Short stories are fun and portable. While Stephen King is great, his 11.22.63 comes in at 866 pages (and that is the Kindle edition), a bit difficult to read in one reading session. Take along an eReader with a few books of short stories loaded. You can fill the down time created by your less than punctual friends with reading. You might even feel a sense of accomplishment by finishing something. Here is a collection of short stories I liked; they appeal to those who want to read on the dark side.
I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program in return for a review. I read it in a PDF format. It is a bit harder to read that way; I would have much preferred the mobi format.
A Natural History of Hell by Jeffrey Ford
This is a book of thirteen short stories. I will make comments on each story. As far as an overall comment, this book will appeal to readers who have a love of language. I believe the author is using language in different ways to express different moods. There is not a singular writer’s voice expressed, but different ones which are content dependent.
The Blameless A Spring Exorcism? What a great start! In the current (2016) political environment, only one day before political primaries in the highly evangelical state of Indiana, this was a serendipitous read.
Word Doll A great premise, a doll that entertains while someone does humdrum routine things, until the doll takes over.
The Angel Seems From this story the reader will get a new appreciation for the phrase “the dog days of summer.” And here are three sentences that came together unexpectedly and made me laugh. “And the days passed. The crops grew. Occasionally a child’s head would burst into flame.” (pg. 39)
Mount Chary Galore A story of an amazing medicine that worked by “helping you to sit back into the comfy chair that, amazingly enough, at that moment, you would just be realizing was your life.” This is a story with lots of blood and guts, so read it carefully, pretty please.
A Natural History of Autumn This is sort of a love story, but only one survives.
Blood Drive 87 Guns for everyone in high school, including the teachers! Of course the title is a play on words (clever).The mayhem described on pg. 96 in a series of accidental shootings makes this story a unique read. And…another great line related to the current political scene: “(Senator) Meets passed the (mandatory) gun laws, mandatory church on Sunday for all citizens, killed abortion, and got us to stand up to the Mexicans . . . He’s definitely gonna be the next president.” This sounds like a political platform that could trump all others.
A Terror I believe this story will inspire many readers to investigate the career of Emily Dickinson.
Rocket Ship to Hell This is a basic government conspiracy story, no twists here. This is one of the lesser exciting stories in the collection.
The Fairy Enterprise The industrial revolution meets the fairy world. Industrial tycoons intend to clone creatures from the fairy world for profit. This is a type of “Don’t Mess with Mother Nature” story.
The Last Triangle A tale of magic triangles that bind and some promises that do not. An entertaining story.
Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart From this story the reader will learn the origin of the planet Mars. This is a very well told tale of magic.
The Thyme Fiend The spirits of the dead come back to resolve some mysteries in the living world. Emmett is a conduit for the spirits. But who, ever, believes Emmett?
The Prelate’s Commission A story about trying to put a face on the devil and how the devil feels about such efforts.