Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Indie Short Story Review: Celebrity Space

What to say about Alain Gomez' Celebrity Space?  It's short.  I liked it.  It's creepy.  I wanted more.

That about sums it up in as few words as possible, but you aren't reading this for the teeny-tiny book review.  So, lets see about adding some meat to those descriptions.

It is short.  At about 3000 words, it's lunch or coffee break reading, depending on how fast you read.

There is an issue the short story author has that a novelist doesn't, and that's the need to pack a lot of punch into very few words.  Celebrity Space is about as long as most novel authors spend on describing the base location and the first meeting of the main character.  And in that space it has to introduce six characters, set up a plot arc, and build a climax.

And it's okay at all of those things.  Though I think they could have been done significantly better with about twice as many words (and still would have been a very short story.)  Or done just as well with the same number of words if Gomez had spent less time on the extraneous characters.

Mostly I would have liked to have seen more focus on the creep factor, on the visceral reaction of the main character, Dan, to the first hint that something unsavory is going to happen, Dr. Fleischer, an experimental geneticist with a reputation for unethical work.

Also, on the short theme, there is this: Celebrity Space doesn't feel finished.  It ends at a logical point, and a bit of a cliffhanger at that.  Now, in a novel, you can do that and leave the reader feeling like they read a whole story, and now it's time to move onto a new story.  With as short as CS is, you don't get the feeling that you've read a whole story.  It feels like you've read the first chapter of a larger story.  Since CS is now out as part of a collection of short stories, my guess is that it really is just the first chapter in a longer story.

On the "I liked it" theme: it's a solid little set up for a larger story.  There's enough going on to get you interested.  It's not terribly deep or meaningful, but it's quick and entertaining, sort of the literary equivalent of a potato chip.  Tasty, but you want more than one.

As for creepy, the write up doesn't really do the story justice.  I'd say it's much closer to the thriller end of the sci-fi spectrum than the adventure side, and from the write up it's hard to tell that.  Even more foreshadowing would have been nice, but given the length, it's a solid effort.

There are three other stories in the series.  I haven't read them, yet.  (My to be reviewed list is longer than my arm, so I'm trying to get through more of it fast.)  So, it does look like Gomez has taken care of that issue.  Right now Celebrity Space is free on Amazon, so if you're interested in a crunchy little bit of story goodness, go give it a shot.

No comments:

Post a Comment