When editor Kris Goldsmith saw a red scarf abandoned in the road one day, she wondered what its story was. And, like any good editor at an independent press, she put that question to several of her authors. This collection of short stories is the result.
It's a rather hit-and-miss collection, I think, but mostly hit. The first story, "Like Smoke" by L.G. Fitzgerald is the big miss, taking the most obvious path to the misplaced scarf. Interesting enough, but with an utterly predictable outcome. "Sober Lake" by Shauna O'Connor provides a darkly funny and startlingly different perspective on the making amends part of a twelve-step program. In "A Fear of Flying" by J. Allen Scott, a young man faces a difficult choice as the plane carrying him and his partner is about to crash. I liked this one a lot, possibly because I kept thinking "'Nathan Burgoine could have written this!" "Trying Too Hard" by Rebecca Gale has the worst title but the most intriguing concept -- when does one draw the line in acquiring knowledge? And finally in "Superhero" by Justin McLachlan, we meet a bartender who knows exactly when he will die, and therefore becomes a fearless crime fighter.
I enjoyed the afternoon spent reading this collection enough to re-read the stories I liked best several times over the next few days. Nice job, Boxfire Press. And thank you, Goodreads First Reads program, for the opportunity to read this book.
This review is based on a free copy of this book supplied to me by the Publisher - Boxfire Press
This is a quirky collection of five stories that each have a science fiction nugget of some sort embedded within them.
The first story is about Jimmy who works at The Blue Shamrock Pub and his unhappy marriage to Emily. Jimmy struggles to find reasons not to go home this one night and when he finally does reach home he _______ (you have to read the book)
The second story is about a young girl (we never know her name) who loses her younger brother at a cabin at the lake they went to with their abusive father. We move ahead in time where the young girl is a woman and she has brought her father to the cabin at the lake to ________________ (you have to read the book)
In the third story we have a character (again not named but male in this story) who absolutely hates to fly on a plane in trouble. Having taken an earlier flight it appears that that was a huge mistake as the plane is battered in a storm. The plane does go down but our story teller survives because he _______________ (you have to read the book)
In the fourth story we run into Cal who is working within a new paradigm in philosophy called "Knowlegis" which is treating answers as physical matters. What starts out as a deep interest on Cal's part soon becomes an obsession much to the detriment of his health and his relationship with his girlfriend who narrates the story. In the end Cal _______________ (you have to read the book)
The fifth story is about Andy who is very comfortable with his life because he knows when he is going to die.Read more ›
I love the concept of this collection - that a wide variety of authors use one small detail and build their own story around it. In addition to the stories being well written and extremely different and creative, waiting to see how the red scarf would figure into each one was a fun twist. And, as someone who is relatively new to science fiction, I found it to be extremely accessible - I would definitely recommend this to someone, even if they do not generally read this genre. I would love to read more books by these authors and also more collections of this nature!
I quite liked this. You all know my penchant for short fiction, so I'll mention that this is another anthology of short fiction that I'm reviewing here.
The idea behind this collection is in the description on the rear cover: "Driving home one night, Red editor Kris Goldsmith spotted a bright, red scarf lying alone by the side of the road. She lives beyond the middle of nowhere in rural Pennsylvania and wondered just how that scarf got there. She also wondered what reasons some of the writers she'd been working with at Boxfire Press could dream up, so she handed out a challenge: write a short story that tells us where an out of place red scarf came from and why it's somewhere it probably shouldn't be."
The five stories vary, and four of them step into spec-fic (and, I was stoked to find, one included a gay narrator). They all have that one thing in common: the red scarf, but from there the imaginations of the authors took different routes, and the journey was enjoyable. In a way, it reminded me of a smaller-scale Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die, another collection of short fiction (albeit a much larger one) with a single shared theme: every story includes the machine that accurately predicts death with a blood test.
Red's five stories include superheroes, Twilight Zone-esque disappearances, deeply disturbing revenge, literally poisonous knowledge, and a crashing plane that ends differently than you'd ever have considered. I liked all the stories (though the last one, by J. Allen Scott, was my favourite).