Three Short Stories: A Journey Through Time, by Amy Wolf (2:12)

IOD-ThreeShortStoriesToday we see that the technical aspects of an ebook are as important as the prose.

What I gleaned about the stories: The real advantage of living in the Dark Ages was that the people who bully you will die soon.

Find this book on Amazon.

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.

Note: Rather than using either of the usual methods of listing copyright for collections of republished works (a single page at the start of the book or a short statement at the start with full publishing histories listed after the body of the book), each story in this collection starts with a full individual copyright declaration of (on small text size) two-and-a-half pages. The table of contents lists both the story and the copyright for the story, but both link to the start of the copyright page. While these two choices irked me, I didn’t charge a WTF as I hadn’t started the next story when it happened.

WTF #1: Lack of titles

Analysis: None of the stories have a title at the start. While this might have been merely curious in another book, combined with a copyright declaration immediately beforehand that stretched to several pages, a start point set to the first copyright page, and a contents page that took me to the first copyright page, the lack of a title meant the start of the first story came before I realised, so I glanced off like a skimmed pebble.

With my trust in the formatting damaged, I moved on.

WTF #2: Confusing negation

Analysis: A short way into the second story of a young man constantly belittled by his family and community, I encountered:

But they did perturb me. When Father dies, I’d tell myself, when his 21 stone lie mouldering, I’ll get Mother’s land in London, and be Lord over them all!

Perturbed suggests confidence weakened by doubts, so his belief he would be lord over everyone jarred. A moment later, I decided the author potentially meant didn’t perturb; but by then I had bounced out of the story, so I moved on.

WTF #3: Premature end-point

Analysis: I used the table of contents to move to the third story and flicked through the copyright page for a third time. As I read the first sentence of the story, the ‘before you go, review this book on Amazon’ pop-up appeared.

With immersion not so much lost as cut off, I pulled the plug.

Kudo #1: Interesting metaphors

Analysis: The comparisons displayed a wry appositeness that made them seem both fluid and informationally dense.

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.

Rust: Season One, by Christopher Ruz (40:00)
The SHIVA Syndrome, by Alan Joshua (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.