Following a review I posted yesterday of a 607-page novel, today I want to comment on a collection of flash fiction stories. Killer Space Clown by Eli Taff Jr. is a collection of ten stories, each one told in 500 words. The Introduction may not be 500 words (it is 441 words) but it is worth reading as it describes the plight of a writer with too many ideas. Rather than pursuing the time- consuming task of developing characters, settings, plots, and subplots completely and risk boring readers with short attention spans, why not get the creative, great core ideas out there with a solid twisted punch to the reader consciousness? Good idea, but not easy to do. For those who think it is easy, try any of the great writing challenges available online free of charge. There are prompts for six-word stories, 100-word pieces, and one of my favorites, Twittering Tales, in which the writer tells a story in 214 characters (spaces included). Here, we look at art expressed in exactly 500 words.
THE BLACK AMULET Some pyramid schemes pay off in unexpected ways.
KILLER SPACE CLOWN Every war has a few clowns.
CURSE OF THE BEAST “While you are out, pick up some tomato sauce.”
LAST OF THE STRAYS There are different meanings for D. E. D. D.
MONSTER IN THE HOUSE When you don’t have time to go to the (Blood) Bank.
CORNERED The bonds of marriage takes many forms.
LONG RIDE HOME Sometimes it pays to listen to your own voice.
BAD MAGIC Be careful of what you wish for.
DOTTIE’S ROADSIDE DINER Sit wherever you like. Make yourself at home. You are.
THE BILLINGSWORTH BOYS Let’s do the Time Warp again.
As you read through the stories, see how many links you can find between (among) them. I find it clever that each one is a stand-alone story but should Taff decide to go back and do all the organizational stuff that will pull these elements into a longer work, he has a base to work from.
Whenever I read short selections and make first impression comments, I end up looking back and choosing favorites. From this selection, I have two favorites, Bad Magic and Dottie’s Roadside Diner. Each short story has multiple surprises and possibilities for further development. All are interesting but the two noted rise above the others. I give the entire selection four plus stars. I received this work from the author and received no compensation for the review.