Chilling, poignant, haunting, and thoroughly gripping…
Darkness, intrigue, and ambiguity mark Vaughan’s deeply immersive latest, a collection of science fiction stories. Readers will relish the intelligent and chilling blend of irony and darkness in “Keeping Pets is Fun” as an alien race invades earth and begins to take humans for pets. Darkly humorous, “Shame the Devil,” tells the story of a cheating husband who finds a way to beat even the smartest technology. The reader’s heart will race and break right along with the lovely young protagonist, who remains in denial about her lover’s intentions in “The Postcard” as she tries to look into her future. Trying to fight the tyrannical ruling authorities in “A Room with a View,” the protagonist finds himself trapped in a room with a devastating view. The story’s dystopian setting is aptly sketched, and the emotional conclusion will resonate with the reader. Hints that all is not as it seems, lead to astonishing revelations for the protagonist in “A New Start,” a short story set in a world in which a highly advanced technology has taken over the lives of the people. When a small software glitch occurs, it wreaks havoc on the protagonist’s life, and he learns a shocking truth not only about his own existence but also about the world around him. Chilling and haunting, “No End to Tomorrow,” tells the story of an aspiring writer, who finds himself becoming the experimental specimen for a shadowy scientific organization and comes face to face with serious, mind-numbing implications of his own mortality. In “Angel and Demon,” the protagonist finds a way to avenge his village. Vaughan’s intelligent storytelling effortlessly weaves elements of horror and unease with a harrowing and surprising story in “Retail pursuit,” which tells the tale of one man struggle to come to terms with new imposing laws in the aftermath of a sweeping pandemic that has left the world’s economy in tatters. There are life-and-death situations, acute darkness, poignant heartbreaks, uncertain future, longing, and death. Some stories are extremely short, less than a page in length whereas others cover quite a large portion of narrative. But all of them have uncertainty and disquiet as the dominant theme. Vaughan’s storytelling is immersive as he digs deeper into a complex world and multifaceted characters, offering life-and-death maneuvering, deadly conspiracies, and looming catastrophe via swiftly unraveling plots. This is a stunner.
By Martyn Rhys Vaughan
Pub date August 16, 2021
Price $12.00 (USD) Paperback, $2.75 Kindle edition