Fantastic Schools: Volume Two Reviewed by Upstream Reviews


Cover image for the anthology “Fantastic Schools, vol 2”

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Back in 2020, my fantasy short story Sorcery’s Preschool was published (kindle version) in Fantastic Schools Volume Two edited by L. Jagi Lamplighter. A few months later, the paperback edition came out.

In brief, my short story involved probably the only magical pre-school in fiction (I can’t confirm that, but it does seem unlikely anyone else came up with the idea).

Two years is a lot of metaphorical water under the bridge and I’ve moved on to newer tales.

This evening (as I write this), Jagi emailed the Vol 2 authors letting us know that the book had been reviewed by Upstream Reviews. On their main substack page, they advertise themselves as “Reviewing only the best in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, & Thrillers.”

It’s quite a complement that we were reviewed. The page also says they were launched 8 months ago, meaning they’re quite new.

You can click this link to read the full review (I recommend it) but here’s what they said about my contribution:

The tale by James Pyles takes place in a magical pre-school. What happens when the protagonist, a powerful magician, finds her granddaughter being held by a villainous old enemy disguised as a teacher? Someone is going to pay, and it will not be the little girl!

Every time I’m mentioned for one of my stories in an anthology (which isn’t as often as I’d like, sadly), I’m particularly thrilled.

There is a mystery however (I’ve emailed Jagi about it). I’ve always linked to the original 2020 version of the book. But when I clicked the link offered by Upstream, it directed me to a 2022 version. I didn’t even know it existed.

There are specific differences such as the original currently having 107 Amazon reviews while the latter only has one rating. I always thought these things simply were transferred over from one instance to the next, but apparently not. Even the ISBN-13 numbers are different.

Oh well.

But thankfully it was reviewed and if the reviewer has much of an audience, I hope they will be inspired to buy copies of Vol 2, read, enjoy, and write more Amazon reviews.

Whenever Jagi gets back to me with more info, I’ll write an addendum here.

Addendum – February 4, 2023: The explanation is:

Because we switched from publishing directly on Amazon to PubShare.

It used to be that Amazon would collapse the two together. We tried to get them to do this, but they refused.


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