The Wapshott Journal of Fiction
, Issue 1
CreateSpace (October, 2009)
Paperback, 86 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possibleStorylandia
is a new periodical published on an irregular basis. The first issue contains the following stories by relatively unknown authors, all of which are new to me. The stories in this issue suit each other, since they are all somewhat dark and gloomy, and the cover matches them very well, with its dark, moody feel. In fact, the cover graphic may be the best part of this issue.
"Kittycat Riley’s Last Stand", by Kelly S. Taylor
"Not Quite a Prince", by Kathryn L. Ramage
"More Minimalist Fiction", by Lene Taylor
"Road Kill", by Lee Balan
"Sunday Mornings", by Colleen Wylie
"I, by Chad Denton"
"Practice", by Anne Valente
"Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow", by Kitty Johnson
The first two stories, "Kittycat Riley’s Last Stand", and "Not Quite A Prince", are, I think, the strongest of the stories included here. The first, which qualifies as science fiction, has a twisted but somewhat weak ending. The second piece almost qualifies as dark fantasy... but the wizard in the story seems a bit less than magickal and he disappointed me somewhat. Several of the stories contained in this issue incorporate what might be considered objectionable material, rendering this publication unsuitable for those under the age of 18.
Three of the stories "Road Kill", "More Minimalist Fiction", and "Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow" were previously published elsewhere and due credit is given for that previous publication. I wasn't overly impressed by any of them. More Minimalist Fiction appears to be a short collection of "flash fiction" or what is otherwise known as filler material... very short stories where most of the plot is implied by the actions and dialogue of the characters. I know this stuff is very difficult to write... I've tried more than once myself, so kudos to Lene Taylor for trying, but in my considered opinion, these pieces just aren't strong enough to fill their intended role. They do show some potential though; especially the longer ones. "Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow" brings up the Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky affair of which I heard far more than I wanted while that affair was going on... so truthfully, I didn't do more than skim a bit of this piece... the hook never appeared to me, let alone sunk in.
Four of the shortest pieces, Road Kill, Sunday Mornings, I, and Practice, left me cold. They never "hooked" me as I expect a good short story to do. And being as short as these pieces are, that "hook" needs to be set early; first paragraph or first sentence if possible. If none of these stories were exceptionally bad, neither were any of them exceptionally good. I rated the collection 3 stars because the biggest fault with all of these stories is that they are distinguished by their averageness.
While I can't honestly recommend this collection of stories, neither will I especially warn readers to stay away from it. Those adventurous souls who are willing to risk being disappointed might want to try reading these stories. There might be appeal in them for someone with different reading tastes than mine. Storylandia was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for this review. This review has been simultaneously published on Amazon.com, Dragon Views and LibraryThing.