Surprising and unsettling; black holes, worm-holes, and quantum vacuum; masters of the genre – Short Fiction reviewed

April 24th, 2017 § 0 comments

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Three of our short fiction collections have been reviewed recently. Tim Love’s piece on A Short History of Synchronised Breathing, by Vanessa Gebbie, is in his style of ‘notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces’. 

“Captain Quantum’s Universal Entertainment” (subtitled ‘an expanding story, with no boundaries’) never sags, though it’s long. It’s my favourite piece – a tour de force. No surprise that it’s already been printed elsewhere. A reporter (with a recorder – this is the quantum world) visits a fairground, shown around by the “Most Qualified Guide to the Fairground”. “Captain Quantum” is the ring-master. “The Great Maximilian” (a juggler) and “Lucille, The Incredible Shrinking Bearded Lady” are the star turns. It’s their last show, and perhaps the universe’s last too. The piece is replete with scientific allusions that like their quantum counterparts, flicker in and out of existence. In the extracts below I detect black holes, special relativity, space-time curvature, epicycles from a bygone age, black holes, worm-holes, and quantum vacuum.

Read more on Tim Love’s Litrefs.

Buy A Short History of Synchronised Breathing for £12 plus p&p (postage and packing free if you buy two or more books).

The Lost of Syros by Emma Timpany is reviewed on New Zealand site Flaxroots.

… all 16 stories are worth reading as their author shows herself to have mastered the genre.
They are well constructed, the situations and observations perceptive, and the writing is well-judged – not verbose or overdone. Word use is well chosen to reveal scenes and evoke thoughts and memories in the reader.

     The diagnosis is pleurisy. Outside, a gorgeous spring’s dispensing its own medicine, a string of warm blue days. Katie’s told to rest and eat, and do nothing else. I fill her room with bluebells. She says they smell like honey. An elderly maid, her skin as crumpled and brown as a walnut shell, brings Katie gooseberry jam on thin slices of buttered bread cut into little triangles. Food to lure fairies from their lairs, Katie calls it.

Buy The Lost of Syros for £12 plus p&p (postage and packing free if you buy two or more books).

Jeremy Page reviews Only the Visible Can Vanish, by Anna Maconochie, in The Frogmore Papers:

The stories in Anna Maconochie’s debut collection are feisty, well-observed chronicles of what it means to inhabit the 21st century. She has the disconcerting habit of leading the reader up the garden path to all manner of improbable destinations, demonstrating the capacity to surprise and unsettle in equal measure. An impressive debut.

Buy Only the Visible Can Vanish for £12 plus p&p (postage and packing free if you buy two or more books).

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