Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A collection of tales filled with monsters, be they human or beast, ranging in setting from dystopia to pitch black noir and even general silliness. From the ludicrous to the frighteningly plausible; from deep space to after the end of the world. There are clumsy werewolves and bloody revenge, monster sleep overs and a dieting fad sure to kill your appetite.
Whether looking into the past or the future, you’re sure to find that stuff gets really weird.
Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories by Andrea Speed is a collection of flash fiction in various genres from fantasy to horror to science fiction. Some are even grouped together further into subcategories like end of the world and dystopian societies.
Some of them have been previously published for the Goodreads M/M Don’t Read in the Closet Events and I honestly felt those came across as the most complete, well rounded stories of the bunch, Soul Mates especially.
The rest of them felt less like actually flash fiction (complete stories of 300 words or so) than outlines or just written down sketches of possible stories the author has in mind for the future.
Quite a few show promise that I would love to see made into stories, whether its vampire hunters or the shotgun bastards of the title. But there’s so little to the characters or world building that the fiction doesn’t really count as a full story, just a tidbit of what could be. Which is most cases the author fully acknowledges.
There is a whole section dedicated to End of the Whole tales which gets to be a bit much. After one or three, even as short as they are, reading about the end of the Earth, the species, it gets old. Well, it did for me. I would have broken this section up. Spread the tales out a bit. But maybe the author wanted a depressing impact to hit all together. I have no idea. For me, it just made me want to skip over several and then return after a break.
Reading through these stories is like a walk through the author’s likes and dislikes, Speed’s commentary in front of the stories makes that clear. Merry Killmas? Oh dear! Yep, Christmas is definitely not the holiday for this author. Short, horrific, and to the point.
If you are a fan of Andrea Speed, then I think you would enjoy this trip through her imagination and possible plots for future books. For fans of flash fiction, you might give it a try as well.
For everyone else? Well, I’ll leave that up to you. As a fan of this author, I’m not sure it worked for me.
Cover art: Philip Lloyd Simpson. This cover totally works for the collection and the author. Perfect.
Published July 18th 2018 by Less Than Three Press (first published July 17th 2018)