What I gleaned about the stories: Virtue may be found in many places – unlike a moment of peace.
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Note from Jefferson: Saladin Ahmed is by no means a struggling indie author, but when Dave proposed this selection for review, I thought it would make a good comparison. What does an established trad-pub author look like when you strip away their familiar supports and stick them in an indie micro-publishing house? Judging by his survival time, they do just fine, thank you very much.
Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move onto the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.
Analysis: The first story opens with a renowned demon hunter sitting in a cafe hoping that his latest client will go away so the demon hunter can savour his honey pastry in peace. This combination of boredom in the face of the supernatural and an emotional reaction to the pastry immediately made me think of the way that people I know who have dangerous jobs mostly care about little things rather than constantly fixating on the danger.
Analysis: Toward the bottom of the first page, Ahmed describes the client with: his robe seemed to go on forever and so did he. The rest of the narration in the opening pages is free of these overt jokes, giving me a sense of an author using a moment of humour to show a character’s weariness rather than an author in love with his own linguistic legerdemain.
Analysis: While most of the stories are set in a magical Arabian land, the characters and plots are diverse and distinct making the collection something that could be read in a single sitting without a sense of sameness.
Note 3: I devoured the rest of this collection with only the standard breaks. I did notice a single missing space about an hour in; however, as everything had been most enjoyable to that point, I barely blinked.
Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.