Sidekicks! Review

Look! Another review! Finally, after a summer full of fairs I had to cover for one job and rush orders I had to take care of for the other job, not to mention illnesses, conventions, and just life in general. Fortunately, I start a new job next week, which will have normal hours and pay enough (theoretically) that it’ll be the only one I need. So maybe I can catch up on the ever-growing pile of review books…who am I kidding? I’ll continue to post reviews as I can. In the meantime, here’s my review of the anthology Sidekicks! which is published by Alliteration Ink and edited by the lovely Sarah Hans.

They’re always the people on the sidelines. They provide distractions for the villain so the hero can appear and save the day. They do the hum-drum tasks the hero (or sometimes villain) can’t be bothered with. They are usually trusted with very little responsibility. And they are highly underestimated. They are Sidekicks!

This anthology is full of stories about sidekicks, and they’re not at all what you’d expect. Even in the kind you would expect—the bumbling-along-behind, man-I-hate-this-job-and-this-nut-job kind, told from the sidekick’s point of view—there’s always a twist. From sidekicks on opposite sides getting together to figure out damage control from a public relations perspective (Patrick S. Tomlinson’s “Coffee and Collaborations”) to wondering whose sidekick this guy is anyway (“At Your Service” by Kelly Swails), Sidekicks! will grab you from the first story and hold on tight until you stumble out 300 pages later trying to figure out what just happened and why it was so awesome.

I have literally nothing bad to say about this collection. I got a review copy, so of course there were a few typos, but I imagine they’ll be straightened out in the final edition, which belongs on absolutely every bookshelf. Every author manages to squeeze a lot of development into a short amount of time, whether it’s development of plot, character, or both. There is little if any strictly “adult” content (besides the occasional swear and some sexual implication). And the stories aren’t all your typical superhero or even supervillain with sidekick story. In fact, most of them aren’t. And some stories will even make you wonder who the sidekick really is. It would be hard to pick favorite stories, but the most memorable for me were “Alex and the OCD Oracle,” “The Old West,” “Relic of the Red Planet,” and “A Recipe for Success.” Because the stories are so short, I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, but take my word for it and get this one ASAP. Pure literary gold, and it’s wildly entertaining to boot.

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