Last week, I had my first post-surgery screening MRI. This was to check to make sure my brain is healing properly (and that the tumor isn’t regrowing). I’ll have many more MRIs in my life, but this first one, I think, will have been the hardest.

I didn’t realize that the imaging check-in desk and waiting area at Oregon Health & Science University (for MRIs, ultrasounds, etc.) was right down the hall from where I spent most of my days in the hospital. OHSU is a very big complex—we had to take a tram, for example, to get from where the MRI was done to my neurosurgeon’s office—so it didn’t occur to me I’d be so close. And I didn’t expect the PTSD-like reaction I’d have upon realizing that.

My heart started racing, and I wound up pacing back and forth in the hallway for a good half hour till the staff called me back. Thankfully, the MRI itself was on a totally different floor, and I find the loud repetitive noises in an MRI oddly calming (like focusing on the sound of your own breathing), so I did fine during the test. But that’s not the kind of pulse-pounding experience I enjoy.

Ironically, I also had with me a copy of Fiction River: Pulse Pounders, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, which I had brought along to give to the oncology radiologist I met with a couple of months ago for a consultation. During my appointment, we got off track talking about Marvel and DC comics and his love of sf books, especially the Dune books. When I mentioned that we had published an original Frank Herbert story in one of our early anthology volumes, his eyes lit up. I resolved at that moment to bring him a copy of that book on my next visit. His professional skills helped me tremendously to feel comfortable with the long-term course of treatment we agreed on (not to do radiation at this time), so I wanted to repay him with the fruits of my professional skills.

He was thrilled to read it.

Which reminded me that we have so many gems in the Fiction River collection. Debut stories for authors who would rise to great acclaim over the years, award-winning stories, original prequels to bestselling series’ and stories like the original Frank Herbert. It’s really quite a series.

So, to remind you of this particular release from Fiction River’s second year, here’s the synopsis:

Starts with a bang.

Ends with a bang.

And a lot of bang in between.

Pulse Pounders. Ranging from straight thriller to science fiction, fantasy to pulp adventure, these stories make your heart race. Share the excitement as a woman held hostage in a chair has only a few minutes to escape, and a man trapped in a time loop revisits a crisis point in the past. Including an original never-before-published Frank Herbert story, these page-turners show why Adventures Fantastic says Fiction River “is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”

Table of Contents
“The Chair” by JC Andrijeski
“Change of Mind” by Kevin J. Anderson & Peter J. Wacks
“A Man of His Times” by Patrick O’Sullivan
“Tower One” by Thomas K. Carpenter
“Big and Shady” by David Farland
“Daisy Wong: The Hell of the Unprepared Sinners” by Jamie McNabb
“The Yellow Coat” by Frank Herbert
“Fraternization” by Ron Collins
“Frostburnt” by Brigid Collins
“The Scent of Amber and Vanilla” by Dayle A. Dermatis
“The Mer” by Phaedra Weldon
“Sole Survivor” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Three Strikes” by Chuck Heintzelman

If you haven’t read this one in a while, you might consider giving it a reread. And if you’ve never read it, there’s no time like the present. Click here for more information.

And to read more about the entire Fiction River line.

Now, this kind of pounding pulse I’m more than okay with.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.