Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Answering Review Request: "My Shorts"

Arthur Doweyko asked me to read his short story collection, "My Shorts". Yes, the double meaning is intentional. Being unrelated, I can't use me usual method so I will instead list my impressions.

The trick with a short story is to introduce a setting, a cast of characters and a conflict and reach a resolution of some kind in a minimal amount of space. In opinion, it is variable whether or not Mr.Doweyko succeeds here.

"Harry and Harry" is definitely a success here. It is set up and resolved quickly and effectively. There is no pretentious twist at the end. Emotions are conveyed with the laconic intensity of a poem; Harry's depression, enthusiasm, relief etc. jump off the page. There is nothing to add here. It is like lean muscle.

"Andrew the Last" possesses none of "Harry and Harry's virtues. There are gaps in the setting that lead to a long line of headscratchers, (listing them all would be spoilers but the author may contact me directly if he wishes to see it) which render me unable to take the character's emotional conflict seriously. There is a perplexing twist at the end with no explanation or resolution. "Perplexing" is a word a character uses; when asked about the confusing state of affairs, he replies, "It is perplexing, sir."

"Mars I" is another one that I like. Its premise and starting point enable it to be either a mind-horror tragedy or a black comedy and a funny one at that. Its events might not have happened at all, and its reality could be something completely different.

"The Probability Machine" has a bunch of glaring holes in its internal logic. I think of it as similar to the Twilight Zone. "P'sall Senji" likewise.

"Linda" is not even a short story. It is an excerpt from a larger work. Given its content, I wonder what it is doing in this collection because it is realistic fiction (possibly even historical, but it is outside my area of familiarity so I can't be certain) among science fiction.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "My Short" a C

This has been a free review request. The author requested an honor review so I provided one.

Click here for the previous book review (a request): Gama Ray Games

Click here for the previous book review (for fun): Spice and Wolf Volume 6

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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