I have been to plenty of charity gigs before but I think that Hope might be the first time I have read an anthology supporting a good cause. Unfortunately, I am not sure that the concept successfully bridges the gap between the two forms of artistic expression. The result put me in mind of some of the open mic events I have been too: a mixed bag of performers, including one or two who should perhaps have checked their tuning and others you wouldn’t mind seeing again. Most off-putting though was to have an over-enthusiastic compère, punctuating every change over with earnest talks about suicide prevention.
Translating back into the world of books, that means a bunch of short stories (largely around science fiction and fantasy themes), interleaved with short essays on various aspects of suicide, particularly in an Australian context. Most of the stories could broadly be described as containing some aspect of hope (although the first one almost threw me; it felt like inviting the Sex Pistols to play at a gig supporting teenage celibacy). For my tastes though, few were particularly remarkable and I found the constant intrusions became wearing.
Of course suicide prevention is an important cause and if you want to support it and get a book to browse through, I wouldn’t want to put you off. Just taken as an anthology of speculative fiction though, I wouldn’t want to stretch beyond/5 for this one.