Saturday, January 1, 2011

review of Bam!, flash collection by Luc Reid

Reid, Luc, 2010, Bam! 172 hellaciously quick stories. Self-published as an e-book in every format imaginable. $2.99 [See end of review for download URLs].

Bam! is intended to be read during those odd moments when you want to read, but don't have very much time. Personally, I don't often have two minutes for reading. Two minutes is about how long it takes to read the average story in this book. If I have just two minutes, my first thought isn't "Oh! I need to read something." It takes me at least that long to absorb whatever is worth looking at in my surroundings. Fortunately, it's perfectly okay to read more than one story, one right after the other. That, I have time to do. I found myself reading this book over a period of a week, but mostly in a couple of days. These stories are the literary equivalent of potato chips, but without the fat. Actually, that comparison is unfair. I enjoyed every single story. Many made me stop and think for longer than it took to read the actual story. Reid is very good at creating a compelling situation in a few words and bringing it to a satisfying end just as quickly. A few are merely jokes, but they're good jokes. Most are surprisingly nutritious considering how few words it took to make them.

These are what most people call flash stories (fewer than a thousand words per story; in most cases fewer than 400). With this number of words to play with, you can write one scene, maybe two. It's not easy to inject an entire world into one scene, but Reid does that time and time again. The characters, whether they live in one sentence or 20, are real people. Don't take my word for it. Go to and read some of his stories. Some of those stories are in this book, but Bam! contains stories that were published elsewhere, as well as new material.

In case you don't want to take my advice and check out some of Reid's stories online, I will say a few words about them here. Bam! is full of death, transformation, alternate realities, alien worlds, time travel, and dystopias. Not many utopias, because really, what is there to say about perfection? The stories range from upbeat to downbeat; some are simply there. Some connected stories form trilogies, tetralogies, and so on, but most stand alone. Most, but not all, are science fiction. What? You want some examples? Here are just three.

From "The war with the clowns":

"Sometime in the dark hours of the morning on April 1st, Clowndependence Day as they later called it, I woke up choking and blinded, half-suffocating on a face full of coconut cream pie."

Or, "Up late with all the power in the universe":

“Claude, why did you make us alive?” said a monkey with a drum. “Now that we’re alive, we have a lot of feelings, and we don’t know what to do about them.”

Or, "Good news from the European National Lottery Foundation":

"I already knew what the new universe would be like: all the others. Very little changes from one version of reality to the next. That’s why I was working the same scam over and over, in universe after universe. Pretty soon I would have enough to set me up for life."

Get the book. Enjoy. Tell him I sent you. (Just kidding about that last part.)

Find Bam! Here:

on Amazon for Kindle at

(or at if you prefer it without the affiliacy info) and

on Smashwords for all eReaders at .
Soon at

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