Different Times Different places - Copy

From the frightful to the amusing, the absurd to the lethal, Different Times, Different PIaces brings together established Beyond Traditional Recognition authors and first-time writers in a collection of stories exploring the ever-changing worlds of this exciting series.

The Glass Menagerie by Darran Jordan: The fable of "The Great Fish Heist" tells of the titanic strucle between those who would preserve the Glass and those who would have it destroyed. The question is, who will reach it first? And what effect is this caustic tale likely to have on the once innocent children to whom it is told?

Business Is Business by Matthew Kopelke: Stuck in a manor house a century and a half after his own era, Trent Greene is caught under the thumb of a woman making a fortune off his design, but forces conspire that will threaten them both...

Houses of the Holy by Madeline Lang: On the run from the law, five characters are in search of a way out. One of them, however, is looking for a more eternal escape clause; which is troublesome, as the priest from whom she seeks absolution is equally ensnared in a situation he finds no comfort in. The difference being that his concerns, far from being heavenly, are extra-dimensional...

All Future Plunges... by Peter Grehan: A man finds destiny to be a tricky thing to avoid as he makes all attempts to prevent himself from becoming a human torch...

Trading Futures by Witold Tietze: Fresh out of prison, Matteus Brunner seeks to start a new life. Unfortunately for Professor Johannes Haldemar, creator of the world's first mechanical mind, Brunner's plan involves a touch of larceny and an even greater touch of murder...

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Change is the name of the game. Finding a way in; finding a way out. It’s all about escaping who you are.

That’s what I thought when the task fell upon me to justify the thematic uniformity of this collection. I figured it must be about escaping to something different. To break through to the metaphorical (and lyrical) Other Side, perhaps to return home, possibly to push ever forward into new realms and new possibilities.

There’s a scent of that here. From five authors come five stories – but that’s where similarities end. These stories, as this anthology’s title so accurately suggests, move well beyond the bounds of traditional recognition, their characters finding a foothold in different times and different places as much as each story occupies a space with different possibilities than did the last.

To begin with, a story so desirous of transformation that it remains unwilling even to exist as a single entity, and finds itself bookending this collection like a pair of childlings hovering to either side of the decaying corpse of their mother. Read the entire collection as a strange hybrid of bedtime tales if you will, but know also that these stories inhabit a reality which exceeds reality. Be prepared for a change of scene, an escape from the limitations of our own perspectives.

The name of the enclosure may transform itself in our next tales, but its nature is as it always was. Existence itself is a trap for Trent Greene, and it’s time to find an escape clause. After all, if life is a prison, then what remains for the evolution of self to strive towards?

A prison shall not hold a man, as the protagonist of a later adventure into the human spirit will attest to, for he has just found his way out of one. But the world he meets upon his exodus from his former microcosm disagrees with him. Although the transformation of a world is more than this man can achieve, he is more than willing to redesign his own little part of it. Where does it get him? Probably into the land of sequels and reruns, if he’s not careful.

Elsewhere, form will crumble and wither, only to be overtaken by something Other. Once again, an attempt is made to “break on through”, in more ways than one. As preparations are made for the journey from this world to the next, battle plans are drawn which will see the emergence of the reflection into this world. Or could our side be the reflection? Again, a picture is painted which will make way for a new portrait, but which somehow shares the visages of the old and the new. But then, nobody ever said the space-time continuum is as we perceive it.

Fire is thought to be the purifier of the soul. Certainly, it is no purifier of the body, as one man intends quite fervently not to discover for himself. Here, space-time takes a back seat as a non-verbal exchange between one man and himself drives him to a place both within himself and beyond his comfort zone.

A tapestry is woven, each thread counter pointing the last in new and unexpected ways. But we are who we are, even if we think we’re somebody else. Even if we want to be somebody else. Everything is malleable; everything transforms. It’s all a matter of escaping who we see ourselves as being, and hoping that our destination is more preferable to our point of departure.

The problem is, you can never really know until you get there.

Change is the name of the game, and it remains the same.

Witold Tietze
November 2002