Rejects From The Idea Factory; A Flash Fiction Anthology, By Ray Daley (1:37)

IOD-RejectsIdeaFactoryToday we see that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

What I gleaned about the stories: It must be a terrible burden being perfect all the time.

Find this book on Kobo.

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: The semi-colon in the title niggled at me, to the extent I might have dismissed the book without opening it had I been seeking purely for entertainment. However, on the basis books don’t always have a representative cover, I decided to give the benefit of the doubt.

Note from Jefferson: I find it odd that the title of the book openly suggests that the contents are unworthy. As in, “These stories are all based on ideas that weren’t good enough.”

WTF #1: Rejected conventions

Analysis: Rather than one of the usual formats of copyright declaration, the author uses

Rejects From The Idea Factory; A Flash Fiction Anthology By Ray Daley

Raymond Daley

Copyright 1/12/2015 by Raymond Daley.

The deviation from the standard immediately made me wonder what other e-book conventions the author had (wittingly or not) ignored. Had the changes enhanced the declaration, I might have been less distrustful; However, the all-numerals date is actively confusing: was the book published in January 2015 or December 2015? It’s far simpler to stick to the standard, which is to simply cite the year.

Having not scored the unusual semi-colon in the title, this second instance of the author’s usage warring with effortless reading experience removed the last of my trust.

WTF #2: Counter-productive hyperbole

Analysis: The first story is about the Earth being a utopia before humans existed, ruled by Lion. The opening explained that all the other animals brought their problems to Lion and he solved them. Toward the bottom of the first page, I encountered: So Lion considered the matter carefully and directed Monkey towards a small empty piece of land that would be ideal. It had many high fruitful trees and a thriving river. It was an ideal place to start a new life, not just for a Monkey, but for any animal. Lion had been most generous in his wisdom! 

As Lion was already set up as a wise and just monarch, the second use of ideal seemed a little over-egging the pudding but it fitted the style so I pushed on. Being told Lion was generous in his wisdom felt like this was PR rather than fiction. But it was the exclamation mark that really pushed me out: with so much praise of Lion already, my mind parsed it as ironic.

Even had the usage not caused the opposite effect from what I suspect the author intended, I felt a touch like I was being drowned with sugar. So I moved on.

WTF #3:

Analysis: Two paragraphs into the second story, I hit “Nav! Find us some freaking ground! I don’t care how or where, as long as it’s solid enough for us to land on.” Captain Jessie screamed at Nav Officer Willows. The use of a full stop rather than a comma after “land on” sent my mind in two (equally WTF-worthy) directions. The grammatical issue built on the impression that the book needed a good edit/proof-read created by previous niggles. But, more comically, part of my mind created an image as if it were intentionally two sentences: Captain Jessie issues the order to find land, then leans toward Willows and screams.

Neither inspiring trust, I pulled the plug.

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.

My Delicate Destruction, by Jillian Ashe (11:25)
Human Again, by Moran Chaim (3:08)

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.