Once upon a time – and a very long time it was – the short story was a well-respected form of literary fiction as well as an essential thread in the warp and woof of everyday life. Whether we’re speaking of one of Aesop’s moral lessons or an offering from one of the many modern day exemplars of the form, ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Isaac Bashevis Singer, there has always been a wide appreciation for a good, entertaining, short read. Until, for some reason, they wasn’t.
Almost overnight, the many magazines that counted short fiction from famous authors as a vital element of their formula, from the Saturday Evening Post to (even) Playboy, decided that short stories were no longer de rigueur. Even The New Yorker, which placed short fiction on a pedestal and hosted some of the greatest writers of their times, today only includes one short short story in each issue.
Of course, the reading tastes of humanity do not change so suddenly, and certainly not irrevocably. It’s therefore both refreshing and a relief that Indie authors continue to write short stories, and particularly that Paul Ruddock has chosen to do so.
The 33 stories that Paul brings together in his recently released anthology, Not What you Thought? and other surprises – as the title suggests – are all of the surprise ending genre. Ten were written by other Indie authors, so this single volume not only provides the opportunity to get to know Paul’s style in depth, but to become acquainted with five very interesting additional Indie authors at the same time.
The stories contributed by Paul range from very short “flash fiction” pieces that serve as vehicles to quickly present a clever idea to more lengthy pieces that explore a character in greater depth. All benefit from a very fluid, friendly and (when appropriate) folksy writing style that tells the tale the way stories have been told down through time, which is to say in an intimate way. If you are like me, you’ll find that you like that style better and better as you move from one surprising turn about to the next.
Last but certainly not least, Paul is donating all sales proceeds to the “Forget-Me-Not” charity for homeless ex-servicemen and those affected by PTSD, details of which can be found at their website: www.exmodltd.org, so why not consider doing well by doing good and pick up a copy. Not What you Thought? is available for only $2.99 in eBook form at Amazon and for $7.99 in softcover. You may find the author’s Web site at http://www.paulruddockauthor.com/