Category Archives: Science Fiction

Book Review: ‘Thread and Other Stories’ by Eric Halpenny

Title: Thread and Other Stories

Published: 13th July 2018

Publisher: Bookbaby

Author: Eric Halpenny

Facebook: www.facebook.com/halpennyauthor

Twitter: @dragonswordbook

 

Synopsis:

Thread and Other Stories is a multi-genre collection of short stories (single author) that includes science fiction, fantasy, urban fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and espionage. There are seven stories in the collection.

Prudence and her older brother Yannick face extreme poverty and hardship in Thread. They live day to day on the wages they earn at low paying, difficult jobs. They face hardships that seem insurmountable for two young children. Isidore, an impoverished boy trying to survive on his own, enters their lives with even greater needs than Prudence and Yannick. They integrate him into their family life even as their world begins to crumble around them. But, there is an ominous backdrop to these events as strange entities take a keen interest in the lives of the three children.

A military psychologist evaluates a Vietnam war veteran who has experienced psychological damage in Shrink. The veteran’s fellow soldiers and friends must support him as the psychologist attempts to uncover the reasons behind his trauma.

Emil, Annie, and their three children—Zona, Owen, and Abner—struggle to stay safe in a steampunk-inspired fantasy world in Chance. Abner finds himself in trouble as a powerful magical being terrorizes the family farm. Only Zona’s quick thinking along with her parents’ knowledge of magic will give them a chance against the dark sorcery of the enemy.

John and Greg, bound by friendship, embark on a journey of trial and tragedy in Conflict, a 20th Century historical fiction. They must deal with death, loss, and grief as compatriots fall in battle during this poignant snapshot of the Canadian military in World War I. John and Greg show a contrast in the ways that these soldiers adapted to the psychological effects of war.

Veera, an astrophysicist, begins to experience recurring déjà vu, the source of which she cannot determine in Oversight, a science fiction adventure. She is unknowingly set on a collision course with Misha, who challenges Veera’s perception of the world as she struggles to determine what is real and what isn’t. Misha must deal with his own psychological demons as he tries to salvage a failing mission that will either end in glory or in his own death.

Dmitry is a hardened spy in the Cold War who has no mercy for his adversary Olyesa in the espionage thriller Deception. Olyesa and Dmitry navigate their way through the murky waters of agents and double agents while simultaneously struggling against each other for survival. When their divergent plans collide, it threatens to destroy them both.

Explore a metaphysical debate in the literary short story Conversation, which is woven between each of the short stories in this collection. An unnamed protagonist and an unidentified and secretive entity discuss the metaphysical and spiritual meaning behind science and what it means to gain knowledge.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A collection of short stories. All are very different but each have a certain something to keep you intrigued to continue on to the next. Nice style of writing with this collection of shorts.

THREAD

A story connected by conscious thoughts of others perhaps? The main one itself is a trying tale of children living in poverty and having to work just to eat. The mines are for the boys and it’s cleaning for girls. They never feel hope for they can’t see a way out of the cycle they are part of. Work, eat, sleep and repeat. With the eating part sometimes being hard to come by. Yannick protects his sister Prudence but is still a child himself. A saying being you can’t look out for others, as you don’t have enough for yourselves. That’s Yannick’s way of thinking when Isidore comes into their lives. He’s younger than both of them but needs to work to stay alive too. Hardships become them and dangers of the world around them, work included, causes tragic results. Seems conscious minds might be merging to feel something new, hope might be born into their dark lives bringing some light and a connection thread to join them.

SHRINK

The perils of coming back from war and having to live with the consequences of what happened when you were there. A shrink to help the army vets before they go home but sometimes they are too far-gone to come back from the darkness. They need their crew and family to try to bring them round but is that enough?

CHANCE

Well what starts out as an everyday farmers family working life turns into something completely unexpected. Interesting twist with its’ direction and how the story evolves from there. Young minds are inquisitive ones so you should be careful to teach them to understand what’s at stake and not leave books around they might not understand. Creating a doll is one thing but this one had a mind of its own.

CONFLICT

Tales told of the Great War focusing on the Canadians fighting, all showing how and why different people would have signed up. What were they fighting for? Was it King, country, honour, family, friends or perhaps just a mixture of them all? Showing the day-to-day life of the battlefield slowly pulling them under. Two different men’s views on how they see the battle to be won. Who are the lucky ones? Those who go home physically injured, mentally injured, don’t go home at all or the ones who never got called in the first place? The letters or quotes from people who were really there mixing with the story were interesting. Gives you a little insight to what they really experienced.

OVERSIGHT

Two scientists following through with an 18-month task sending and tracking satellites – a link to the Mars project but also a new Jupiter one. Their project is failing and they know they need to go back through notes to find where they went wrong. This is where things get a little strange, as it seems they aren’t the only ones testing something, or should that be someone? Are you the tester or subject and can you tell the difference between the two? Quirky read that will have you questioning what could be out there and who or what everyone really is. Who is controlling whom? Maybe not knowing is the point.

DECEPTION

Spy masters at extracting information out of people. The top of a very select few that needs to stay hidden. Dmitry is one of them and believes he is the one always in control. He gets his pleasure out of tormenting others whether for work or fun. There seems to be no difference for him. He might think he is the one controlling the game but is he the one being played in a complex game of spy vs. spy. Cards are about to fall in a different way and he might not like where they land.

CONVERSATION

A need to have someone to talk to, but are they really there or just in your head? They say they will wait until you are ready to talk. Let’s hope it’s true. For someone to help do you need to be face to face or can they help you from afar? This story is broken up and interlinked between all the others. It gives the impression of time passing between the one who wants to talk but isn’t really ready to as they keep putting up barriers (I must meet you and you’re wrong) and the one who is willing to wait for however long until they are. A philosophical conversation with someone or something – do you really need to see them to talk?

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Science Fiction