Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: "Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents: FLUSH FICTION--88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting"

Unlike previous non-fiction books in the “Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers” line this book is all fiction. Short fiction to be precise as these editors have accepted only stories of less than 1,000 words. As noted in the sub title these are “88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting.”  With so many stories by so many authors writing in every genre imaginable it is not possible to cover every single story by every single author. So, here are a few of my personal favorites based on my own dark and twisted sense of humor and the fact that almost anything can be funny to me if done right. Your personal experience will vary.

It wasn’t the smartest bet someone had ever made.  But, the old man had made the bet and lost.  To honor his side of the bet he has to drink 25 beers without getting off the bar stool in The Old Man Had to Pee by Corey Mertes.

Safety Drill by M. Garrett Bauman reminds me of my Dad quite a bit though we never did the family fire drill. You just can’t be too prepared.

One Million Years B.F.E.: Diary of an Anthropologist in Exile by Merrie Haskell tells the tale of an anthropologist who has been sent back to the early Pleistocene for her crime.The good news is that she will have the solitude so she can work through her issues.  The bad news is she will most likely die alone and eaten by hyenas. Hands down this is one of the absolute funniest and very twisted stories in the book.

Learning to keep your eyes directly on the wall above the urinal in front of you is something you learn very early on as a guy. For Andy it is especially important as he is literally Two Urinals from Death in this story written by James Sabata.

Along with some mystery stories, science fiction and fantasy stories are prevalent in this book and they are all good ones. One example of this is Headhunter by William R. D. Wood. Magic is back in force and very visible so unicorns are in Time Square, huge serpents are swimming in the Mississippi and lots of other strange stuff is going on according to the news. Then there is the ogre that comes in for a job at a pest control company.

Another flat out twisted funny story is A Star Gazer’s Manifesto by Sean Flanders. This hard to describe story explains why you really need to watch the skies and stay away from computer keyboards. Make sure you buy stock in Hobby Hut and for very good reason.

There are plenty of very good serious stories that have a touch of mystery and/or suspense to them. One of those is A Glutton for Punishment by Thomas Pluck involves mixed martial arts and Terry’s upcoming fight.  Terry’s record is not a good one, but once in the ring he never backs out. The battle in the ring is always far easier than the one in his mind.

Barry Ergang takes a bow with his story The Loom of Doom Galls Mainly in the Tomb.  It is another case for “The Sleuth Extraordinaire” as the female victim, Lady Vera Muckinfutch, is the parliamentarian’s wife.  As would be expected from this author, it is a “locked room” type mystery, funny with a groan, and a good one.

Having to pass gas is one thing. Being jerked back in time seven seconds each time you pass gas is a real problem. That is exactly Gary Flugle’s problem in Excuse Me written by Scott W. Baker. Hopefully Dr. Kwack can help but he better work fast.

What could possibly be the ultimate rejection letter for a writer is found in Don’t Take This Personally by Richard Hollinger. Good advice but one shouldn’t take it personally-even when it clearly is. Fittingly this tale is the last story in the book followed by 23 pages of the author’s bios and 2 pages of ads for books previously published as well as their website.

Featuring stories in every genre, plenty of humor and solidly good writing, this is a highly enjoyable book that should appeal to virtually any reader no matter where they actually read the book.  Settings, techniques, storylines and plots all very tremendously as these short stories seek to entertain in 1,000 words or less.  Your personal favorites will no doubt vary but these 88 tales are all well worth your time.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents: FLUSH FICTION--88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting
Compiled by the editors of the Bathroom Reader’s Institute
Bathroom Reader’s Press (a division of Portable Press and imprint of Baker & Taylor)
April 3, 2012
ISBN #978-1-60710-427-8
288 Pages

Material supplied in the form of an e-book by the publisher via “NetGalley” in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012


Art Taylor said...

I loved this idea when I first heard about it — and both my wife and I submitted stories for consideration. Mine didn't make the cut, but I was pleased that one of my wife's stories was accepted: "The Hamster" by Tara Laskowksi. Enjoyed the review here — and can't wait to see the full collection.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I meant to submit, Art, and then things happened and I didn't get it done. I think the book is a good one.

Sorry you didn't make it in but big time congrats to your wife.

Barry Ergang said...

I just read your wife's story, Art. Very nicely done short literary piece.

Art Taylor said...

Thanks, Barry! Slow on catching up with comments here — been on the road a little bit. (Up at the Edgars, now headed home, then Malice... Whew!)