Tales from Alternate Earths

Tales from Alternate Earths

Tales from Alternate Earths

Tales from Alternate Earths is an anthology of eight alternate-history short stories collected by Inklings Press. Featuring scenarios ranging from how time travel contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs to if China had converted to Islam and discovered South America, the authors create an intriguing series of thought-provoking ‘what-ifs’ guaranteed to leave their readers wondering, peopled by compelling characters that were consistent and relatable, including the non-human ones. The ability to sketch in an entire culture in the backdrop to a short story was just one of the aspects of the writing in this anthology that impressed me.

I don’t read a lot of short stories, as my general objection is that I get into a short story about the time it ends. This was not the case with this anthology; the stories were remarkably well-crafted, with premise and characterisation meshing to bring me in from the opening page. The authors added to that achievement by bringing an enormous depth of imagination to their stories, creating scenarios that entertained, worried, and best of all, opened up ideas I’d never considered before. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories, and I’ll be haunting several people’s websites looking for their next work after reading this!

Tales from Alternate Earths

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Fly on the Wall, Alfy Dade

Fly on the Wall, Alfy Dade

Fly on the Wall

Fly on the Wall: Fairy Tales from a Misanthropic Universe is a collection of short stories showcasing the kind of dark twists and bloody morality that evoke Martial’s epigrams and the Grimm fairy tales, with sets that often wouldn’t look out of place in a Tarantino movie. The writing of the stories pulls in similar dramatic contrasts. While one will read very much like a classic fairy tale, the next can come across as slasher horror, to the point that I found that the author’s technical versatility in this aspect was one of the most interesting points of the collection.

Alfy Dade’s themes, running from a page to several thousand words, range from inevitability to consent, the point often coming from a completely unexpected angle to make the reader think and rethink. While short story is a type of writing I almost never read, I still found several of these made for compelling reading, playing as they do on fatal weaknesses, broken minds, and unifying the book with the realisation that, in the end, everyone’s struggles end the same way. The book is starkly depressing, technically brilliant, and certainly worth exploring for anyone looking for food for thought and a no-punches-pulled view of society.