Being up front, the Fear the Boot podcast has been part of my lineup of regularly listened to podcasts for a long time. If you’re a fan of tabletop RPGs, it and its massive backlog of 330+ episodes are one of the first I would recommend. Many of the hosts of the show – Dan Repperger, Wayne Cole, Chris Hussey, and more – have demonstrated their creativity time and time again on the show, and it kills me that we don’t have more stuff out from them.
This is why I’m excited to introduce Sojourn, the first book published by Fear the Boot (FTB). Sojourn is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories from 15 different writers, some hosts of FTB, some not. Some are first-time writers, some are old hats to the craft. One of the most fascinating things about Sojourn is it’s a book with so much variety. While a few stories followed along similar themes, such as a boy’s journey to become a man and his conflict with the gods, or the power of the written word, no two stories are in the same class.
It’s this variety that made Sojourn a unique experience for me. I had no idea what the next story would bring until I turned the page. Some touched on themes and stories that I grew rather attached to in the short time I spent with them, while others did not. Ultimately, with a book this varied, it’s bound to happen. Not every story is going to click with everyone, but that also means there’s something here for everyone. For many of the writers, it’s their first publication, and it shows in the little things. Some of these writers are still finding their voices, but all of them put out incredible stories, however long they’ve been writing; there’s no doubting their imaginations.
Looking back at the table of contents, there are so many stories that captured my imagination and took me on a ride that made me think or just have fun. A few of my favorite stories in this anthology include “Temps of the Dead” by Thomas Childress, where, in the future, cheap zombie labor begins to replace menial jobs. Childress’ tale has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor to it, as it combines the undead with office politics. Childress has a quirky, fast-paced writing style that lends the feeling of everyday conversations more than reading a novel. “The Bookrunner” by Matt Forbeck asks the question, “What would our world be like if we could weaponize ideas?” It takes this sort of V for Vendetta theme and applies it to a battle of wits, as a member of the U.S. government tries to crack down on potentially dangerous ideas. It’s an intelligent look at the power of the written word and the potential for knowledge to be restricted. “Unknowing Agents” by Chris Hussey brought me so much delight, as it combines science fiction and tabletop games. I’m a sucker for a good exploration of tabletop gaming, and Hussey’s creative interpretation of what an RPG could lead to was fantastic. “Sick Day” by Wayne Cole gives us a tale where a man obsessed with work finds himself whisked away to meet an alien obsessed with human entertainment. “Sick Day” is a sweet, simple tale about living life to the fullest and being passionate and unabashed about your favorite things.
There’s so much gold here, I could talk a little bit about each story, but, instead, I’ll leave you to check out its contents for yourself. Sojourn can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and a wide variety of other places. For a complete list, click here.
Four and a Half Lucky Destiny Engines out of Five