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The author's work is interesting and quirky. Some of the stories were less stories and more small scenes, less than even a page in length. But all were enjoyable in one way or another. Some of the stories even had comments from the author following them. I think these were great. They helped to give the reader a better insight into what the author was thinking while writing.
I'm going to review this one the same way I reviewed Apocrypha Sequence earlier this month. Just a few words about each story.
This was the first entry in the Unspent Time Omnibus. It was about a page. It was interesting and the ending was a twist.
This one was a full story. I thought the story was really interesting. The way that the main character handled the 'carbon copies' in his life definitely kept me reading. I kinda figured out which copy was which, but seeing how the main character handled it was definitely drew me in.
Why I Drink Liquid Explosives:
Again this is another one that is less than a page, in fact it is only two paragraphs. It is more of a statement on modern airplane security issues than a story. It still however has a bite at the end. This one is more of a 'makes you think' type of thing, and I think it get's it's point across even in small amount of words.
Don't Look Over the Edge of the World:
This is another full length story. I was drawn into this one. I like the way the author at the beginning makes it seem to be something completely different than what it is. There are also quite a few parts that had me laughing. The only issue I have with this one is I wish there was more to it. I would love to find out more about the world that is created, as well as what happens to some of the characters. It doesn't end on a cliffie or anything, I just wish there was more to read.
Goki Feng Ho:
Okay this one was REALLY funny. Of course now I want to go actually try out the 'art' of Goki Feng Ho...
Favorite White Bones:
Again I expected something completely different from the beginning of this one. However it wasn't a bad twist and it was funny at the end.
What I Figured Out So Far:
This one is just a page, and is just a list of observations. However they are funny and worth the read.
Someone Called Me Sebastian:
An interesting take on a young man's outlook and his reactions to a pretty girl. It was interesting and quirky.
This one was funny! I enjoyed it, the only issue with this one is it felt like it could have had a more complete ending. It just stopped. It kinda made sense how it ended, but I think there could have been more.
This one is a bit confusing at first. By the end though it makes sense. It was a very sad story, did not see the ending that it came with coming.
It's Her Birthday, After All!:
OMG! This one is dark but sooo funny! I know people that I could see doing this and having the same excuses. The humor however is dark, not gory or scary, just dark.
What You Should Know About My Toes:
Again this one is also darkly humorous. I got a good chuckle out of it.
Following the Khyserians:
This one was one of those 'makes you think' kinda ones. It was interesting and I liked the main characters point of view. Again this is one of those that makes me want to read more about the world that the author created.
This one seems more like a clever tale you would read in a Hollywood memoir. It was interesting and amusing though, if short.
HAHAHAHA! I loved the twist at the end of this one. I wasn't sure what I expected but this wasn't it.
I wasn't sure about this one at first. It is a series of letters that are arranged out of order so it seems to bounce back at forth. But this was sooo touching and overall my favorite story in the whole book, even though it almost brought me to tears by the end of it. Definitely read this book if only for this story!
So tongue in cheek and sarcastic. Loved it!
Almost as good as Dear Damian. Very touching and makes you wonder what might have been and what might be.
What Makes People Interesting:
Amusing. Cute little tale about an 'interesting' person. I like to see how the author takes the most mundane thing and turn it into a likable story.
This is Not What it Looks Like:
Another one pager that while short, is extremely funny!
Overall this collection was interesting, touching and even laugh out loud funny. I definitely recommend picking it up.
For example, in WHAT MAKES PEOPLE INTERESTING Parke begins his tale about a man (for whom he assigns several monikers) whose life occupation is designing the color of the inside of shoes (I'm not making this up...) by stating `It is not uncommon for writers to have a keenly developed interest in their fellow man. For them to spend hours looking at people, listening to them, discovering all the little synchronicities and ambiguities that make them unique. All of it is precious information to the writer-brain. From the way people carry themselves to their wardrobe of choice to their hobbies and the friends that they keep. But I don't have that. Not in the least. In fact, I can't stand people. And there's so freaking many of them. They're like huge, overblown ants, crawling all over the world and getting in my way.' Now, how is that for starters on telling a story? Well, absolutely hilarious - and brave.
But on to content of this collections. There is a wildly hilarious story FAVORITE WHTE BONES about a pitiful planet with its own transportation and travel security problems that pokes Parke into a tale of an absurdly fat and loony man with multiple bags loaded with explosives insisting he get on a plane, etc etc. A story called DISCONTINUED examines the workplace, but it is the added on bit at the end that again slides Parke into the light as a writer. `This story' he writes, `has a bit of an odd history to it. It wasn't written in the usual way; most of my stories start from small ideas that grow as I write them up. They gather speed as characters and details are added. At a certain point they reach a critical mass and the final word count becomes apparent; it's a short story, it's a novelette, it's a novel. [This story] started as a stack of interconnected ideas that turned into a rather lengthy novel, which I condensed back down by extracting a single storyline The characters were tweaked, the plot altered, a short story remains....this is probably the most roundabout way of creating a short story I've ever used.' And after Parke's sharing of the process, go back and re-read the story and vaVoom! There is magic there. He does the same sort of thing with the terrific title stories and others. Reading Graham Parke is not only entertaining to the max, but it is also a study in self-parody and a term paper on the art of writing that is so strong that it becomes contagious. Patience. Wait for the next set. Graham Parke is bound to come up with a new one momentarily. Meanwhile, latch on to this artist. He'll take you places you never imagined! Grady Harp, April 15
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