PERSPECTIVE by Kevin Siembieda
A group of travels stop for the night. The mercenary leader wants to stop at the Chi-town ‘burbs where he claims is the best place on Earth. The leader wants nothing to do with the ‘burbs. For he has heard that they are crime ridden and unsafe. Erin Tarn a writer tells that the truth is somewhere in between.
A WHILE LONGER by Braden Campbell and Kevin Siembieda
A young man comes with his brother to gain citizenship in Chi-town. No one ever told them that it can take years. While waiting his brother is robbed and killed. He takes a job at a local tavern. Eventually the owner retires and leaves him in charge. He makes friends with the local Coalition officer and names the place A While Longer. Seven years later he is still waiting.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Jason Marker
A man gets cybernetic eyes from a local chop shop. The eyes were taken off a murdered person and resold. Now the man has visions of the murder. He goes insane and claws his eyes out before he dies.
LOVE AND REMEMBRANCE by Kevin Siembieda and Josh Hilden
The story of Ian Polovich. As a young man he joined the Coalition to defend Chi-town from the invading Federation of Magic. In those days the city was a democracy and had mages in its army. He falls in love with one who later dies. He then sees the rise of Emperor Prosek and the xenophobia against D-bees and magic. Disgusted with the changes he chooses to live in the ‘burbs and write his story.
PEDDLER’S END by Jeffrey Scott Hansen and Kevin Siembieda
Peddler is a merchant who deals on the side in the black market. One day he gets a magical device called the Orb of Teleportation that can teleport anywhere. When a mysterious vigilante stops a corrupt Coalition officer from stealing from him. He finds the man and confides a plan to assassinate Emperor Prosek. The vigilante is actually a Coalition officer in disguise and kills Peddler and confiscates the Orb.
THE BROTHERS PEREZ by John C. Philpott
Two D-bees those non-humans that came through the rifts get together and form a comedy act. They go to Tolkeen and after the war head on to Lazlo. They eventually wind up in the ‘burbs and do subversive acts against the Coalition and manage to form an underground railroad to help escaping D-bees.
TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES by Jason Richards
Ryall Seitz is a corporal in the Coalition army. He is involved in stopping terrorists from Tolkeen. One of the captured terrorists is his brother. This exposes him to the Coalition that Seitz is from another dimension and not born a human on Earth. Even though he is human and loyal the Coalition is paranoid about anything that comes from the Rifts. We are left that his fate is not good.
CASULATIES OF WAR by Mark Oberle
A man joins the Coalition army to fast track citizenship for his family. He goes off to the war with Tolkeen. Later the wife hooks up with an abusive man. The son plans to kill this man. It is revealed that the man is actually his father who came back changed by the war.
ME AND MR. CHOKE by Taylor White
A bureaucrat who works at the medical records gets a message from someone in the ‘burbs. His grandfather has died and left him something. He goes and finds that he was murdered for the object. Only his voice can open the box. It is a magical spirit that can incinerate anybody. He forms a bound with it because they both share a life of misery. The man then uses it to take out his boss at work, thugs that have been stealing from him and his cheating wife.
GOING HOME by Josh Sinsapaugh
A bear like D-bee frequents a bar. He is liked by everyone and talks about baseball and this home down south. It is revealed that it was destroyed by the Coalition.
STRANGERS IN PARADISE by Kevin Siembieda
A young girl hides a fugitive from the Coalition.
A JUICER’S TALE by Carl Gleba
A man who became a Juicer an augmented individual who is pumped with adrenalin and other chemicals to heighten his senses and response times. A jealous colleague sabotages his chemical unit and now he must work for a doctor in getting back the man’s stolen bag. He also has to stop this man from kidnapping his family and selling him to a mage.
DEATH, FRIEND & LIFE by Braden Campbell and Kevin Siembieda
The owner of A While Longer receives news that his old friend the Coalition officer has committed suicide. He also finally gets his citizenship papers after nine years. He decides to stay in the ‘burbs rather than abandon his family and friends.
This was an anthology of short stories about the ‘burbs. Those collection of shanty towns and villages that have grown up around the fortress city of Chi-town the capital of the Coalition States. For the most part these were very interesting stories. Only Going Home was the dud. War and Remembrance was an excellent brief history of the Coalition. A Juicer’s tale was also one of my favorites. I also have a soft spot for Me and Mr. Choke. I can sympathize with a poor guy stuck in a horrible job.
On the whole this was a great collection of short stories. I hope that more books will be written about the Rifts universe.