Short Story Saturday: “Eden”

23303950Title: “Eden: A Short Story About The Zombie Apocalypse”

Author: Michael Robertson

Genre: Short Story, Sci Fi, Zombie, Apocalyptic

Number of pages: 29 pages

Time it took me to read:  1 Day

Synopsis: Welcome to Eden—the underground, self-sufficient complex that has withstood the zombie apocalypse for over thirty years and is home to the remnants of humanity.

Standing in the control room and about to take over his father’s position of running it, Mark quickly realizes there is more happening than a simple handover; he’s about to find out that Eden has secrets…dark secrets.

Secrets that change the way he looks at his father forever.
Secrets that change the way he looks at everything forever.
Secrets that will reveal the truth about the apocalypse…
Eden is a post apocalyptic tale about surviving the zombie apocalypse.

My Review

We are introduced to Mark who is shadowing his father on his last day as guardian of the compound that they have lived in for the past 30 years. The compound keeps them safe from the zombie apocalypse that is just outside their doors. As Mark’s dad walks him through the daily routine for the last time we learn a secret about the events that took place and lead to their apocalypse.

This short was surprisingly satisfying. It is a brief glimpse into the lives of these two men as a father shares his secret and a son learns the terrifying truth. The writing captured my attention from the very beginning and when I got to the end I definitely wanted more. Mr. Robertson gives us just enough emotion with his characters to draw us in. From the annoyed son who checks himself as his father runs through the emotion handing off of the torch to his son.

At first, I was irritated by yet another male author using the female body to create a disease and blaming the end of the world on. Too many male authors tend to use the female body to conduct experiments on and use the good ole troupe of a woman giving “birth” to a new breed of human. However, the way this story ends that clearly wasn’t the author’s intention in this short story and I was pleased by the revealing secret at the end, even if it was predictable.

This story earned 3.5 stars from me because the ending was too abrupt and some of the writing was predictable. However, I still recommend giving it a try considering its a short read, a good introduction to the author’s writing, the Kindle version is free on Amazon, and a second short story is included with the Kindle version.

I for one will be reading more from this author and suggestion you give Michael Robertsons’ writing a chance. Here is the link to purchase –> Eden <–

My rating:

3.5

Find out more about the short story and Michael Robertson

Follow Michael Robertson on Twitter and Facebook

Short Story Saturday: “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street”

51oXob+cRmLTitle: “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street”

Author: Kevin Hearne

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, Fiction

Number of pages: 34 pages

Time it took me to read:  1 Day

Synopsis:

The ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan gets more than greasy corn dogs and flat soda when he visits a carnival in Kansas to which his apprentice, Granuaile, drags him. He runs across a barker with a strange power over the crowd: attractive women leave their men and disappear into an unmarked tent, never to be seen again, and the men wander away, forgetting that they ever had girlfriends or wives. When Granuaile falls under the barker’s influence and enters the tent, Atticus isn’t about to forget it and move on. He and his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, pursue her and discover the horrifying secret to the carnival’s success.

Short Story Review:

I am going to start with two short tidbits of information:

First, while this short story is sold separately it is part of a larger anthology, CarniePunk, that comes highly recommended. I will be linking reviews to the anthology with the VisualEditor_-_Icon_-_Tag-big.svg tag #CarniePunk. Keep an eye out for future reviews.

Second, I was struggling to get the last of my summer school students through their needed credits so I used this short story in the place of a longer novel. So this is a twofer review. I am going to put in my own review and then report how my high schoolers responded to the book.

My Review

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Group dinner  Kevin & Tacos!!

I have been reading Kevin Hearne’s since 2012. His first series is called The Iron Druid Chronicles and this short story is part of that series.  I have attempted to write reviews for this series but I love them so much that I am not sure how I would handle my audience rejection of them. I think I have evolved as a reader and blogger at this point in my life and I am ready to share.

 

Let’s start with the main character, Atticus O’Sullivan, who is the last living druid.  Atticus along with his apprentice Granuaile MacTiernan and his loyal Irish Wolfhound, Oberon, are visiting Granuaile’s hometown to check in on her mother who thinks she is dead. They come across some pretty shady things happening at the freaks tent and proceed to try and defeat some demons, imps, and ghouls and hopefully save some human life at the same time.

I may be a little biased here because I love everything Kevin writes. This short was no exception. The characters come to life and his storytelling captivates his readers from the get-go. I am not including a review of the audio recording because I am a devoted Luke Daniel’s fan and in my view, no one can be the voice of Atticus or Oberon but Luke Daniels. Since this short was part of an anthology of various authors I assume this is why they went with a different voice actor. Thus, my review would not be a fair one. I do have to say that my students did like his reading though.

Students Review

My students loved this read! I did have to do a bit of explaining about druids, magic, and some already established norms of series. One area they got a little hung up on was the idea of elementals as begins of the earth, but that didn’t last long with the humor of Kevin’s writing and their love of Oberon.  There were laughs and lots of after class discussion as we stopped ready in the middle because class had ended.

hghghHere are some drawings and words from the kids:

“I liked the part where he says dogs make everything better…”  – Angela M.

“The demons are really clever when they try to disguise themselves in human skin”  – Esteban P.

“I like the fight scene and how the author writes because there is a lot of action and keeps me really interested. I normally jmkjhdon’t like to read. ” – Cesar Y

 

“I like how Granuaile stands up for herself and can kick butt. She is a strong woman who can kick butt. ”  -Celeste L

varv“Oberon is my favorite character! His love of sausage, poodles, & hunting made me laugh so much.”   – Daniel V

“I love the words ‘clueless crunchy guy’ to describe Atticus. What does that even mean?”  – Chris A

 

Overall, “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” was a success and I would definitely teach it again. The engagement level of my students proves its worth in the classroom. Thanks, Kevin!

 

My rating:

5

Find out more about the book and Kevin Hearne

Kevin is Hilarious on social media so I highly recommend you follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Like my review and want to begin reading some of Kevin Hearne’s work? I suggest you start with one of these below:

 

Iron#1

Book 1 – IDC

 

giant

Book 1 – new series

 

 

 

KTFB-cover-art-final

Coming Soon

Short Story Saturday: Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century

maxresdefault.jpgTitle: Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century  (Links to short story collection and the music)

Author: Joy Harjo

Genre: Short Story, Music, Poetry

Number of pages: 2 pages

Time it took me to read:  1 Day

Short Story Review:

When I first looked up this short story I was looking for diverse short stories from cultures that I was unfamiliar with. I found this short in a collection of Native American literature and was quite confused when all I could find in my research was the music video on Youtube. Joy Harjo is an author and accomplished musician. So I was pleased that I could also hear this short story with music.

This short is told through the narrator’s encounter with a taxi driver from Nigeria in New York. The taxi driver tells the story of his friend who is killed in a senseless murder one day and touches on the themes of loss, compassion, and forgiveness. What touched me the most with this read was how Harjo was able to connect each person’s longing for the home they left behind. I was brought to tears with the fact that one of them would never see their beloved homeland again. This is quite a feat considering the read is one 2 pages.

Overall, this was a touching piece brought to life by the music of the author and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a short piece that touches the heart.

My rating:

4

Find out more about the short story and Joy Harjo here

Follow Joy Harjo on Facebook and YouTube

Author Bio (from Reckonings):

Joy Harjo (Muscogee)
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Joy Harjo is a well-known poet, musician, writer, and performer. She earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. She has published several books, including She Had Some Horses, In Mad Love and War, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, A Map to the Next World, and How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems, from W. W. Norton. Her first children’s book, The Good Luck Cat, was published by Harcourt. She has also coedited an anthology of Native women’s writing, Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Native Women’s Writing of North America, and a book of poetic prose with photographs by Stephen Strom, Secrets from the Center of the World. She has received several awards for her writing, including the 2002 Beyond Margins Award from PEN, 2001 American Indian Festival of Words Author Award from the Tulsa City County Library, the 2000 Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers Award, 1997 New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. She is a member of the National Council on the Arts.

In addition to her writing, Harjo performs nationally and internationally as a tenor
saxophonist, both solo and with a band, Poetic Justice, for which she writes music. Her
first CD, Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century, was released by Silverwave Records in 1997. In 1998, the CD was honored by the First Americans in the Arts with the award for Outstanding Musical Achievement. In addition, she was awarded the 2003 –2004 Writer of the Year (Poetry) and the 2003–2004 Storyteller of the Year award by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. That same year, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. In 2005, she was presented the Writer of the Year Award (Film Script) by Native Writers’ Circle of the
Americas. Currently, she is teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles. When
she is not teaching and traveling, she lives in Honolulu.

Reckonings Synopsis

The fifteen Native women writers in Reckonings document transgenerational trauma, yet they also celebrate survival. Their stories are vital testaments of our times. Unlike most anthologies that present a single story from many writers, this volume offers a sampling of two to three stories by a select number of both famous and lesser known Native women writers in what is now the United States. Here you will find much-loved stories, many made easily accessible for the first time, and vibrant new stories by well-known contemporary Native American writers as well as fresh emergent voices. These stories share an understanding of Native women’s lives in their various modes of loss and struggle, resistance and acceptance, and rage and compassion, ultimately highlighting the individual and collective will to endure against all odds.