Genre: Short Stories; Social Fiction; Psychological; Thriller/Horror
Read short stories (Stort Shories) about controversial policing tactics and more.
SOCIAL FICTION DISCLAIMER: This book is a work of fiction meant for entertainment purposes. Any implication of political or social alignment of the characters or themes with real life politicians, parties, or political/social groups does not necessarily reflect the ideals of real persons, including the reviewer. This review is a nonbias reception of the content contained therein, not admission to association with or approval of any real-life entities or legalities. This review is a comment on the book for what it is: a work of fiction.
Thanks to the lack of genre sorting and the short, vague description, I had very little clue as to what I was getting into with this book. However, I am always up for anything strange, especially to see what different individuals perceive as ‘weird.’ I’m happy to say that this collection was quite unusual and definitely worth the read.
This anthology is sorted into six sections which each have a set of inter-connected short stories. Not going into the book knowing this, I automatically assumed none were within the same ‘universe.’ About halfway through the first section, I realized that some of the stories had identical character names and, going forward, saw that they were one in the same. While the character accounts I had read up to that point had been enjoyable, the entertainment value massively increased upon learning there was a larger story at play.
The author displays a wonderful talent at weaving environments and characters that get the reader to analyze their own worlds, thoughts, and beliefs. Like with any work of social/political fiction this book should be approached with an open mind. If you can do that, you will be able to appreciate all the wonders of ‘Weird Stort Shories,’ not just the ones which align to your current way of thinking.
Here’s a brief run-down of the stories themselves:
The first section, ‘The Three,’ starts by describing various scenarios of souls in Hell. This includes vivid details of both their physical and mental suffering as well as hints to who they were during life. The section then goes on to share what they did when alive that led them to damnation. There are some religious overtones in this section that some may not agree with, but it remains a well put together piece about karma. I loved seeing which characters were repentant, which were not, and which were in between.
The next section, ‘The Anti Indulgence Group,’ entails a social commentary on addicts and the homeless through the creation of a faction whose sole purpose is to drive these people out of communities and into other towns, jails, and psych wards. The Anti Indulgence Group on the surface, however, pretends to be a friend to the homeless that is looking for sympathetic solutions to the problem. Their violence and aggression is praised by the community’s most well to do, but the ending comes with a twist they would have never expected.
The third section, ‘A Point of View,’ tackles the popular adage that people don’t have to agree in order to be friends. It takes two polar opposite men and details their experiences as they refuse to not be companions, even in spite of violent spats or inner thoughts about being superior to their so-called friend. I was very intrigued by the blunt observations of the author through his characters in this section.
The fourth section, ‘Reincarnotion: A Peaceful Intermission,’ is a beautiful and exciting look at the circle of life. A woman enjoying the sounds of nature from her couch is suddenly thrust into the body of various living creatures, journeying through the world to experience life and emotion at every level.
I will leave the last two sections completely to your surprise and urge you to grab a copy of ‘Weird Stort Shories.’ I will definitely be looking into more work from Sean Newberg. Kudos to the author for an awesome, thought-provoking piece of literature.
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((review submitted to Amazon, Goodreads, and Books-a-Million))
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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