It took me months to work read this anthology due to its size and slow start. With every large anthology I read, the more I think they should not surpass 60k words. I would say MIDNIGHT BEYOND THE STARS is at least twice that. So, when I hit stories that did nothing for me, the remainder of the book became more daunting, and I put off returning to it. Luckily, MBTS does get better as it moves along and provides a fair list of good stories I did truly enjoy. I think PENTAGRAM was a better anthology, but STARS is still scattered with gems. Some of my favorites follow with the notes I took while reading:
Embryo – by Tim Curran
Was the anthology cover influenced by this story or vice versa? Either way, this was the first story to actually keep me interested from start to finish. It’s weird, cosmic, horrific, unsettling…just what you want.
Scan for Life – by Jason Parent
Similar to the previous story, Embryo, in some ways, but I still dig that weirdness at the end and the ultimate conclusion where the astronaut becomes one with the transparent membrane.
Snow Blind – by Kristopher Triana
This would have worked better in longer form, but this weird story was enjoyable and strange despite it’s lack of explanation.
Skin-Wrapped Gift – by Chad Lutzke
Quick and effective, approachable writing style as usual, easy but interesting concept
We Still Have Time – by Amanda Headlee
I could definitely see this making a good movie adaptation, interesting idea
I Will Meet You There – by Brennan LaFaro
Well written and eerie, great atmosphere and a chilling end, I like the idea of a shadow being that controls you and wants to reach Earth as much as the MC who misses his family
The Bluehaul – by Lee Murray
Not very exciting, but smart and interesting. More of a slow-burn
The Little Voice – by Gabino Inglesias
Gets wild real fast, well written and creepy and full of potential for future stories
Sometimes All of Our Thoughts are Misgiven – by Janine Pipe
I liked the writing a lot, the element of fantasy with the staircase, and how she refers to other stories from her debut collection
Whatever You Want Most – by Megan E. Hart
I liked the writing style and the ending was really weird and fucked up and disturbing
Who Built the Moon? – by Tyler Jones
Really liked the writing and suspense and mystery behind this one. Felt more gritty drama than science fiction, which I liked
Fourteen Gallons – by Red Lagoe
Interesting concept with a post-apocalyptic backdrop
As usual with anthologies, you have the stories you like and the ones you rather skip. To return to this book reading just the titles mentioned above would be an enjoyable time and worthy of a couple hours craving some sci-fi/horror.