I haven’t done an ABC Indie Fiction Challenge read for a little while, so when Chris Ruz announced that he’d released a collection of short stories I jumped right on over to Amazon and got myself a copy. At .99c it’s a bargain!
Disclaimer: I met Chris awhile back through mutual friends and have admired his writing skills for awhile. However, I had no idea he was putting out a short story collection until it happened. It was a happy surprise.
I have always loved Chris’ writing style – he tells a story with very little excess, clean yet beautifully written. For some reason that I haven’t yet placed my finger on, I had a similar emotional response to some of the stories in ‘Past the Borders’ as I did to those in ‘Looking for Jake’ by China Mieville, and at times I felt unsettled, anxious even (and I say that in a good way!). I think it’s this core response to the characters and stories which really elevates the work. When the pages disappear and you’re there inside the story, you know the writer is doing a good job.
This collection has six short stories and a novella in it. I really like this combination; the stories chosen range through science fiction, contemporary fantasy, and general oddness. I thought the novella was a great way to end the book, rounding out a solid collection. Not only is it a fantastic story in itself, but it also gives a wonderful introduction to the world where Chris’ novel ‘Century of Sand’ is set.
I loved each of these stories for different reasons, but all of them for their intelligence – and for the fact that Ruz appears to have written for an intelligent audience. I very much appreciate not having every last thing explained to me, it is a refreshing thing in this day and age where far too many people (in just about every entertainment media) feel the need to do so.
This collection is a bargain at .99c. If you like speculative fiction, you should definitely check it out.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting an interview with Chris, so tune in then to get a little more insight into this up and coming writer – I firmly believe he is one to keep an eye on.