Sunday, April 15, 2012


I have grown to love short stories, although it did take me a while to get there. For a long time, I was frustrated by short fiction because the really good stories always left me wanting more - a definite tribute to the writing talents of the short story writers I had already discovered. But let me show you just how far my appreciation for short stories has evolved in recents years.

 The final (or at least the latest) step in my evolution was directly influenced by the work of Nik Perring, author of Not So Perfect, a short story collection that I reviewed in late May 2010 (wow, it doesn't seem like two years since that one). Nik was the first writer of "flash fiction" that I ever read. For those of you who haven't been exposed to flash fiction, let's just define it as "short, short stories." That collection taught me to appreciate the effort and talent it took to create unforgettable characters, vivid images and impressions, and moods in just a few hundred words. And, yes, there was even a plot.

 Nik and his co-writer, Caroline Smailes, seem to have outdone themselves this time with Freaks, a collection of really short, short stories, each of which deals with a particular super power.  Nik has been kind enough to share the story dealing with the super power of invisibility with us. Yep, this is the whole story - and what a crazy image it leaves in my head.

[Super Power: The ability to make oneself unseen to the naked eye]

If I stay totally still,
if I stand right tall,
with me back against the school wall,
close to the science room’s window,
with me feet together,
pointing straight,
aiming forward,
if I make me hands into tight fists,
make me arms dead straight,
 if I push me arms into me sides,
if I squeeze me thighs,
stop me wee,
if me belly doesn’t shake,
if me boobs don’t wobble,
if I close me eyes tight,
so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,
if I push me lips into me mouth,
if I make me teeth bite me lips together,
if I hardly breathe,
if I don’t say a word.
I’ll magic meself invisible,
and them lasses will leave me alone.

The book is available both in print and in e-book version, but with a cover like this one, I would definitely prefer the printed version.  That cover, without a doubt, adds to the fun.  

I should mention, too, that the book is wonderfully illustrated by Darren Craske, who has done an illustration for each of the stories in the collection.  This is Craske's illustration for "Invisible."  Click on it for a larger version.

I am not sure whether Freaks is available in the U.S. at this point, but it can be found on the UK Amazon site.  Perhaps Nik will see this blurb and clarify what U.S. readers should do to get a copy.  I have never ordered from the British Amazon site, so I don't know what postage costs would be on a print copy mailing, but maybe the e-book version is an easy option.  You guys probably know more about how that works than me.


  1. I've never heard of Flash Fiction before. I'm going to have to look out for it and love the cover of this one!

  2. Flash fiction is pretty cool, Kathleen, sort of like nibbling a bag filled with small cookies. You can devour a large number of flash fiction short stories before you know it...but they ARE calorie free.