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Nikki M. Pill received her BA in English Literature and Philosophy from Lake Forest College. Her short story "Shadows on the Pews" appeared in Hell in the Heartland Volume I and received an honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year Volume I. She typically writes dark fantasy and horror. The Tease is the first non-supernatural piece she has written since 1994.
Her other great passion is bellydance, which she has pursued since 1998. She wakes up at an ungodly hour of the morning to practice her writing and dance disciplines, and is consequently useless after 10 pm. She loves to read, cook, watch movies, do yoga, listen to music, and make things. She lives in Chicago with her intermittently grateful cats.
on Jan. 16, 2014 :
I obtained a copy of Inner Potential from the author. This review contains mild spoilers.
Inner Potential is a darkly comedic modern fantasy short about Horace, a socially awkward and mildly delusional loser who discovers that he has a dangerously destructive, yet awkward and inconvenient, superpower. Our milquetoast protagonist looks for meaning behind this developing while trying to win the attentions of his coworker Marci.
The strongest aspect to Inner Potential is Nikki M. Pill’s gift for characterization, giving us a clear idea of who even the minor characters are within the constraints a short story gives her. It only takes a few lines to know exactly what kind of people Horace and his coworkers are. Her pacing is excellent as well, particularly with regards to our protagonist, and I found myself re-evaluating exactly what sort of person he was on a regular basis, constantly underestimating how pathetic he truly was.
The story works, particularly for its length, as I doubt I’d enjoy spending more than a few thousand words in Horace’s company. A little of him goes a long way, and Nikki M. Pill hit that pacing perfectly, revealing Horace’s character arc in a way that while I didn’t tire of him too quickly, when I get to the end of the story I’m relieved to see him gone. True to the black comedy that Inner Potential is, Horace provides the reader with a few truly cringe-worthy moments.
In a good way.
If you have a slightly twisted sense of humor or like stories about bad things happening to terrible people, I sincerely recommend Inner Potential as a quick quality read. I give it four stars.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)