Concealed Twists

Little Dramas by Glenn McGoldrick is a collection of eight very short stories. They are short enough to be called flash fiction. As I read through each one, I jotted down by one-line takes as I read. There is a twist to each one. The twists are not necessarily grotesque or totally out of the realm of reality but some of them are a bit difficult to detect. I think writing them must have been pleasant for McGoldrick. As a reader, I enjoyed them, and I would give each of them an Amazon star rating. Some were fours, and some were threes; all were interesting. As a collection, they come in at 3.5 stars. I don’t believe the Amazon system allows me to give partial stars.

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Don’t Try To Be Badder Than The Bad

The Wrong House to Burgle was offered to me by the author through a website. It is a short story published in 2017 that serves as a preview of the author’s writing style. If I liked this story, I would probably download some of the author’s longer works.

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Baked Goods to the Rescue

Warped is offering number three from Meantime Stories by Syingen and Pedersen. Why “Meantime?” because you read these stories in the meantime. Meantime of what? That is up to the reader who downloaded the book. This very short story can distract you from routine tasks, so you can read it in the meantime while formulating the national defense budget for small nations. Or whatever.

In the ancient times of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, creation was explained to us with the number 42. For non-lovers of math, this culinary explanation may be more fulfilling. There are two and one-half main characters plus Ada to explain what is going on with this story. Captain Lisa Henderson, commanding, and Second Pilot John Bang must deal with a crisis. We will ignore Passenger Liaison Officer Robert Decker. His character is not developed, and he complains too much anyway. The 3500 passengers are just filling.

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A HUGE Collection of Short Weird Stuff

I feel it worthwhile to quote from the Introduction to this novel, Horror d’Oeuvres: Bite-Sized Tales of Terror so that readers know what they are getting into. I came to this collection via Tobias Wade. He publishes a couple of fantasy/horror/twisted tales per week. I get those free in a weekly email. Tobias Wade is listed as an author of this edited anthology. One of his emails recommended this collection. It has 61 pieces of short fiction plus three bonus stories. My (hopefully relevant quote):

“This anthology was born from a rogues gallery of the best authors from Reddit’s premier horror flash fiction community, /r/ShortScaryStories.” (loc 170-172).

“This charity anthology … All revenue generated from the sales of eBooks, physical books, and audiobooks will be donated to Scares That Care!, an approved 501(c)(3) charity which fights the REAL MONSTERS of childhood illness, burns, and breast cancer by helping families that are experiencing these extraordinary hardships cope with the financial burden. It’s a 100% volunteer charity; meaning all donations are given to those who are in need; no CEO salaries, no overheads. Donations will be made on a quarterly basis for one year following the publication date of this collection. All information on the donations, sales numbers, and all other pertinent information will be available on www.reddit.com/r/Human_Gravy.” (loc 175-180).

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That’s the Spirit!

Breaking Spirits is a very short story by Glenn McGoldrick. If it were any shorter it would fit into a category that would include such things as a 300-word, 15-word, or six-word storyteller prompt and competition. Those activities exist and are great opportunities for would-be writers (me) to foster a daily word count writing practice. This is a download from Instafreebie, a comprehensive platform that supports free downloads from author websites. Since it is so short, I feel it valuable in promoting reading to students who are daunted by the length of foreign language (in this case, English) reading opportunities.

Martin is a bad boy. Martin has done a bad thing. Someone is blaming Martin’s dad for what Martin did. Is it fair that parents should be blamed for the crimes of their kids? Maybe not but in this case, no one knows what Martin did, except Martin. Kenny doesn’t know because Kenny is a victim. Martin will talk with his dad and commiserate. The police suspect Martin’s dad of a crime. Martin’s dad is arrested, charged, found guilty, and imprisoned. Martin continues to commiserate. What has created this feeling by Martin for his dad? Read this very short story to find out. It can be downloaded for free.

Footloose

At fourteen pages Redcar Collector by Glenn McGoldrick might count as flash fiction. Starting out as an almost absurd account of an unlikely situation, this story ends with three sentences that will make a reader go “Huh, what did I just read?” There is another question I had which has little to do with the story as presented. How does the story title relate to anything in the story?

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Milk With a Kick

Miracle Milk is a slang name for a substance that was an antibiotic, a hallucinogenic, and a very popular ingestible on planet Earth. It was so popular that after a while only the rich could afford it. It may have even contributed to Earth’s population growth. Like many plants, it depended on the sun. The sun was gone, so were the plants, and maybe so was Earth.

Dr. Irving was resigned to spending his last days on Eudora. Although there was a way to leave Eudora if all residents worked together, there was no reason to leave a planet when there was no destination that could be determined. The residents of Eudora would die after exhausting all resources.

Dr. Irving went on the last trip to caves heard about from his wife. She had described them well and returned from a trip to his home aged and sick before she died. There had been dark times on Eudora, but everyone had survived them, and the planet had been reborn after a dark time. The rebirth was due to a sacrifice made by Dr. Irving. He didn’t know whether it would work again. He was willing to make one more sacrifice to possibly save his neighbors and his planet.

This story is from a collection called Headshots by Idabel Allen. The setting, the scenes, and the feelings Allen evokes in this very short story are consistently dark and despairing. If the reader wants to feel hope after reading this, the hope must be supplied by the reader. This is a very good but very short story that I gave four Amazon stars.