Anecdotes in Ashes

Anecdotes in Ashes - The Assembly, T.W. Grim, E.J. Lada Jr. Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 1
bombs: 0
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

A very short collection of even shorter stories. Most of them were really good; the weakest pieces in the collection I'd still consider to be decent writing. I'm not too familiar with this "microshort" format, this was essentially my first introduction. I liked it a lot. While the collection is only 53 pages in my reader, it was the right length. Too many of these shorts and it would feel like a chore to plow through them all. I didn't count how many stories are in here, but I'd wager there's 50-60 stories total in the collection.

The problem with the format, however, is that it's so short there's only so many ways to create the 'A-Ha! Gotcha!" moment. Usually with the last sentence that reframes the earlier paragraphs in a new light. Given that I'm pretty sick and twisted anyway, I'm usually reframing everything I read and watch all day long so there weren't a lot of shocks or suprises for me in the stories. Also, IIRC all the stories are set in contemporary western society. It would be an interesting excercise for the authors to use some of their scant words to try to evoke some different settings.

I still enjoyed reading this though. It's like popcorn and jelly beans for the horror fan - tiny little nuggets of demented goodness in easy to digest chunks. The collection is divided into four groups, roughly analagous to major subgenres in horror: "Encounters in the Dark", "Sinister Shadows on a Sunny Day", "Madmen Amongst Us" and "The Beast Inside". I felt the first section had the most interesting stories, as the microshort format lends itself to leaving much to the readers imagination while the other three genres covered such familiar ground it was hard to feel any surprises or insights.

This is a great little book that I recommend to anyone interested in horror. Because it's so short and the stories even shorter, this would probably be a good introduction to the genre for someone looking for a survey of the typical tropes and techniques - a Horror Types and Tropes Primer, if you will. I am looking forward to more collections from this group.