially when it comes to short story anthologies this is definitely one of my criteria. This one was really nice but now I couldn’t tell you anything about at least half the stories…


  2. Were all the stories speculative? I think anthologies are challenging to remember when they are all the same theme. I love the Scribner anthology of contemporary short stories since 1970. They’re all modern, but drastically different, so it’s easy to remember each one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The stories were all speculative. Which is my favourite type of short story if I am being honest. But I will definitely check the Scribner anthology out!


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