Sunday, August 18, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Headless And Other Improbable Excitations Of The Muse" (2019)

"Headless And Other Improbable Excitations Of The Muse" (2019)
Michael Jan Friedman
236 pages

NO SPOILERS:
I like reading short stories from time to time and try to get my hands on at least one book every year.
“Headless...” is a collection of eight elliptic short stories that travel around the genres of fantasy and sci-fi, each with its own unique and mysterious destination.  Each tale throws a surprise louie at the reader.  Sometimes in your face, other times striking with a more subtle jab.  But all have a bit of the twist that makes for page-turning pleasure.

Honestly, good short stories are a notorious dice roll.  They're just not easy to pull off.  But Michael Jan Friedman has delivered a pretty satisfying read.  Not every story within these pages is Starbucks, but there is certainly more gold here to be found than copper.  Friedman plays fair in the telling and never gives anything away cheaply.

Michael Jan Friedman

My favorite stories were ”The Spirit Of Lost Women."  “Geocatchers.“  And “Cold Case.”   I hesitate to expound on why these particular stories hit the sweet spot for fear of spoiling the ride. (These are short stories after all.)  But suffice it to say that the Twilight Zone-ish endings are well met.   Whether accidental or with intent, each story gets progressively stronger and the flow of each one works well.  Again, “Headless...” is an enjoyable read.  “You got Bradbury in my O. Henry!”  “You got O. Henry in my Bradbury!”  Mostly, Friedman left me nodding my head in appreciation as I paused to consider what the hell I just read.

Michael Jan Friedman Official Website

"Head Games" - Foreigner / "Head Games" (1979)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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