Short Stories

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Computer-linked Lung People, all geniuses, dangle in a warehouse, grapes to be sucked. An old man becomes a bird and the wind. Hitler chokes on his lunch. London and Tokyo form the backdrops for a monstrous murderer and a suicidal romantic. An odd teenager makes his love-rival vanish. Minimalist or traditional, these tales, as the subtitle says, depict "Life both Beautiful and Monstrous." More

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About A. H. Richards

It was raining when I was born, in a tiny village hospital in South Wales. (It's always raining in South Wales, and the sheep that run through the streets, bleating insanely, come direct from Hades.) My grandmother's first words, when she saw me in my hospital crib were, "Let 'im die, bless 'im. He looks like a rabbit skin with a head on it." Those words were not spoken in malice. Impatient to get on with things, I had arrived three months premature. I weighed just over 3 pounds. Gran came from a generation when babes in my state would have passed away in front of the living room fire.
Since that inauspicious birth, I have worked as a janitor, antique refinisher, music teacher, mink-farm labourer, factory drudge, and oh so many more abominable jobs! I have been deported from Japan, earned two graduate degrees, survived a number of insanely passionate love-relationships, and can play a guitar with my toes.
I love Paris. I love cats as pets, and all animals as sentient creatures. I think this is why, when asked at around age nine the name of my greatest hero, I answered "St. Francis of Assisi." Tarzan came a close second: I kid you not. (I also harbour a crush on a hybrid historical/fantasy Joan of Arc, but did not know that at age nine: It has never done me any good.)
I believe resolutely in the sanctity of fundamental human rights, kindness, and Nature in all its life forms. My great grandmother was Native American. That, and my Welsh birth and ancestry, I consider blessings.
I now work as a full-time author and free-lance editor. I continue, obstinately, to write and publish fiction, essays, short stories, and literary criticism, with no immediately evident signs of mental injury.

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Review by: Glenn Cutforth on Feb. 12, 2014 :
Imaginative, often brilliant, certainly under-priced at just 2 bucks, Short Stories, by A.H. Richards, is a collection of eleven stories covering a broad range of genres -- science fiction, fantasy, slice of life, romance, mystery -- and more.

I should note that short stories aren't my favorite fiction format as I tend to prefer gritty murder mysteries or long, sprawling historical fiction.

However, since I enjoyed Richards' novel, Kronos Duet, so much, I didn't hesitate to pick up this collection. There were no surprises here in that the high quality of his writing skills and imagination are showcased once again. As with his novel, he skilfully paints pictures with words, so that the reader can quickly identify with each character's dilemma, get a sense of their environment and feel their emotions.

Richards is capable of digging deep into the human mind and spirit in a way that reminds me of my favorite Science Fiction author, Orson Scott Card. He deftly brings out thoughts and emotions that feel very real, which enhances the story's plot, especially in Grave Diggers, a story that deals with dark, dark evil set in Victorian England.

Other highlights include Jim's Fate, set in Japan, about two characters on different paths in life who come together in a shattering, twist of fate climax. Where the Buffalo Roam is a preview of the author's upcoming novel about a futuristic world in which drones and robots oversee the human race -- a situation not so far off according to current news reports. Looking forward to the completed novel if this portion is any indication of what is to come.

Other standouts for me include Average Monsters, A Thousand Herons Overhead, Extinction and Oh, Pioneer! a far in the future story about lung people, who, despite their limitations, long for freedom just like any normal human being.

Richards writing style is very literary, but his plots lift the stories way above the boring literary novels I've attempted in the past. This author should be on everyone's "must read" list, and for just two bucks you can get a taste of what good writing and plotting is all about. I'm giving this collection four out of five stars only because, as I mentioned, short stories aren't my thing, and too many of these stories were so good, they left me wanting more.
(reviewed 84 days after purchase)
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