Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fifty Egg Timer Stories by Richard Bunning

Title: Fifty Egg Timer (Short) Stories
Author: Richard Bunning
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Amazon (Paperback) and Smashwords.

Author's description:

This is a collection of 50 mixed genre flash fiction stories. These are all of between 600 and 1000 words, short enough to be considered as flash fiction. They vary in genre from Romance to Science Fiction, and from the banal to serious in their scope. The idea of the title is that it should suggest that each story can be read in the time it takes for an egg to boil, or for the bus to arrive, or even to get through the adverts on the telly. There is no expectation that all the stories will be everyone's cup of tea, or everyone's the right sort of egg. However, the author really hopes that everyone will connect with at least some of the spectrum.

My official review:

The book is a mix of short and very short stories written on different themes and placed in different genres:  romantic suspense, historical fiction, journalistic nonfiction, creative nonfiction, fact-based magical realism, speculative fiction, fact-based fiction, paranormal fiction, real life fiction, science fiction, suspense fiction, supernatural, mystical realism, philosophical thought, romance, psychological fiction, dramatic outline (of a TV drama), thriller and social fiction.

Stories I enjoyed:

Introducing Egg Timer Flash Fiction” – introduction – explains the title of the book: a story takes about 3 minutes to read, just as long as it takes for a hen egg to boil. In a similar manner, the author compares novellas or novels to other types of eggs (ostrich egg or elephant bird egg). Written with a lot of humor, this introductory short story offers a new, funny classification of books.

Disassociated Consciousness and Hope” – speculative fiction – what would it be like if your brain were still alive after your body died? Here you can read the thoughts that go through a brain floating in a jar of liquid.

Died of Protected Pride” – real life fiction – a story with a well-delineated main character (for a short story), Alice, a victim of her own racism.

Hostages, Combinations for Survival” – suspense fiction – a story about the thoughts that go through the character’s mind while he is being kept hostage in a bank; survival instinct and morality fight in this suspense story.

Beach Parasol and Abandoned PersonaandUmbrella from Oblia” - real life fiction – In these two stories Richard Bunning touches again the theme of racism, using the same character, an African man, in both: as a main character in the first, and secondary in the latter. Even if the stories have different subjects, and can be read separately, I think they complete each other. The characters are believable and, again, very well delineated. The stories take place in Italy, where, sometimes, when things look pretty on the outside, they may not really be so.

Pray for Mabinty’s Dream” - real life fiction – a message in a bottle, a letter written by a young African girl, Rebecca, on her way to leave her native village, to embark on journey bigger than life, hoping that she would get to England. Written in a less than perfect English, with elements of native speech – the way the author imagined the girl to write – this realistic story is my favorite.

Kassa on My Mind” – romance - the main character is a teenager, in love with a classmate, Kassa, going through the torture of his first love, trying to overcome his shyness and to prove to Kassa that he is not like all the other boys.

What Dino Saw on Lombard Street” – social fiction – the history of a pawnshop, with very detailed descriptions of the things contained within.

Rose, La Môme, Mon Mome & Mon Repos” – paranormal – Strange forces come from behind the grave, even in short stories; a father who has lost his son has proof of that, when the dead son saves his life.

Pink’s Reflection” – psychological fiction – quite a scary story, written in first person, from the point of view of a mentally deranged individual who has been locked up for killing his own mother. Dark humor reigns.

My Twist:

Favorite story: “Pray for Mabinty’s Dream”. In a note at the end of the story the author mentions that he has not had first-hand knowledge on the subject. Well, dear Richard Bunning, I have. I have met and heard the stories of people travelling from the south of Africa, on foot, thousands and thousands of kilometers, for years on end, with nothing more than the clothes on their back, to get to the promised land: Europe. Your story is “very real”.

Favorite quote: “There is even a sort of ‘Wi-Fi’ I’ve invented, Why Fly, so that I have creatures to chat to. I pull off flies’ wings, so that they can’t abandon me.” (“Pink’s Reflection”) Dark humor is my cup of tea; need I say more?

Least favorite story: Generic Hospital TV Drama”: no matter how short the story was, I couldn’t finish it. If I were a soap-opera kind of ‘gal, I might have liked it.

Least favorite quote: “roasted cat organs are great in sandwiches”: eww, just eww! ("The Fixer - Dinah Paltrow's Job Story")

Aspirin of the book:

Word to writers everywhere: no matter what kind of author you are, what types of books you write, the amount of research that goes into your creation, or how long it takes you to finish a novel, in the end, you have written nothing more than an egg.

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