Appropriately titled, this collection of short stories takes the reader to several corners and centuries of the world, from Vikings to Pirates to contemporary characters in modern settings. Tailored with obvious affection for the written word and with conscientious word choice, the stories capture the reader’s imagination with graphic details of physical battles and the delicate touch of describing inner moral conflicts.
To select a favorite in this collection, I found the last installment, “There are No White Knights” the most appealing. The ritual battle between two knights of the court becomes a morale battle between two men, one who enjoys slaughter for slaughter’s sake and the other who slaughters for righteous purpose.
4 Stars – An author with affection for the written word.
There are stories of a sword that can boil oceans that was created by Ulraek, the flame-maned lion god of the sun. The sword appears to have passed through the hands of mortals from time to time and epic stories form a trail of ownership, but no one is certain of its whereabouts or if the existence is true.
Our narrator is a man from a noble and wealthy house. He is well-educated for his time and place and has been enjoying a leisurely tour of the country for a few years. When he begins to tell us the story, he claims to already have the sword in his possession. Because he understands that the story he about to convey will be misconstrued as apocryphal, he attempts to ensure the reader of his sincerity by giving us an oath:
“To make no attempt to deceive, alter, or corrupt the truth.”
This first person account, told as a long tale of the narrator’s past, depicts how he learned of the secret passages to the other realms where the gods reside. He intends to speak to Ulraek face-to-face and ask for the sword in a most straightforward manner. But as gods are usually fickle and cryptic creatures, our narrator leaves empty-handed. So how does he possess the sword?
Read this tale to find out.
I enjoyed reading this first short story in the collection of the Chronicles of the Sunsword by Brenden Parkins. Lovers of myth and fantasy will enjoy the well-described characters. Our narrator, Jal’Derren, is a man free of any familial obligations, the son of a general and a council member, well-read and well-taught by his father. Jal’Derren suffers from wander-lust, and he enjoys traveling far and wide. His father is the keeper of a large library and a vast amount of internal knowledge, and he wishes his son would return home, marry, and prepare to take possession of the estate and wealth. He would be greatly honored for his son to wield Suthara, the Sunsword. I’m interested to see how the Chronicles progress.
4 Stars – An enjoyable story with world-building and myth-building that enhance the telling of the tale. I found a couple of spots that were confusing about the geographical map I built in my mind as I read, and the father makes a confusing back-pedal on his statements that almost makes me wonder if the old man is senile.
Available on Amazon.com along with the continuation of the Chronicles.
These tales of women cover all the ages of our existence and poignantly, and with some amount of humor, point out our flaws, both those internal to being a woman as well as those forced on us by societal norms. Women have expectations of the world about being married and having children and enjoying a fulfilling life. The world places just as many expectations on us for those same things, and often we are torn between being who we want to be and becoming what others want us to be.
I found the first story in the book quite humorous with the use of irony and the well-drawn personality of the narrator, though I predicted the outcome of the story early on. Knowing the outcome did not inhibit my enjoyment of how the tale ended. Each story carries a unique voice and the characters are well-designed and written. Every word is intentional and meaningful, telling the tale without excessive “flowery” writing, yet still providing solid settings. The stories were told from different points of view, including the tricky 1st person/present tense style, and all stories kept my attention and left me with points to ponder about how girls and women perceive the world.
Rosalind Minett deserves 5 Stars for this collection of short stories.
Available on Amazon.com
With a foreword written by Rik Winston, the host of radio show UFO All Night, Consternation of Monsters is a collection of spine-tingling short stories that will leave you feeling wary of closing your eyes at night. I find myself left considering the possibilities…
Opening with The Hocco Makes the Echo, we are introduced to a brilliant boy who knows a little something about the woods that his father doesn’t know. As parents, we often try to toughen up children so they aren’t afraid of simple, common facts of life and nature. But frequently, children make observations beyond the realm of adult understanding.
I have always been a fan of stories that look at the world through an unusual set of eyes. Wolves Among Stones at Dusk applies this method by playing a scene through the eyes of a Mexican gray wolf. The wolf watches an unfortunate human scene of violence from atop a mesa. The author focuses on the scents that the wolf interprets, noting fear, anger, regret, and other emotions as they emanate as odors from the body.
Limited Edition plays upon the franchise of the Antiques Roadshow, bringing to light that out there, among the wealth of rare human collectibles (and the myriad piles of junk we collect), are hidden objects far older and more intrinsically important to human existence and progress than our shallow brains can fathom.
Some of these stories are interconnected, revisiting the lives of the characters in new situations. Each touched upon a poignant aspect of human nature as well as the supernatural. The reader is taken on adventures through the ancient, the mystical, and the powerful, delving into ideas of creation and destruction that most of us have not considered. All around us, ancient magic stirs and intersects with human life. When we chance to see these old, universal spirits, we have the choice to let them do their work unimpeded or grab hold of the ultimate power, even if that choice is ill-conceived.
Pick up this book and open up your mind.
by Edward Meiman
Flash fiction has been gaining in popularity. This compilation contains 111 stories of less than 1000 words, the ultimate in word economy. The stories are divided into genre categories including Humor, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, and Action and Adventure. The beauty of such a collection is that each story is brief, taking only a few minutes to read. If you don’t like the one you just read, read the next one. You’re bound to find a topic and delivery that appeal to you.
With over 380 pages of stories compiled in this volume of flash fiction, I randomly selected several stories for reading.
The Aftermath of a Typically Lousy Day – The life of a man doomed to be clumsy. A story that makes you feel sorry for the main character and his mishaps.
The Revelation on 5th Avenue – A world hidden from the typical human being. Puppets that control themselves, fairies, gnomes, and other mystical creatures.
Trafficman and the Old-People Ray – A brief superhero episode where the villain foils himself. Good for a giggle.
Remnants of Her Log – The last hours of a spaceship captain captured on a log tape and returned to her family. An eventual reality for our space-traveling descendants.
Is This How Nostradamus Felt? – Having a connection with your future self may hold a stable job in a government facility, if you can stand sharing your mind.
A Monet Missed – A change of perspective can change the world you see. This briefly captures the way a visual outlook can change once an internal outlook changes.
The Concert Pianist – A boy convinces his parents to buy him a piano because he believes he’s a talented musician… until he gets a chance to actually play. The fickleness of so many people depicted in one child.
Mammoth Refuge – Underground cities of humans are threatened by civil war due to overpopulation and a schism between ideals.
This collection of expertly written short stories is a must read for any fan of classic literary fiction.
These stories are written in a classic American style similar to the works of John Updike. No wonder this author has won several awards for his writing.
We look through the eyes of a variety of characters, including teenagers learning about the complexities of adult relationships, a middle-aged wife trying to make sense of her empty nest, and a truck driver trying to make his delivery. Each story speaks with its own voice about the inner workings of the characters, how they see the world around them and their place within it. Unintentional soul searching is often the most profound.
I would not be surprised if this book ends up on the curriculum of a college literary course.
Scouting for the Reaper is available on Amazon in Paperback.
These six short stories reminded me so much of classic science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Rossis has the ability to use the minimum of description and still fill the reader’s head with wonderful imagery.
Each story is fabulous on it’s own, and the collection is aptly named. The power of these stories together makes for a wonderful reading experience. I don’t have one negative thing to say. I’m happy I grabbed a copy of this collection. You will, too.
If I had to pick one favorite in the bunch, I would chose I Come in Peace. One issue humans will always deal with is deciding who and what is safe, and trusting ourselves to be the judge, even if someone else disagrees.
5 Stars to Nicholas C. Rossis.
Find The Power of Six: Six (plus one) Science Fiction Short Stories on Amazon.com