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Summary:
The ground-breaking, boundary-pushing, award-nominated series of fantasy anthologies series returns for a fourth installment through the miracle of Kickstarter, bringing you eighteen brand new tales of beauty and strangeness. You'll find the light-hearted and the bleak, the surreal become familiar and the familiar turned inside-out. Each story leads you into unmapped territory, there to find shock and delight. With stories by Yves Meynard, Ian McHugh, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Richard Parks, Gemma Files, Yukimi Ogawa, A.C. Wise, Marie Brennan, Alisa Alering, Tanith Lee, Cat Rambo, Shira Lipkin, Corinne Duyvis, Kenneth Schneyer, Camille Alexa, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Patricia Russo and Barbara Krasnoff.

The overall theme of Clockwork Phoenix 4 tends towards the weird, and features some very experimental structures and voices. Some of these stories struck me as very strong--even bringing tears to my eyes--while a few others left me more confused than anything. To highlight some of my favorites:

- "The History of Soul 2065" by Barbara Krasnoff depicts a drastically changing world, as shown in family and friends as they gather for seder. The ending of this is stunning.

- "Lilo Is" by Corinne Duyvis explores the depths of a mother's love for a most unusual child. The thing that struck me most about the story is how real the relationships felt.

- "Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer" by Kenneth Schneyer uses a very unusual format, which is usually a major turn-off for me. However, this one works for me because of the familiar format of a museum guide to an exhibit, and the magical subtext that grows with the story.

- "Beach Bum and Drowned Girl" by Richard Parks takes on some genre tropes with a new spin. I really liked the awareness of the characters.

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