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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2020
  • 9781734886405
  • 146 pages
  • $9.99
Tales From an Odd Mind
Nom D. Plume, author
The book is a selection of short fiction and poems—experiments with different voices, characters, and situations. After an introduction (by Death), Section One consists of 9 first chapters of stories whose ends I have not yet written: For now, these are just beginnings, in different genres. - Off the Map is fantasy. A master and student explore a mystical world. - Wolf & Raven is a darkly humorous piece. After a mysterious mission, two bloodied agents chat at an amusement pier. - Box of J.O.Y. Some more darkness tinged with humor.. Three dangerous men find a child in a box from a mysterious organization.. - A Black Dog, A Graveyard, and the Sea is fantasy. A dead man wakes up with his old sword and a new dog. - A Warped View of the Stars is old-school science fiction space opera, with a prisoner on a rebel starship. - Project Kage is a science fiction thriller. A Special Forces commander might undermine her own mission. - Keen and Keen Inc. has elements of urban fantasy. A brother-sister pair of “fixers” and the neighborhood witches. - A Closet Full of Killer Robots is science fiction with a dark superhero tinge. Something strange is in the basement of a mansion for superhumans. - Origin and Dandelion is…well, I don’t want to nail down the genre just yet. It’s a mental dialogue between… Well, that would be telling… Section Two, We Few Old Souls, has 5 interconnected stories about a group of young people who keep getting reincarnated and finding each other. The background and the connections are not immediately revealed, and the stories are pieces of a mosaic rather than links in a linear chain. Section Three, Poetry and Prose, is made up of 2 poems, An Ode to Langston Hughes, inspired by a Hughes poem that’s used as a common high school writing prompt, and The Night Belongs to Us, about different areas of the planet and their voices. Thoughts of An Idiot at a Bus Stop is the final piece in the book, a realistic, non-genre story about a young woman’s decision to save what’s left of her family…or not.
Reviews
A collection of story beginnings, interweaving narratives, and poetry, this eccentric work lives up to its name. After an introduction by Death personified, the book has three sections. The first includes nine unrelated chapters, introducing characters whose stories are never continued: a boy named Darren meets a ghost while traveling with an otherworldly mentor, a guard is captured aboard a rebel spaceship, two siblings run a detective agency and work with witches. The second section follows a group of reincarnated souls who find ways to meet, life after life. The third includes two poems and a realistic piece of prose work about a recent graduate who finds it difficult to abandon her troublesome brother.

This is an entertaining and creative book; with so many setting, style, and genre changes, it’s impossible to grow bored. However, it can be frustrating to read so many pieces without a definitive conclusion. While the disconnected stories offer something for everyone to love (mystery, fantasy, sci-fi), they can be uneven. Some tales, such as “Box of J.O.Y.” and “Keen and Keen Inc.,” are so immersive that the decision to cut them off after only one chapter shortchanges the reader. Others, like “Project Kage,” are less immediately gripping.

The three sections feel like three separate works—there isn’t a thread that ties them together. The first section, despite its abrupt nonendings, is the strongest. It allows readers to keep thinking about each story long after they’re done reading, filling in their own interpretations and endings to each chapter. The second section, although offering a more complete narrative and well-drawn characters, still feels unfinished. These stories are so narratively rich that readers will feel something is lost when they end midstream. This collection will draw in and intrigue a wide array of readers.

Takeaway: This collection of mystical, eerie, thought-provoking tales is perfect for imaginative readers.

Great for fans of: Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series, Daniel Handler’s Adverbs.

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

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2020
  • 9781734886405
  • 146 pages
  • $9.99

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