Water: Selkies, Sirens and Sea Monsters is the last of four anthologies edited by Rhonda Parrish in the Elemental Anthologies series. My story was shortlisted for the Earth one, so I wanted to read more…

Water: Selkies, Sirens and Sea Monsters

ed. by Rhonda Parrish

Water is the most yielding of all elements, changing to fit its container, whether that be a thimble or a lake bed. At the same time, anyone who has ever watched the unrelenting progression of a tsunami understands its raw power. Associated with mutability, transformation, and the subconscious, water is both the tranquil azure of a tropical sea and the tumultuous waves and whitecaps of an embroiled ocean. As many faces as water may wear, the creatures within and associated with it have even more.

Featuring: Catherine MacLeod; Kevin Cockle; Greta Starling; Elise Forier Edie; Kate Shannon; Sara Rauch; Katie Marie; Rebecca Brae; Colleen Anderson; L. T. Waterson; Chadwick Ginther; Julia Heller; Marshall J. Moore; Joel McKay; Elizabeth R. McClellan; Eric M. Borsage; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Josh Reynolds; Liam Hogan; Mari Ness; Davide Mana; Sarah Van Goethem; Valerie Hunter; and Kelly Sandoval. [goodreads]

My Review

Rhonda Parrish has a theme to her anthologies, but she confesses that the stories that arrive in response to her call for submission often extend the concept beyond her imagination. This one certainly gave me some unexpected reading matter.

Inevitably, you aren’t going to enjoy every story in an anthology. This was certainly the case for me, and I think more so than in the last one. However, many of the works were absolutely brilliant, haunting, and very innovative. Stand-outs were Julia Heller’s Treasure of the Sea, Liam Kogan’s Mano Kanaka, and Marshall J Moore’s Nure-Onna, but I could continue and list more.

What surprised me about the collection is that with a subtitle Selkies, Sirens, and Sea Monsters, a surprisingly large number were not set in or near the sea (particularly near the beginning of the volume). Then I remembered one year when I did something about beaches for the A to Z, I got a lot of comments from people who had never seen the sea, or waded in it. So for me, the stories set in the middle of a continent that involved water were no less valid, and were as well written, they just didn’t appeal in the same way. And the title is Water, not Saltwater. I suppose that, living on an island, I have a different relationship with the sea than people who live in landlocked areas. Either that or I’m descended from selkies.

(not suitable for under 14s, by the way)

Book Review | Water: Sirens, Selkies and Sea Monsters
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4 thoughts on “Book Review | Water: Sirens, Selkies and Sea Monsters

  • 10 February, 2024 at 2:48 pm

    I’d like to believe you were descended from a selkie! Fascinating creatures!

  • 11 February, 2024 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the review, I would have thought the same thing as you based on that subtitle. But I grew up inland and rivers and lakes were all I knew until I was 16. Sounds like a good series of anthologies to try out.

  • 18 February, 2024 at 10:05 am

    Well, I guess sirens might be anywhere, but sea monsters and selkies are salt water creatures, surely.


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