Tag Archives: Anthology

FREE STUFF! (for which you can also pay, should you be so inclined)

Hey kids! It’s that time again! That’s right! Time for me to flog yet another literary product of my diseased mind.

Wow, that didn’t sound so good. Maybe let’s start over.

Who doesn’t love them some good ‘n crunchy flash fiction? I still remember the first day I stumbled onto the art form as presented by a little webzine called Flash Fiction Online. My first forays into the flash fiction arena were actually submissions to this magazine. I didn’t get them published. But they did get me rolling with a new way to tell stories.

Over the ensuing years I’ve cranked out quite a number of these things, and I flatter myself that I’ve gotten better at it with practice. But what to do with all those little less-than-a-thousand-words stories I’ve accumulated over the years?

How about this?

It’s ANTHOLOGY TIME!

Huh, that sounded way more epic in my head.

Anyway, the stories included in this anthology are stories you can already read on my website, edited and polished up from their original versions, and bundled together for your convenience.

“But Albert,” you say. “Aren’t you really just asking us to pay for stuff we can already get for free?”

Nope. Well, okay I am asking you to pay for it.

If you want to.

If you don’t want to, I’m making a PDF version of the same thing you can download from Amazon for 99 cents available for FREE right here, right now, for all you lovely visitors to my blog.

If after you read these stories you think to yourself, “Hey this Albert Berg has provided me with at least 99 cents worth of entertainment, and I am more than happy to show my support of this wonderful, physically attractive, and vastly under-appreciated author by purchasing his book from Amazon,” then hey, I wouldn’t say no to that.

Not sure if this compilation is for you? Here’s a short list of the stories included with a brief summary:

The Finger: in which a man vomits up a human finger and cannot remember how it got there.

Salt of the Earth: in which a man tells his daughter about the world before the Green.

Play Date: in which a woman living in a house filled with empty doll’s heads turns out to be something more than she appears.

The Life and Times of Casey Jones: in which an unsual resident of a prison cell witnesses the end of a human tragedy.

Morgellon’s Man: in which a man afflicted with a strange disease takes matters into his own hands.

The Ghosts of Houses: in which a man is haunted by a dead building.

Grey Area: in which a laundromat becomes a sinister battleground of the soul.

Living Dead: in which the zombie apocalypse cannot come soon enough.

All that Remains: in which the last human tries to find meaning in a chaotic universe.

How the Other Half Dies: in which you are killed by zombies.

The Stone Saucer: in which an alien artifact carries the memories of a dead world.

If these sound like your cup of tea, then head over to Amazon and get this puppy for your Kindle, or better still, stay right here and download it for free.

Remember, all you have to lose is your sanity.

Bizzaro Book Review: Discount Noir

When I first saw Discount Noir on the digital shelves over at Amazon, I knew I had to buy it. The premise of a book filled with flash fiction about Wal-Mart Megamart seemed too perfect to pass up, especially since I’ve been employed at Wal-Mart for the past six years. What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty of composing a coherent overview of an anthology collection featuring works from more than forty different authors.

The first problem is the fact that there are so many varieties of style and quality in this book. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any of the stories were truly bad, but some of them were simply boring. And others seemed fine enough as I was reading them, but quickly slipped out of my mind when I moved to the next story.

Which brings me to the second problem with this anthology: all the stories are flash fiction, specifically works of 800 words or less. Flash fiction is a wonderful fiction form, one that I’ve dabbled in myself from time to time, but putting forty-plus flash fiction stories all in a row like Discount Noir does presents a rather unique problem: because all the stories have a similar length, reading through them one after another starts to feel rhythmic and methodical. It becomes far too easy to move on to the next story without really taking in the full scope of the previous one, which means that even moments of true brilliance are easily lost in the noise.

Finally and possibly most important to me personally is the lack of experience many of the writers seemed to have with Wal-Mart Megamart. One story that really stuck out for me involved a guy trying to hold up the gun counter and getting blown away by the guys who worked there. I happen to work at the gun counter myself, and let me tell you, there are a number of reasons why that scenario could never ever happen. I understand that not everyone writing these stories has my level of personal experience, but I contend that it’s perfectly possible to write a good story without going so far beyond the bounds of your knowledge.

So far I’ve been critical, but the truth is this anthology really isn’t a bad read. As I mentioned before, there weren’t any real stinkers, and I found at least a few stories that moved me in strange and interesting ways.

Probably my favourite story in the anthology, “A Fish Called Lazarus,” makes beautiful metaphorical use of a bird trapped inside the confines of a big store. Another story of note, “Skylar Hobbs and the Rollback Bandit,” is a hilarious mash-up to the tune of Sherlock Holmes meets Wal-Mart. Other memorable stories include “Friday Night with the Tijuana Wolfman”, “What Was Heavy?” and “Black Friday.”

The final verdict? Meh. The collection was enjoyable enough, and from time to time, gems of true brilliance stood out from the pack, but overall I wasn’t thrilled. I didn’t feel like my money was wasted, but I think the sticker price of $4.50 could maybe use a Rollback. If you really like flash fiction this collection is worth a look. Otherwise you might do better to take your business elsewhere. Megamart may not be the store for you.