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Book Reviews

Juarez Square and Other Stories, by D.L. Young

I have to admit that I don’t read many short story collections. But I do read a lot of Albedo One fiction submissions. Once you’ve read more than a hundred short stories over a short span of years, it’s not so much the really neat premise or the trick ending that catches your attention – indeed, those things can often be detriments – it’s the (a) rhythm and pace of a (b) story well told that is (c) exactly as long as it needs to be. At least, that’s what I look for. Therefore, it was a pleasure to read the ten stories that comprise this short science fiction collection, that, although loosely themed, are each one unique and satisfy all of the above criteria.

Stomping Ground, edited by Neil Baker

The second in April Moon Books’ Short Sharp Shocks series can best be described as a mental menagerie of unconventional giant beasts. Gone are traditional Godzilla and Kaiju type monstrosities and instead what you get is more “Night of the Lepus”. Sadly there are no giant killer rabbits on the rampage but the tongue is most firmly planted in cheek for more than a few of the stories contained herein. If the book solely consisted of giant killer giraffes, beavers and mammoth duck billed platypuses then I would a bit disappointed but editor Neil Baker deftly balances the absurd and outrageous creations with beautifully written and engaging stories.

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Very concise summary: Mark Watney is Robinson Crusoe on Mars without pal Friday to keep him company. He has to figure out how to survive until the next Mars mission arrives. There have been a few books recently such as Robopocalypse and Ready Player One, that read like they have been written to be made into movies This book is one of those. I swayed between three and four stars on this one and finally kicked it up to four.