Review: 8 Short (2)
8 short 2: Science Fiction At It’s Best: Debut author has what it takes.
8 Short is a unique collection of original short stories by author Miklos Szentimiklosy. Each story has its own bizarre twist, unexpected ending and main character that becomes unraveled and unfurled due to circumstances beyond their control.
Each of the 8 stories interconnects as all of the main protagonists fall prey to the manipulations of others, events beyond their control and their imaginings or hallucinations they begin to experience.
In the first story the Elevator we meet Charlie – overworked-stressed tired and angry at this life. Living on the edge he begins to unravel as events at work with his new boss cause him to fear being dismissed, his newborn daughter cries all night and his wife nags him. As his nerves begin to wear thin Charlie realizes that he needs to gather himself better, arrive at work on time and not endure the wrath of his boss. But – one morning would change his fate as he endures stomach pains, late trains and but still manages to arrive on time.
Entering the elevator, waiting to alight on his floor, Charlie encounters many other passengers, obstacles in his way and one elevator that stalls. The events, the discussion, the conversations, and the final discord will shock the reader as Charlie disintegrates right in front of everyone. The result and final fate of those in the elevator you will have to read for yourself. When Charlie does reach his final destination and the doors of the elevator open on his floor, running to attend the meeting he thought he would never make, the ending will send shock waves through the reader as Charlie learns what happens as a result of The Elevator.
Next, we have Love Goddess, Bitter, and It’s Just A Little game with main characters that are controlled by underlying events, manipulations by others in the story and their own need for greater self-worth and self-esteem requiring a boost from others often resulting in cruel and sadistic behaviors inflicted on others. Love Goddess features Matty an overweight, unhappy man who professes his love for a woman named Jane. Just how he goes about enticing her you won’t believe and the end result will stun the reader and bring chills down your spine. A bone-chilling ending so creative you won’t see it coming. Neither will Matty!
Bitter and It’s Just A Little game are the next two stories. Bitter tells the tale of a princess and her not so wonderful prince. As one father tells his young daughter and a distorted tale of his own making we see a child’s fantasy of happily ever after not come true. In It’s Just A Little Game Sanchez whose predisposition for winning and obsession for his new video game system sends him over the top, edge and on a downward spiral. As he masters their art of each of the games and his wife loses her job and begins taking an interest in competing against him, things take on a different spin as Theresa, and his wife becomes more adept at playing. The stakes are raised and Sanchez decides on his own way to become the ultimate champion. Some people cannot handle competition. Sanchez’s solution will alert the reader to that fact. Theresa is about to learn what happens when one man has to win it all every single time.
The final four stories are a blend of horror, mystery and suspense as we meet Lloyd in Medusa Snow and the fate of his family and friend Ritchie. Ritchie has created a secret snowman that he can control. Lloyd begins to feel he is losing his mind when he sees this snowman from his window and then it magically disappears leaving only footprints in the new snow. Lloyd insists on confronting Ritchie and going to his house where things will change drastically and truths will come out. As Lloyd learns the secret behind the snowman and what Ritchie has planned for them, things get out of control, and the next thing you know two people are killed and Lloyd has to find a way to destroy the snowmen. Just what he does in the end will change his world forever as things heat up and his fate is decided when things get out of control.
The Videotape introduces a wife who enjoys watching tapes of her late husband. Trying to become absorbed in other areas like reading, school and not watching these tapes she does not succeed. Wanting to recover from her loss she becomes obsessed with these tapes and spends many hours drinking wine and losing herself while watching these tapes. One odd tape would change the course of her life as the words spoken by her late husband, coming through loud and clear manipulating events and taking control of her mind. The End- you need to read for yourself.
I Work Alone is a really frightening story whose main character Matt is a discontented man who loses his job and needs to find a way to fund his extravagant lifestyle. Bills piling up, no real job offers on the horizon, Matt takes a job from an agency in a brokerage firm manning the computers. Days first and then switched to nights he meets Hernando his partner who is anything but normal. As Matt and Hernando begin their various night shifts it becomes apparent that something odd is going on and that Hernando is not stable. As Matt explores the many offices, computer room and finds his partner asleep most of the time, he devises a plan to rid himself of Hernando and work alone.
Hearing voices, noises and thinking he sees things alerts his boss of his concerns and what he suspects. His boss’s response will surprise you and puts things in a different light. But, Matt gets his wish to work alone and events transpire that will scare him causing him to run for his life as far away from this place as possible. The only trouble is he does not run far enough, turns back and decides he overreacted to what he thinks he saw. But, Matt and the reader learns first hand the truth behind why Hernando did not want to work alone, needed a partner and what happened to the other employees that did not quit before it was too late. The scene brings the curtain down and you won’t believe whom it falls on and how.
The final story is The Joker. This story will haunt your nightmares and is the scariest story of the eight. Thinking he sees the face of a joker, this poor man screams at the top of his lungs, scares his wife, wakes the landlord who calls the police to investigate. Thinking he might have overreacted he tries to put the incident behind him and out of his mind. But several more sightings follow and this man’s life spirals totally out of control. Inflicting pain on himself, self-mutilations Mike, our frightened man appears to be going crazy.
Seeing the face of a real Joker, similar to that of one in a deck of cards, court jester of medieval times would frighten anyone if not expected. But, there is much more. As Mike begins to unravel and he sees many doctors to help him, he finally snaps during a session with one doctor as the Joker appears in front of him and the rest is too frightening to reveal and the end result for Mike, the doctor and others will haunt you forever. Read the Joker: Find out Mike’s final fate: If you Dare! Remember this Joker is not wild: Just Deadly.
This unique collection of short stories will keep the reader’s interest and totally engaged and on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Unpredictable plots created by a new and talented author, 8 Short are anything short on excitement, suspense or fear. Each of the main characters has specific issues with controlling the actions of others, being on top and violent tempers. Many lack compassion for others and the end results in the first four stories although not what you would ever expect is totally realistic and true to life. Each of the final four stories would make a great made for television movie on the Sci Fi channel.
Fast paced, action packed and filled with suspense and drama 8 Short is definitely the work of a talented author. For anyone who reads Stephen King, Andrew Greely or enjoys watching the Sci Fi Channel you will definitely enjoy reading this book. Let’s hope our author will treat this reviewer and many other readers to more of his creative and imaginative stories.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Author: Miklos Szentmiklosy
I give this book Five Stars