Last week, I made an offer on reddit’s /r/selfpublish, calling for submissions of self-published Kindle short stories from which I could pick up to 5 to review. A part of my criteria for the stories I chose was fewer than 5 reviews on Amazon. As you might know, reviews and recommendations are important for getting your work noticed. Not many people want to gamble their money on something with very few reviews. And no reviews? Forget about it. I wanted to offer other authors the chance to get one of those initial reviews.
A bit about my process: I read what each author submitted, then used’s Amazon’s Look Inside to preview the first page or two of the story. Based on my interests and what I read, I tried to pick the stories that I thought I would most like. I read the stories in the order I purchased them, highlighting and taking notes within the Kindle text as I went. After I finished reading, I wrote my initial impression and some more substantial notes before moving on to the next story.
Finally, I wrote my reviews over the course of a couple days, taking my time to balance and polish each. I wanted to highlight positive aspects as I found them, but I also wanted to be honest.
So, without further ado, here are the five Kindle short stories I chose, and a summary of my reviews.
Gil C. Schmidt’s story “The Horde Returns” is the first part of The Horde Anthology, though no other books have yet been released in the series. It follows a family preparing for a storm, which is the precursor to the arrival of the Horde, creatures escaped from Hell. Schmidt’s prose is very verbose, and the story has a complex plot which promises future depth, but in the end it leaves too many questions unanswered for the reader.
If you have ever taken part in a wedding—whether as the bride or groom, or one of the other essential wedding party members—you know that planning a wedding can be a tense, awkward, nervous affair. Adam Bertocci’s “Second Thoughts About the Fourth Dimension” captures this feeling almost perfectly as it follows bride and groom, Harper and Sean, as they discuss their upcoming wedding. In between the genuine dialogue and excellent prose are Harper’s philosophical musings on the passage of time, what it might mean to marry someone for the rest of her life.
“The Last Ghost” is a horror story narrated by a man setting his mother’s estate to order. This is a tale that slowly builds with each paragraph, intent on creating a chilling atmosphere. As a ghost story, the narrative adopts a Victorian tone to emulate the golden age of ghost stories. This voice is well-executed for the most part and helps immerse the reader into the narrator’s tale.
Scott Gardner Boyce’s short story “Immortal Curse” follows an unnamed protagonist who discovers the secret of immortality along with the other six “Knights of Knowledge.” Boyce writes in a Lovecraftian style, with no dialogue, and this works well for the story. However, the glossing over of the psychological horrors of immortality and the large cast of characters is this story’s weakness.
The longest of all the stories chosen, T. K.’s “Township 7: Life continues, even as society changes.” is an exploration of global climate change and transhumanism as depicted through a report penned by an anthropomorphic purple dinosaur. T. K. tracks centuries of development and change reminiscent of A Canticle for Leibowitz, but falls short of the latter’s successful execution.
And that’s all for now, folks. It was interesting to see what other self-published Kindle short stories are out there, and I plan to do another review series again sometime down the line.