I formulated a rule a while back that I’d only review what I was encountering organically. I review a lot of things but I don’t want to be a reviewer as such. Mainly, this is to avoid the blog feeling like work or writing to feel like an assignment. I have whatever the opposite of a work ethic is.
But I decided to make an exception for an eARC that I got from the O.Westin, the mercurial mind behind MicroSFF. It’s a collection of over 300 of their tiny tweeted tales. I’ve been reading these stories in my Twitter feed for years now but their very nature makes them difficult to review. So a collection is kind of nice to have.
If you haven’t read any of them before, they are exactly what they sound like. A very short story with science fictional or fantasy elements. As you might expect from short stories in general, the stories are typically a set-up followed by a twist. The length restrictions of a tweet mean that they often follow the structure of a joke with a sudden shift of perspective or breaking of expectation at the end. However, while some are intentionally funny, with many the shift in perspective provides emotional insight into a character or social commentary or a disturbing reveal (or all of those).
The brevity invites readers to imagine the world and setting around the story. For example this Black Mirror-like story:
Other times the set up is overtly science fictional and the twist is an insight into character:
Others deftly throw an idea in from left field creating weird, funny and disturbing situations:
Some stories evoke little more than a wry smile and others provoke an urge to write. Some are just funny 🙂