- File Size: 4725 KB
- Print Length: 136 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Rock 'n' Roll Dino (August 8, 2016)
- Publication Date: August 8, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01INZYP0Y
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
100 by 100: Stories in 100 Words Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Flash fiction has enjoyed something of a vogue in the last few years; it is uniquely suited to mobile devices and social media, it is something that can be enjoyed from the subway or the bus (or the toilet), and (importantly) it is something quickly and easily produced by freelance writers and starving artists squeezed by their ever-accelerating hustle. So there is nothing particularly unique or surprising about a collection of flash fiction in 2016.
100 by 100 is something beyond a mere collection, however. By conforming rigidly to the numerical demands of his gimmick – exactly 100 stories each told in exactly 100 words – within his usual oeuvre (aliens, vampires, and monsters) Kennedy has come up with something that reads more like a chapbook of irreverent sestinas and villanelles, or perhaps a collection of riddles. These pieces are always calling attention to their structure and that leads a careful reader to some inescapable observations.
For example, in a collection of short pieces dominated by an unyielding conceit, the structure and the subject cannot avoid confronting one another. One of the most common flourishes -- twist endings that sometimes have the effect of a cinematic jump scare -- in repetition take on a twofold purpose. In terms of structure, you get the sense that the characters are being manipulated by an omnipotent force who is trying to wrap things up quickly, and cannot be troubled by pages of dialogue or slow-building tension. This amoral God is just as likely to leave his creations (maybe literally) dangling off a cliff than to grant them any sort of closure. Thus, flash fiction in this sense isn't just “brief” fiction; we might additionally call it self-aware, unstable, and chaotic.
And surreal. In some of my favorite pieces, the effect of these “last sentence inversions” isn't so much a jump-scare as it takes the form of a riddle (“what the hell was that supposed to mean?”) or a reflection on the absurdity of our existence (“does that even mean anything at all?”).
I don't think it would be accurate to say that this can be distilled to anything so tidy as a moral... like timeless koans, many of these pieces, steeped in jokes, parodied cliches, and pop culture allusion, lack a single, simple conclusion but rather call attention to a specific paradox. If a print edition becomes available, I could see myself carrying it past the fiction and poetry altogether and shelving it with the Sudoku and game theory.
None of this is meant to be a slight on the collection, by the way. Flash fiction is designed so that you can consume it during a two-minute bathroom break. The best flash fiction will keep you scratching your head for much longer than it takes you to actually read.
For those who haven't read much flash fiction (extremely short stories, usually no more than a few hundred words) especially the shortest of these (100 word stories, often referred to as drabbles) you'll find that the best short fiction authors can paint a whole picture with just a few words. Like a good songwriter, the best flash fiction authors can say a lot with few words, often by letting the reader fill in the gaps without realizing that's happening, to end up with the complete picture.
A few of Kennedy's stories had me scratching my head, not sure of the point. But most of them were just the opposite, getting a laugh or a knowing nod of the head. Many times he even managed to set me up by going one way and then deftly adding a twist at the end that I never saw coming, making a good story even better. If you're a flash fiction fan or interested in giving it a try this collection is a good choice.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
“30 Days of Santa” had a creepy test and it almost read like “Twas the Night before Christmas.”
“April Showers” was a clever rendition on the fortuitous rain that cleansed the blood of April’s hands.
“Ennui” is about a poltergeist that can’t wait to haunt the living.
These snap shot tales were witty, quirky, and full of irony. They gave just enough for snarky quip, but, of course, the only downfall was that it leaves the reader wanting more. To me, these read almost like haikus rather than stories, which is not a bad thing. I love short stories. They give you just enough without becoming too much, like a snack before dinner. Well, these tales were more like a spoon full, giving readers more of a taste rather than a good bite. Some were pretty good while others were downright puzzling and weird.
All in all, this was an unorthodox approach to the short story. It was interesting, but I guess I’m more of a traditionalist.
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