Fearsome Creatures

Rated 4.50/5 based on 4 reviews
A collection of four SF short stories which feature monsters. Set in space, on earth, on other planets and at the end of days, encounter strange and fearsome creatures from beyond your imagination - or your nightmares! More

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About David B. Ross

I write mostly Science Fiction, occasionally branching out into Fantasy, or the crime/thriller genre.

I am South African-born, but like to think of myself as a world writer. That sounds a bit pretentious, but I just mean that I try to write for everyone, rather than having a locally influenced style.

Other SF and Fantasy authors I admire include Tad Williams, C. J. Cherryh, Tolkien, David Weber, Robert Heinlein, and many more.

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Review by: Bruno Goncalves on Feb. 25, 2015 :
Fearsome Creatures is a collection of four inspiring short stories, of the kind I grew up reading with relish as a boy. I can still remember those old sci-fi books I’d come across in my school library or, if pickings were scarce, at my municipal alternative. For every one of those book I would find a handful of imaginative tales written by the great authors of old. And it was those books, more so than the monolithic slabs of fiction produced by some authors, which roused my appetite for science fiction.

Fearsome Creatures felt like that. In the first story (Break Down) I even detected a reference to TANSTAAFL. Although any who study the Wild West may know its meaning, I suspect it was a nod at Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, a timeless piece and arguably Heinlein’s greatest work.

Warning: anyone in search of stories with character development needs to steer clear from this book. Of course, anyone foolish enough to think there’s any character development to be had in a collection of short stories is obviously unaware of the specific appeal and function of the short story, and would be better served with a thicker tome. The sci-fi short story lays out visions, notions or ideas, either in snippets of intense action or in broad strokes, meant to tantalize our imagination or draw us to new concepts. The author has succeeded in doing precisely that!

Set within this framework, the four stories of Fearsome Creatures share a specific theme: that of the immense possibilities surrounding extraterrestrial species and of the shape they may take once we come across them. The stories also lay out one flat fact: if or when such contact takes place, we will do well to fear for our lives. This is a book I’d recommend to anyone with a functioning brain.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for an objective and non-reciprocal review.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Michael on Jan. 17, 2015 :
Fearsome Creatures is four courses of dastardly alien monsters dished up in four quite different stories. For a short collection, it has an admirable body count.

What’s most pleasing about all four stories is Ross never resorts to the tired motif of the dreaded monster tearing hapless victims limb from limb. Each space nasty takes an unexpected form, or deals out death in an imaginative way.

Evocative, vivid writing carries you through each encounter, from the longer, down and dirty opening story Breakdown, through the tech-driven Avalanche, onto the organic nasty Elysium, to the final story Sunset, which has a primal setting and style. Hard to pick a favourite, they’re all quite different. If I had to pick one, I think Sunset certainly gave me the shivers and kept me flipping pages.

A highly recommended read for science fiction fans.

If I have one criticism, it would be: More please.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Gabriel Boutros on Dec. 12, 2014 :
I received a free copy of this book for an honest, non-reciprocal review. Fearsome Creatures is an entertaining collection of four science fiction short stories by David B. Ross. The main theme of this collection is that the universe contains many varieties of fearsome creatures, great and small, that would gladly destroy humans if they got the chance.
Breakdown, the first of these stories, is also the longest and most complex tale. In the furthest reaches of space a small commercial vessel answers a mining ship’s distress call. The lifeform the crew is confronted with is unexpected, both to them and to the reader. Ross’s prose is straightforward, with little hyperbole or melodrama, but what impressed me the most is that in relatively few pages he managed to create a handful of realistic, three dimensional characters.
After that comes Avalanche, a clever little story about Earth being invaded by aliens that is told mostly from the aliens’ point of view. The third story, and my favourite of the group, is called Elysium, about human colonists looking to settle on a planet which, unbeknownst to them, is covered by a sentient web. The descriptions are rich, the events unfold in a subtle way and the ending is both clever and ironic.
Last of the collection is Sunset. It is, on the surface of it, a simple story about a carnivorous beast stalking a woman on a desert planet. The story is told from the point of view of both stalker and prey, and manages to get across the woman’s terror and desperation. Of course, as in all the stories, there’s a little more to it than the unfolding action.
While all the stories are good enough to stand alone, they also have the feeling of being part of some larger story, which is a good thing because they leave the readers wanting to more.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Travis Daniel Bow on Dec. 12, 2014 :
A short and sweet collection of short stories about various alien monsters, competently told. The tone and type of story reminded me of episodes from Star Trek or Firefly: each one centered around the reader gradually discovering the powers and limitations of the alien monster.
Pros: Some clever alien species (from ship-devouring fungi to super-hunter alien raptors). A pretty standard (but capable) story-telling style that keeps the focus off of the writing and on the story. No metaphysical rambling or elaborate descriptions of alien anatomy (both of which are all too common in sci-fi). Fun, interesting scenarios.

Cons: Not emotionally engaging. The characters seem incidental to the story: they serve as a framework for exploring a clever speculation about a type of alien or “what if” scenario. This isn't necessarily always bad--especially for this type of fiction, the story really IS more about exploring some interesting ideas than it is about the struggles of characters--but I tend to prefer something that I can care about. Also, the stories tend to end suddenly, especially the first one. There is a lot of build up, description of characters and back story, and then the climax of the story is summarized in a few swift authorial sentences.

Overall, these stories aren’t necessarily earth-shattering, but they’re fun, short, and somewhat interesting.

Note: I was given an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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