Stranger Worlds than These by L J Cohen (40:00)

IOD-StrangerWorldsToday we see that less can be more when it comes to the speculative elements.

What I gleaned about the stories: The most unusual of worlds are only one small change away from this one.

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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 on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

Kudo #1: Minimal explanation

Analysis: While there are moments where the narrators explain meanings or state facts, most of each story is presented as the narrator’s perceptions and reactions. This enhanced the illusion that I was experiencing events rather than being lectured about them from a distance. The absence of objective narration added especially to those stories where the plot contained mystery or confusion.

Kudo #2: Varied narrative voices

Analysis: Each narrator was both distinct and consistent, without drifting into pastiche or affectation. Due to this, I both felt no confusion or blurring between stories from reading them back to back, and moved smoothly through each story.

Kudo #3: Restrained fantasy

Analysis: Each of the stories grows from a single change to the “real” world, a what-if allowed to unfold logically. This focus on the consequences of one difference, rather than entire new worlds created from whole cloth, grounded my experience firmly in the familiar – making the issues instantly relevant – and created a firmer contrast for the significant differences.

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.

Dr Ty's Strange Fiction Volume 1, by Ty Walsh Trez (2:47)
Mists of the Miskatonic, by Al Halsey (3:36)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction. He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.