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Prism Paperback – July 3, 2014
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"A timeless, exquisite collection of short stories that's bound to leave you mesmerized and awestruck. The collection is a masterpiece, besides being lifelike in many ways. The selection of stories indicates a true literary master at work." Rattan Whig, Reader's Favorite
"On and on this collection goes, with tales for literally everyone's tastes. Allnach has a voice that speaks so loud readers lose themselves in the stories... A dazzling collection." Amy Lignor, Feathered Quill Reviews
"Allnach has a great talent for creating worlds, building an atmosphere and painting for the reader a believable setting for each story. The whole collection of stories is interesting and intriguing and sometimes even moving." Ioana Marza, Readers' Favorite
"Allnach delivers a wonderful collection of stories in 'Prism'. It brings an air of mystery along with witty and wonderfully delivered tales." Lisa Jones, Readers' Favorite
About the Author
Roland Allnach has numerous published short stories to his credit, one of which was a 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee, as well as two books, Remnant (Sci-fi, 2010) and Oddities & Entities (Supernatural/ paranormal/ horror, 2012). His book awards include the Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards, USA Book News Best Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and National Indie Excellence Awards. Learn more at his website, rolandallnach.com.
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This review won’t discuss every single one of the gems within the pages of Prism, as that would somewhat spoil the joy that readers of this fine collection owe to themselves to experience firsthand. However, I will mention a few of the short stories to give you a tantalizing taste of the banquet of tales that await you.
The first short story in Prism is “After the Empire.” It was originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of The Armchair Aesthete. The tale is told primarily through the thoughts and perspective of a soldier who still seeks stubbornly to defend his city despite its having been overrun by a ruthless enemy. The soldier is sick, hungry, and thirsty, but he is persistent in honoring what he feels is his duty.
The only other character who speaks and attempts to befriend the soldier is a woman who had been a servant in the household of a wealthy man’s family. Everybody except for her has been killed. She is the only one left. When the soldier meets her, he asks her if she has a horse he can use even before he asks for some water to drink. The soldier is stubborn, perhaps due to a sense of loyalty; or, perhaps because he knows no other way of life.
“11,” the second tale in the collection, was originally published in the Fall 2008 issue of Allegory. The story is about a man, Carl, who feels as if he has been tormented by an unseen person ever since he was a young boy. The tormentor seems to delight in destroying any tiny hints of happiness in Carl’s life, killing a pet dog that he had when he was a boy, burning down his parents’ house with them trapped inside, ruining any chances he might have had at love and a real life. What is the significance of the number “11″ and the tattoo of it that Carl, who becomes a janitor, has on his hand? You will have to read the story to find out!
The third short story in Prism, “Icon,” first appeared in the January 2009 issue of Midnight Times. The story tells about a music critic, who is known wherever he goes as just “the critic.” He can make or break the musical acts he sees with just a few lines in his column. In “Icon,” he becomes infatuated with a particular act, a woman who sings punk music, drinks vodka and vomits on the stage. The critic treasures every encounter he has with her, even the most fleeting ones. He bails her out of jail several times yet never turns his back on her, even when he, himself, is criticized for losing his objectivity.
These three wonderful short stories are just the beginning of Prism by Roland Allnach. He writes of tragic love, serial killers, aliens, and many other topics, and includes elements of speculative fiction, myths, science fiction, and horror in the 17 tales in this latest collection. If you are looking for an excellent collection of short stories from one of today’s premier authors, look no further than Prism by Roland Allnach!
The contents include:
“After the Empire”: a soldier visits the ruins of his home town; previously published in the Summer 2008 issue of The Armchair Aesthete.
“11”: A man lives in fear of his stalker; previously published in the Fall 2008 (Vol. 7/34) issue of Allegory.
“Icon”: A critic scouts the artistic fringe and writes obsessively about a self-destructive singer; previously published in the January 2009 issue of Midnight Times.
“Creep”: A young boy is afraid of the dark; previously published in the Spring 2009 issue of The Storyteller; a 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee.
“Return”: A man is recovering from injuries after a car accident: previously published in the Fall 2009 issue of Lullwater Review.
“Flowers for Colleen”: Two amoral predators find each other; previously published in the April 2010 issue of Absent Willow Review.
“Memento”: A Body reclamation driver reflects on his actions; previously a web publication, 2010 issue of Reed Magazine.
“The Great Hunter”: A boy's imagination runs wild; previously in the September 2010 issue of Foliate Oak.
“Apogee”: An astrophysics grad student visits his professor with a great discovery: previously published in the Fall 2010 issue of Rose & Thorn Journal.
“The City of Never”: A futuristic constructor builds environments/cities in a day; previously in the October 2011 issue of Aphelion and recipient of the Aphelion Editors’ ‘Best of 2011’.
“Conquest’s End”: A war of wars culminates in a Lord laying siege to the Ladies bastion: previously in issues 477-481 of Bewildering Stories and recipient, ‘Editor’s Choice’, and ‘Mariner Award’, Bewildering Stories, 2012.
“Turn the Wheel”: A man recalls an event earlier in his life that put him to the test: previously in the ‘Garden Nettles’ issue of Midwest Literary Magazine, 2012.
“Beheld”: "In the Beginning, the Deity pondered." ; previously published in the Summer 2012, Raphael’s Village.
"Titalis": A long tale of the city of Eurimedon and the quest/challenge for the hand of She of the Plains, told in 5 Acts.
"Of Typhon and Aerina": a long epic poem
"Tumbleweed: or An Ode to a Well Endowed Gunslinger”: A humorous poem in rhyming couplets about the wild west.
"Dissociated": "She says what she said before in that story, which is really this story."
With such diversity, the only real drawback to the collection is that every story/poem might not appeal to the reader as much as a collection with a similar theme or with stories written in the same genre. I basically liked most of the selections but had a few I enjoyed a bit less. Many of the stories are dark or tragic. There is some real and implied horror. I would imagine that those who enjoy short story collections will likely notice Allnach's talent and ability while appreciating this divergent collection.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of All Things That Matter Press for review purposes.