short stories

I have been reading short stories this weekend all downloaded for free. There is a great opportunity for short story writers who publish for Kindle not only to showcase their ability with this form of writing but also to allow new readers to discover their work and sample it without having to commit to a full scale novel.

Sunburnt MD Keating

Murphy is an unemployed writer who gets drawn into an underworld of crime, drugs, arms, greed and corruption when his estranged, childhood best friend turned successful banker disappears with billions of dollars that don't belong to him.
There is nothing particularly original about the plot of Sunburnt although it hangs together with its own idiosyncratic twists and turns well enough. What makes it interesting is the writing style.

Time & Again by Nick Gilbert

I read Time & Again earlier in the month but have posted my review again to give a context to to-day's interview with Nick Gilbert.

I downloaded the book as a freebie and was really impressed by the quality of the writing. The novel is an original take on a simple love story which is also a story about memory and imagination.

Interview with Nick Gilbert author of Time & Again

Why did you write Time & Again?

There were two main motivations, neither at all original! The first was a belief that I could produce work that could stand comparison with successful contemporary fiction. About five years ago I read a number of critically acclaimed, prize-winning novels, and felt disappointed – in different ways -- by each in turn. I felt there was a significant flaw or something lacking in each: the quality of the writing, or the credibility of the storyline, or the intrinsic interest of the setting. I got to the end of each and thought that I could write just as successfully myself – or immodestly, even more successfully, since I had these observed flaws in mind already.

The Codex file by Miles Etherton

I got this e-book as a free download and found it an entertaining read. It is a thriller set in almost the present day. It's a world where there are recognisable features but the government of the day has gone way beyond its democratic mandate. Imagine if our government said no more Internet - from now on, it's just the state controlled UKCitizensNet. Branding the Internet as an illegal, unregulated zone its state-sponsored substitute controls every aspect of your life; from digital content, provision of your gas, water and electricity and all your money. With everything and everybody connected we're all potential targets if we oppose it.

Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne

Deadly Obsession ia a suspense romance novel based on the eternal triangle, here one man and two women. Oscar-winning movie star Nic Lamoureux meets department-store photographer Lauren James and sparks fly; their attraction is instant and the chemistry burns. Unfortunately the third side of the triangle is Nic's stalker who is determined to have Nic all for herself and is not planning on any competition.

The plot is lively and engaging and you are transported to Nic's glamorous Hollywood world.

Nihilist 5.0 by G.P.Grewal

According to the dictionary a nihilist is a person who believes human existence has no objective meaning, purpose or intrinsic value and this certainly applies to the protagonist of Nihilist 5.0 - Frank. He is a miserable 34-year-old slave to his tedious day-job in Los Angeles and I presume that the 5.0 in the title refers to working five days a week. Frank's evenings and weekends are usually spent alone in his apartment except when he enters a make-believe world of heroic fantasy to which he escapes with his geeky friends while playing "Dungeons and Dragons". What he yearns for is romance and a chance encounter in the real world encourages Frank to think that he might have met someone. Is there hope for Frank? Well you will have to read the novel for yourself to find that out.

I have really mixed feelings about this book and at times had to push myself to read it. Yet, 48 hours after reaching the last page I was still thinking about it. The writing is bleak, depressed, at times depressing yet giving a powerful insight into Frank's lonely and unhappy existence. It is definitely not a "feel-good" book and at times you get too close to some of Frank's more unappealing habits. I am still not sure about the ending. It was rather left to the reader to decide and I don't think it was a very happy one.

My problem with getting into the book was the "Dungeons and Dragons" stuff but I guess that any reader who enjoys that sort of thing will be ok with this aspect. As far as the "Dungeons and Dragons" writing is concerned it gets really interesting stylistically. The accounts of the fantasies are dull and pedestrian in the early part of the book but by the end they are interesting and almost poetic. As Frank's life gets worse and worse, the fantasy gets better and better. I don't know anything about "Dungeons and Dragons" and can't get my head round a group of adults meeting together to play like this but in Nihilist 5.0 it provides a vivid counterpoint to the awfulness of Frank's daily life.

Overall Nihilist 5.0 is a well written and well presented e-book which I downloaded for free and despite my early difficulties getting into it, I am pleased that I persevered and read it through to the end.