NEWSPAPER STORIES, Jean Goldstrom, www.whortleberrypress.com, 96 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Jean Goldstrom has taken her experiences as a reporter for several different newspapers and added some fantastical embellishments to them and come up with this delightful look at the olden days of newspaper publishing. It’s a look that too few people will get to experience with the decline of the newspaper in today’s world of Twitter and Television.
Her introductory story tells of how the devil can get into the details and headlines change on their own. The second story tells of the newspaper photographer whose dream is to capture the birth of the universe on file and how far he will go to do it. A meteor landing shows how even local news can attract those from out of this world. Next up is a political story that helps explain why some our governmental officials are really as slimy as we often think they are.
A damaged computer opens a portal into another dimension and things turn out to be “Elementary.” A reporter from another world finds out that one can make news and get a story at the same time. The final story is about a newspapers final edition and how its “morgue files” affect those on the last day. A group of OP-ED pieces finalize the book to show that Jean is comfortable with straight forward reporting as well as fiction.
This is a very enjoyable volume that shows how the newspaper business can be and how it affected Jean and her life. This is a well written account of the olden days of the daily newspaper.
THE CIRCLE, Bentley Little, Cemetery Dance, $19.99, 140 pages, ISBN: 97815876736009, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Everyone knows that the world inhabited by the mind of Bentley Little is exactly like the world we live. The only difference is that the folks that inhabit his world follow through with their most evil thoughts and twist their reality to fit.
THE CIRCLE is a nice little community where nothing happens until someone goes to the shrine for a special request, or by wishing, will make it so.
Helen is zapping her oatmeal when a furious knocking begins at her front door. A small boy bursts through the door when opened and locks himself in the bathroom. When he runs out and locks himself in the garage, Helen finds her toilet bowl filled with diamonds, He leaves piles of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones in the garage. That night, he begins to expel stranger things that show Helen that riches come with special costs.
Frank and his friends Chase and Johnny go to the shrine to wish for a girl to find out if the porn they have been reading is realistic or not. After the shrine exacts its price in dead bodies, it allows Frank to get his ‘taste of honey.”
Gil calls in sick from work and is about to get lucky with his wife when he hears the screams that pull him into the havoc that the shrine has caused. It is up to him to maintain a cool head and put an end to the menace at any cost.
This is typical Bentley Little and my only complaint is that it was too short. Scary and gross, bloody and violent, there is plenty here to satisfy.
THE AEGIS OF THE DRAGON, Patrick Welch, www.twilighttimesbooks.com, 132 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
I’ve been reading stories by Patrick Welch for over ten years and he has yet to disappointment me in his fantasy or science fiction titles and this collection is no different.
In the title tale, a dragon is enchanted by a wizard, transformed into a human and sent on a quest in modern day Chicago. He knows he is on a quest and has some clues, but doesn’t know what he’s looking for. “Cryptic Chronicles” is the story of Borkono and the writer who embellishes his tales for publication. “The Ring of the Bell” follows Akii as he purchases a heart bell (each one is unique and will help the bearer to find what he really desires) and must follow a thief across worlds to regain it and find his heart’s desire.
Our old friends Doakes and Haig return in two adventures: “Blood Memory” and “Death in Vein”. In the first tale, Doakes is hired to investigate a murder in Ireland and ends up as the prime suspect. The second adventure has to do with mining accidents and a unique villain that is able to take Haig out of the equation. Two other short shorts complete the volume.
This is another delightful volume of tales from Pat Welch and all of you who enjoy good writing will enjoy them as much as I did.