Off on a Dream and other magical realities
A collection speculative stories by Bruce Taylor
As in my previous review, I’ll mention that usually, I’m a big fan of author notes, but that sometimes, they work to the author’s disadvantage. Unfortunately, that’s what happens here. While Bruce Taylor intends to highlight the nature and inspiration for his work, and why it may have been overlooked, he comes across instead as defensive. Having read the book, I can see why.
As some of his previous critics suggest, many of the pieces here aren’t really complete – they’re more scenes, vignettes, or mood pieces than full stories. As other critics appear to point out, they’re also not always well balanced; they tend toward either heavy-handed or intentionally opaque, neither of which makes for an enjoyable story in my mind. While Taylor makes a point of wearing the mantle of magical realism, only a small portion of the stories here seemed to me to fit that label.
Taylor notes that he has written over 1,000 short stories. While I’m a supporter of self-publishing, I do think that some sort of outside filter would have been useful in combing through that mass of prose. I’m not confident that these are necessarily the best exemplars of his art.
Normally, at this point, I list the best stories from an anthology. Here, however, I simply didn’t enjoy the collection, and while some stories were adequate, none of them really stood out as good. While it may appeal to some, I can’t recommend the book.
15 March 2019 SFF | Bruce Taylor |