Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.
Today I will be sharing some collections of short stories which are always welcome gifts any time of the year
The first book is by A.C. Flory… The Vintage Egg – a collection of science fiction stories.
About the collection
The book takes its name from the first story in a collection of six, science fiction stories set at the end of the 21st century.
The first story, The Vintage Egg, is about a ruined sand racer, and one man’s dream of restoring it. The last story, The Egg Run, is about that man’s grandson, Tim. Tim has shared his grandfather’s dream since childhood, and now the dream is about to become reality. But what will he do when the one, great challenge of his life is over?
The Gamer and Brehak are two stories about full immersion online gaming, and the need to retain a sense of self.
The To-Do List is about family, and robots. The Christmas Roast is about family, and synthetic life chickens called SL’ick. In a world where traditional forms of meat are hideously expensive, owning your own SL’ick is a privilege. Eating them can be tricky though, especially when one of your children thinks of them as pets.
A recent review for the collection
This is the first book by A.C. Flory I have read and I will definitely be reading more. Originality and uniqueness rate highly on my rating list for a book, and these six science fiction stories certainly meet that criteria. The stories are all well written and easy to read, which makes this book a great choice for most readers.
All of the stories assume a futurist world after an undisclosed event or series of events which turn Earth into a hot and arid desert. The surviving people of the world are forced to live in underground cities. Food sources have changed and meat is scarce and expensive. The population, forced to live this unnatural life, are kept entertained with digital games which are so realistic they are almost life experiences. There is, however, a limit on gaming time to prevent people from starving to death while playing. These are indications of how the unnatural lifestyle is impacting on people.
The Vintage Egg and The Egg Run are interlinked stories, with the former presenting the beginning and the later the ending, of one story idea. Both stories are complete and can be enjoyed as standalone reads. This is the tale of an elderly man’s dream of finding a way of exploring the ruined Earth above ground through the restoration of a vintage machine he acquires. He involves and interests his young grandson in his project and it becomes something they do together. The Egg Run depicts stage 2 of the project through the eyes of the grandson.
The Gamer and Brehak are another pair of stories, each told from a different characters point of view. This story is fascinating as it explores the lack of reality and truth presented in digital worlds and how both of the participants in this ‘life like’ game are totally deceived by the other’s digital avatar and how this lack of truth impacts on their lives.
The To-Do-List is an interesting peak into the differences between older and younger people when it comes to adapting to fast changing technologies. It is an entertaining, but frighteningly realistic, look, at the older generations determination to hold on to the past and they world they knew when they were younger, versus the younger generations easy ability to adapt to change.
The Christmas Roast was truly horrifying for me. The concepts explored in this short story about a world where food is short and improvisations have become the normal, was quite overwhelming for someone like me who has always bought milk in a bottle [does it really come from a cow?] and meat neatly packaged with few reminder that it was one a living, breathing creature.
A great book of short stories and one I have unhesitatingly given a 5-star rating.
A selection of other books by A.C. Flory
The next author is Jane Risdon for her short story collection Undercover: Crime Shorts.
About the book
Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
Jane Risdon treats the reader to her rare talent for spinning well-written, unique, and memorable yarns. Her writing is uncluttered, with each carefully chosen word packing a maximum punch. I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative compilation.
Also by Jane Risdon
I am going to sneak my collection Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words in here …Short stories and poetry…
About Life’s RichTapestry: Woven in Words.
Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.
Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.
This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.
One of the recent reviews for the collection by John Maberry – 31st October 2020 – Reviews of five books we recommend.
My review of Sally Cronin’s Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words, is short. We will add a few lines from the book after the review, for your consideration.
The book lives up to its title–indeed, Sally Cronin has woven a rich tapestry of life in words of many kinds. A variety of poetry–in forms unfamiliar in name to me, microfiction and short stories. What’s more, the graphic imagery of the short poems is inspiring to a person like me who has never really found poetry either appealing or easily understood. This time, for a change, the words grabbed me. I found meaningful passages that could be useful as well in prose writing as in poetry. Examples I must return to in settings or other places where showing and not telling is essential.
The microfiction and short stories were equally compelling. [As noted in the promo for the book coming up next from Eagle Peak Press, we will consider a combination of ingredients as Sally Cronin did—and more in this book]. She is a writer worth reading.
Here a poetry excerpt (not necessarily representative of the content of the whole):
“Memories are sharp
and as clear as the blue sky
smiles etched on my heart.”
Or consider this brief excerpt from the intro to a short story titled, “The Junkyard Dog.”
“Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously.”
A selection of other fiction books
The first featured book this week with my review from 2019 (and I thought I should get it posted whilst we still have some summmer) is by Colleen M. Chesebro, Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration.
About the collection.
Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.
Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.
Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.
A recent review for the collection on Goodreads
This is an amazing read for anyone who loves magic, myths and folklore. It combines knowledge and wisdom with an array of stories and poetry that will take you to another realm. This book is a must have and a great summer read. You will not be able to put it down and you will want to read it over and over again. A great book for all ages.
Also by Colleen M. Chesebro
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some great gifts to share.. thanks Sally.