Newest Short Stories Reviews

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Roses in December by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories

Roses in December is a collection of twenty-two short stories. And when I say short, I mean short, with each just a few pages long and some brushing the flash fiction genre, such is the brevity. I think the shorter the story, the harder it is to write and the more difficult the task of engaging, then satisfying, the reader. So it is to the immense credit of Matthew de Lacey Davidson that I sighed in appreciation many times while reading. He has a good sense of which moments of the human experience to capture in order to make the point he wants to make. Some highlights: Full Review

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Quick and Quirky: Short Stories with Quips! by Fred Onymouse and Ann Onymouse

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories

Quick, and indeed, quirky, are positive attributes, I'm sure you'd agree – apart from perhaps in surgeons. I like things that have a quirk, and I approve of the quicky. I've been dabbling in the world of creative writing for a few years now, and whenever anyone asks what it is I mostly write, I define it with the catch-all safety net of flippant. So this book should be right up my street, being as it is a bijou selection of illustrated and fairly large-print short stories. Full Review

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Strange Weather by Joe Hill

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Horror, Fantasy, General Fiction

Strange Weather is a collection of four short novels all linked by, unsurprisingly, strange and cataclysmic weather. Each novel is distinct and showcases Hill's restrained yet vivid style which takes everyday events and makes them bitingly, acerbically macabre or blindingly beautiful, often switching from one sentence to the next. As Hill himself says the beauty of the world and the horror of the world were twined together, never is this truer than in Strange Weather where moments of abject horror are coupled with raw beauty. Full Review

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An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Humour, Short Stories

Christmas – the time of traditional trauma. You only have to think about the turkey for that – once upon a time it was leaving it sat on the downstairs loo to defrost overnight, and if that failed the hair-dryer shoved inside it treatment was your next best bet. Nowadays it's all having to make sure it's suitably free-range and organic – but not too organic that you can go and visit it, and get too friendly with it to want to eat it. Christmas, though, is of course also a time of great boons. It's cash in hand for a lot of plump people who can hire red suits and beards, it was always a godsend for postmen with all the thank-you letters to aunties you saw twice a decade that your parents made you write out in long-hand as a child, and as for the makers of Meltis Newberry Fruits – well, did they even try and sell them any other time of the year? Full Review

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Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams by Philip K Dick

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Science Fiction, Short Stories

Philip K Dick's stories were originally published in the 50s, but they are more present than past. On the big screen Blade Runner 2049 relaunched the Dick-inspired cult classic to reviews of pure praise; and on slightly smaller screens, Channel 4 has adapted the author's short stories for TV. Startlingly, Dick's current relevance reaches beyond fiction and into the factual: his topics from intrusive advertising and loss of privacy to the increasing machination of society are all headline material in today's news. It is as if half a century after their inception, Dick's electric dreams are becoming reality. Full Review

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Fifteen Minutes by Erinna Mettler

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories

Our world is obsessed with celebrity culture - and in this advent of social media, the updates on celebrity come 24 hours a day, delivered to us on our televisions, our magazines, on our phones and our computers. In focusing on these heightened and airbrushed lives though, are we missing the more interesting and human stories that are out there? That's what Erinna Mettler considers in 15 Minutes - short stories that feature celebrity encounters told through the eyes of ordinary, but no less compelling, characters. Full Review

Taking Wainui by Laura Solomon

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This is the first time I have come across Laura Solomon's work, a New Zealand writer who has won writing prizes for both her fiction and poetry. Although this book appears to be a collection of short stories, I found its format somewhat confusing. Full review...

Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven

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Upon opening this book you are presented with an eclectic collection of twelve short stories centred around a common theme of Winter. You are taken around the world as you read stories set in a variety of places from Helsinki to New York, Germany to Russia. Kenneth Steven cleverly utilises a key component of short stories - that you can read each story in one sitting - to his advantage as he gives each story an individual focal subject, such as bullying, ensuring that you are reading a distinct story every time you open the book. Full review...

Fear by Roald Dahl

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Do you enjoy being scared? Featuring fourteen classic spine-chilling stories chosen by Roald Dahl, these terrible tales of ghostly goings-on will have you shivering with fear as you turn the pages. Full review...

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War by Roald Dahl

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories, Autobiography

In war, are we at our heroic best or our cowardly worst? Featuring the autobiographical stories from Roald Dahl's time as a fighter pilot in the Second World War as well as seven other tales of conflict and strife, Dahl reveals the human side of our most inhumane activity. Full Review

Trickery by Roald Dahl

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How underhand could you be to get what you want? In these ten tales of dark and twisted trickery Roald Dahl reveals that we are at our smartest and most cunning when we set out to deceive others - and, sometimes, even ourselves. Here, among others, you'll read of the married couple and the parting gift which rocks their marriage, the light fingered hitch-hiker and the grateful motorist, and discover why the serious poacher keeps a few sleeping pills in his arsenal. Full review...

Innocence by Roald Dahl

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What makes us innocent and how do we come to lose it? Featuring the autobiographical stories telling of Roald Dahl's boyhood and youth as well as four further tales of innocence betrayed, Dahl touches on the joys and horrors of growing up. Among other stories, you'll read about the wager that destroys a girl's faith in her father, the landlady who has plans for her unsuspecting young guest and the commuter who is horrified to discover that a fellow passenger once bullied him at school. Full review...

Some of Us Glow More Than Others by Tania Hershman

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I won't be alone in stating that reading short story collections can be slightly awkward. Going through from A-Z, witnessing a bounty of ideas and characters in short order can be too much, but do you have the right to pick and choose according to what appeals, and what time you have to fill? The sequence has carefully been considered, surely. Such would appear to be the case here. The last time I read one of this author's collections, with The White Road, the only real difficulty was holding back and rationing them, but here you not only get a whopping forty pieces of writing, they are also spread into sections. Full review...

A Change Is Gonna Come by Various Authors

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A Change Is Gonna Come is an anthology of stories and poems interpreting the theme of change by twelve BAME writers. It's Stripes Publishing's response to the under-representation of BAME authors in the UK. And it's a great response. Full review...

The Madonna of the Pool by Helen Stancey

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In most short story collections, an overarching theme is usually present in each of the narratives which help each story gently flow in to the next. In this debut collection Helen Stancey explores the quiet disappointments, achievements, and complications that each of us experience through everyday life. She draws attention to the small events and decisions that can both disrupt and significantly alter the lives of others and ourselves, all while maintaining a delicately poetic tone throughout. Full review...

Worlds from the Word's End by Joanna Walsh

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We here at The Bookbag liked this author's fairly recent collection of short stories, Vertigo. I myself missed out, but that seemed to be vignettes from one character's narration – here we get homosexual male narrators and a host more, as well as much less of the sadness prevalent before. Having had a brief encounter with this author courtesy of her entry into the Object Lessons series, I was intrigued by her name being stamped on a selection of shorts. Was it the ideal calling card? Let's face it, the very short story itself can be a postcard – let's say, from a specific hotel or two, as we see here. Perhaps I should have geared myself up, however, for such intricate writing on said postcards – and for the exotic locations from which they came… Full review...

Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips

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Picture a world where you, a new mother, move to a town where you slowly start to realise that every other woman seems a replica of you – dressing and doing as you do. Consider a place where you have a perfect other half – most literally – but it's only to be found on an alien planet. Or how about the woman who suddenly finds she can see everything and everyone else alive as having no skin, just organs, tissue and bone as if everyone was having a Gunther von Hagens plastination job? A lot of these stories are hard to summarise without dropping into the voice of the Twilight Zone narration, but they're not specifically genre works – they're just further examples of this author's unsettling look at the bizarre elements of life. Full review...

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

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If anyone thought that the short story as a form had been relegated to the pages of women's magazines (no disrespect) – think again. One genre that has always been a stalwart supporter and encourager of the short form is Sci-fi. So when you pick up a collection of Sci-fi shorts, you know that it will have just as much depth and thought-provoking philosophy as any similar novel. Add to that the intrigue of seeing how the concepts are approached by someone from China which – to be polite – has a somewhat different world-view in many ways to much of the rest of the planet…and add to that an author who is not only a best-seller in his home country but has the distinction of having produced the first translated work of SF ever to win the Hugo Award…this has got to be good! Full review...

I Am The Brother Of XX by Fleur Jaeggy and Gini Alhadeff (translator)

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I Am The Brother of XX is a collection of twenty one short stories from Fleur Jaeggy, who expertly wields malevolence and spite throughout, from the evil done between husband and wife in The Aviary, a nasty tale of Oedipal menace and vicious, although admittedly, artful cruelty, to senseless annihilation and immolation in The Heir. Jaeggy also appears to have a particular fascination with religion, from the nun receiving a rather special sort of communion in The Visitor to general references to the Church and religious devotion throughout many of her stories. Family is also a recurrent theme; whether focused on the distance between siblings in the titular story, told from the point of view of a brother filled with longing and loneliness trying to create a bond with his distant older sister, or the primal need to protect the bond between mother and son, regardless of the cost in Adelaide. Full review...