Tag Archives: short stories

Review of the Mad Hatters and March Hares Anthology

I won a copy of Mad Hatters and March Hares through Goodreads.

From master anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked eighteen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Featuring stories and poems from Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Catherynne M. Valente, Delia Sherman, Genevieve Valentine, Priya Sharma, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Bowes, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Andy Duncan, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Kressel, Kris Dikeman, Jane Yolen, Kaaron Warren, Ysbeau Wilce, and Katherine Vaz.

I think it took me a decade to listen to all of these stories. Like most anthologies, I liked some of them quite a lot and others not so much. Some seemed to just take the excuse of being about wonderland to dash non-sense on a page and call it ‘artistic.’ The narrators did a lovely job though. I thought the male narrator (Summerer) was the better of the two.

Review of Siberian Shadows, by I.W. Zilke

I won a copy of I. W. Zilke‘s Siberian Shadows through Goodreads.

A collection of 3 short stories inspired by true events in Siberia during the last century.

These stories, directly taken from I. W. Zilke’s immediate family history, present a special world in a gripping and unforgettable manner. With an unflinching insight into the dark depths of the human soul, the author portrays the entire palette of human suffering through an inverted mirror: from cannibalism as an act of courage (in Tabula Rasa) to a rapist with an honourable heart (in Emma), and a stuttering child who overcomes his predicament for the first time in an act of violence (in Feathers). And while all of the stories are set in Siberia, they encompass the full human experience and due to Zilke’s eye for detail, like a surgeon’s knife, they can hit closer to home than expected.

The 3 stories are brought to life by powerful artistic visions. All drawn by hand, the 9 illustrations complete the collection and create a unique literary treasure.

This is a collection of 3 very short stories from the author’s family’s history and it’s an interesting read. In the book’s synopsis, there is a sentence that reads, ” With an unflinching insight into the dark depths of the human soul, the author portrays the entire palette of human suffering through an inverted mirror…” And that’s what the stories actually manage to do in very few pages. They ask you to consider cannibalism as an act of courage and sacrifice. It presents a rapist as being responsible and therefore honorable. It allows a child cursing an adult out as a success and validation. These are obviously perversions of reality, but for 5 or 10 pages Zilkes makes you wonder if maybe, just maybe…

Review of The Magic Laundry, by Jacob M. Appel

I won a copy of The Magic Laundry, by Jacob M. Appel. Here I present it in a seasonal display. Ok, really there just happened to be a pumpkin on the table when I needed something to prop the book against. But I’m going with “seasonal.”

Description from Goodreads:
What would you do if your daughter returned home from college with a stolen baboon? If you owned a public laundry and the washing machines started performing miracles? If you were a flasher and discovered that your intended target had gone blind? Enter the odd, unsettling universe of Jacob M. Appel’s stories….

I’ve said before that I’m not a great fan of short stories and as such, there are very few authors of short stories that I know and trust by name. Jacob Appel is one of them. Which is a bit of a miracle, as I only discovered his writing because I won several of his books through Goodreads. I enjoy that his stories are peopled by diverse and colorful casts, all of whom are flawed but relatable. I like that he doesn’t just write for shock value, taking the darkest and therefore easiest path. In this collection, his characters are put in a variety of uncomfortable circumstances and they deal with them with all, some more successfully than others. The writing is clean and easy to read. The editing is sharp and book well worth picking up.