Here are reviews for two great short stories that traverse a couple of different realms. Wherever your literary sensibilities lie you should find something to enjoy!
The Pheesching Sector by Tim Greaton
This is a very amusing and clever little Science Fiction short story. It tells the tale of Casper Van Soulier, who, with his despised commanding officer, Captain Blander sets out upon, what he considers to be, an ill-conceived and ill-advised journey to a forbidden region of the universe.
As you would expect from Tim Greaton (Maine’s other Author – his tagline, not mine). It is a well-crafted tale with first class characterisation and flawless descriptions. Great construction and clever use of language make this a very easy read.
Quality Science Fiction is built upon believability and this story is utterly believable. The ideas and concepts are cherry picked from an eclectic variety of Science Fiction sources and this results in a real familiarity and this leaves you free to enjoy the story without necessarily worrying about how, or why, things happen in the way they do.
Unusually for a short story these days The Pheesching Sector feels like a stand-alone entity. It does not feel as if it should be part of something bigger. I am sure the author could, if he so desired, construct some sort of episodic adventure containing these two characters as they are easily strong enough. However, there is no need and it is quite refreshing not to wonder what their next adventure will be.
If you enjoy the rapid gratification afforded by the short story genre, you will not be disappointed and I am happy to award this enjoyable example four stars.
Island Ghosts – A Will Castleton Adventure by David Bain
Will Castleton was back in a place that had memories he’d rather forget. Can he put his past behind him? Or is he destined to repeat the mistakes that continue to haunt him?
In contrast to the last short story, this one falls well and truly within a body of work about the ‘slightly psychic’ U.S. Marshal Will Castleton and, if I am honest, at times it did feel like a chapter in a larger work. This is not actually to its detriment as I now find myself keen to read more about Will’s adventures.
This is a thoughtful and well-drawn account of Will’s struggle with his gift or, as he puts it his curse. It works well on a number of levels. It is a well-paced, against the clock thriller. It is also an interesting exploration of how an ‘ordinary’ man might cope under ‘extraordinary’ circumstances. Great descriptions and clear, concise language combine to make it an extremely accessible read.
The author has a comfortable and easy style that carries you along from beginning to end effortlessly. I highly recommend this enjoyable short that easily merits four stars.