I didn’t know what to expect when Windsor Harries contacted me to offer a copy of his novella collection in exchange for an honest review. I don’t favor traditional publishers over indies, or vice versa, so I’m game for whatever, and sci-fi is my preferred genre. The descriptions of each of the stories seemed to be right up my alley, and since they were novellas, if one didn’t strike my fancy, I needn’t spend a whole lot of time until I got to the next one. Each story is less than two hours at my reading speed, so I figured “what the heck.”
Let’s start with the one and only thing I didn’t care for in this collection: The chapter structure only encompassed the novellas, and not the individual chapters within each novella. I use the kindle’s estimated time left to let me know how to fit reading each chapter into my schedule. When I see a sixty-minute chapter, my heart hurts. I guess if the only complaint I have about the collection is some mundane technical aspect, then this must be a good read.
I read one novella each night last week. I found the first novella, Chosen, and the middle novella, Voltage, to be the best stories of the lot. The writing was polished through out. There was nothing that screamed out “indie published.” The collection is an easy four stars, and I look forward to reading more from the author.
On to my thoughts on the individual novellas:
Chosen is a great alien assimilation story, I felt the end of the story had something to say about human nature, and without spoiling anything, the ending is sad and uplifting at the same time. The story touched on sci-fi elements that I haven’t seen lately, and it was nice to see these tropes resurrected in a modern story.
I felt Rumble was the weakest out of the five novellas. I understood the structure, and appreciated the disparate viewpoints, but I felt the story left too much on the table. This seemed like a “slice of life” story, and fleshing out the story would have likely led to a rewarding full-length novel. I hope the author at least contemplates doing more work on this one – it has the potential to be an excellent novel.
Voltage is a great dystopian novella. While not as exciting as Chosen, or Moon, it was still a good read. I felt it had great insights into the wealth divide, and I suspect it could be a commentary on the difference between first world and third world countries. It definitely touched on the all-powerful and oppressive government that many dystopian stories do.
Prime had been previously published as a separate novella. The story contains themes of friendship, religion, and the reminder that not all endings are happy endings. There is a slight genetic-punk vibe to the story, but overall it’s an alien occupation story.
Moon is my favorite out of the stories. While sci-fi requires us to suspend our disbelief, I found Moon and its trick ending to have the most believable story. The ending allows the reader to consider their own ending, which is one of the best story-telling things I think any writer can do.