A MelanieM Review: Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth


Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Spells & Stardust is Scott’s first anthology – eight sci fi and fantasy shorts that run the gamut from regeneration to redemption.

The Bear at the Bar: A gay fish out of water tale with a pinch of magic.

Tight: What happens when your lover disappears in midair?

Morgan: The year when everything changed.

Re-Life: What if you were reborn in a strange new future?

A New Year: They met every eleven years. And each time, Hank’s life changed.

Repetition: What if you wanted to go back in the closet?

Gargoyle: Sometimes you get what you deserve. Sometimes it happens on All Hallows Eve.

Avalon: A few bright moments in the sun, stolen from outside time.

Most of these stories have been previously published in various anthologies and journals. This is the first time they have all been collected in one place,

As an enormous fan of this talented author, I found his first collection of short stories to be more informative, a story of Scott’s journey as a writer which I find fascinating.  Most of these stories are quite old, having been written years, even decades ago.  That’s the case with the first one The Bear at the Bar, his first published story 20 some odd years ago for a Dreamspinner Press Anthology.  From that one we travel forward, progressing by time and by experience gained as an author, although I’m not sure Scott realizes it works out that way.

After each story, the author has a small note where he offers insight into what the story means to him, what he was thinking while he was writing it.  You can feel the fondness, no love, he has for each and every one of these tales and what they represent for him.

I enjoyed reading those immensely.

So how did I feel about the stories?

My favorites include Re-Life and A New Year. Perhaps Avalon.  The others point me to the start of the  journey that the man who wrote the incredible novels like the Liminal Sky series, the Oberon Cycle, and The River City Chronicles had to start out on.  Just looking at the dates on which they were written is informative.  As a reader I don’t see the same things reflected in them that the author does.  However they have my gratitude they launched him on his path.

Cover art is amazing.  Full of possibilities and quite magical.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 169 pages
Published December 5th 2018