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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-7-4
  • 292 pages
  • $5.99
Hardcover Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-5-0
  • 292 pages
  • $26.95
Paperback Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-6-7
  • 292 pages
  • $18.95
Audio Details
  • 10/2019
  • 292 pages
  • $19.95
Dan Burns
Author
Grace: Stories and a Novella
Dan Burns, author
"We're all flawed and confronted daily with sometimes slight but often apparently insurmountable challenges. But if we dig deep, what we unearth from the depths of our souls, if we're lucky, can allow us to overcome and carry on to live another day with an untortured heart." This is the sentiment Dan Burns explores in his exciting new collection. Five stories and a novella highlight Burns's range as a storyteller and his ability to see life and all its emotions through a unique lens. This collection features his most personal and insightful stories to date. Redemption—In a quiet Montana town, an aging writer and his nephew are forced to weave the past and the present into a future of more significant meaning. The Plight of Maximus Octavius Reinhold—In the new story featuring private investigator Sebastian Drake (from the novel A Fine Line), the local patrons of a rural Wisconsin town test Drake's resolve as he stares into the barrel of a .44 Magnum revolver. Hardwired—A dying man contemplates the end of his life while hoping to pass along a secret legacy to his family. Adrift at Sea—To fuel his creative desires, a seabound journeyman leaves behind the anchor of distraction in pursuit of a natural world. The Final Countdown—In the year 2110, the Earth struggles to survive, ravaged by overpopulation and greed. Food is scarce, and the youth-run government has no choice but to implement a plan devised decades earlier: deport the elderly population to a remote outpost—on the moon. Grace: A Novella—A story of impaired love, betrayal, and redemption as realized by characters who experience life through the perception of liquor-bottle glasses. Life is never what it seems. Everyone has secrets. The question is whether the skeleton key of alcohol will open the closet door and let out the hidden truths. The collection includes notes about the thoughts, ideas, and inspiration behind the stories, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes perspective of the author's writing process, along with twenty-six illustrations by artist Kelly Maryanski.
Reviews
With varying degrees of success, Burns’s cross-genre collection explores characters at critical junctures in their lives, touching on themes of relationships, alcohol, and mortality. The best of the six entries are the two science fiction shorts. In “Hardwired,” a dying man who spun fanciful tales for years about having an artificial intelligence implant wants his adult son to know the truth of the matter. In “The Final Countdown,” Earth’s lack of resources in 2115 is blamed on its elders, who are required to be euthanized or move to a moon colony. Also noteworthy is “Redemption,” in which an aging writer takes his directionless grandnephew into his Montana home. The remaining work is less well executed, particularly “Grace,” a novella about a failing marriage.

The 26 Jules Feifferesque illustrations by Kelly Maryanski perfectly complement Burns’s writing, which is most effective when focused on affectionate relationships, such as the ones between great-uncle and grandnephew in “Redemption,” father and son in “Hardwired,” and a 12-year-old and his grandfather in “The Final Countdown.” Burns falters in exploring darker elements in the lurid and alcohol-fueled “Grace” and “The Plight of Maximus Octavius Reinhold,” a short story featuring a character from Burns’s novel A Fine Line.

The novella has contradictory problems—it is both predictable and overly complex—and these flaws and its length make reading slow going. There is also a challenging lack of clarity in “Adrift at Sea,”a short story without a clear place or time, and “The Plight of Maximus Octavius Reinhold.” Science fiction fans interested more in story than science are the most likely to enjoy Burns’s work, as he puts a human face on larger societal concerns about aging, resource depletion, and remaining emotionally connected in the digital age.

Takeaway: This multi-genre collection of stories about characters at life-altering crossroads will appeal most to science fiction readers.

Great for fans of Graham Greene, Marilynne Robinson, Gene Wolfe.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B-
Illustrations: A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B-

Reviews From Advance Readers

The initial reviews for Grace: Stories and a Novella are in!

“Grace is writing and literature at its very best. Themes such as moral strength, grace, dignity, self-worth, and human frailty play important roles in Burns’s stories. These are not cardboard characters but real people who love, hate, worry, deny, and seek revenge.” (Charles K.)

“Dan Burns gives us beautifully crafted narratives that stand out like designs for life. We clearly see the situations, characters, internal battles for personal and public “grace,” and sometimes even see ourselves. These are stories that you’ll talk about long after the covers are closed and they become part of your personal story life.” (marssie M.)

“A compelling read. Dan Burns has delivered an excellently-written collection of stories with well-defined characters. I enjoyed being immersed into the lives of everyday people facing challenging situations that force them to reach deep to find the individual inner grace needed to go on.” (Pat C.)

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-7-4
  • 292 pages
  • $5.99
Hardcover Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-5-0
  • 292 pages
  • $26.95
Paperback Details
  • 10/2019
  • 978-0-9911694-6-7
  • 292 pages
  • $18.95
Audio Details
  • 10/2019
  • 292 pages
  • $19.95

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