eBook review copy, 240 pages
Brimming with life and extraordinary range, Austin Bunn's dazzling collection explores what happens at "the end" and afterward.
The Brink: Stories by Austin Bunn is a very highly recommended eclectic collection of 10 powerful short stories that embody several forms and genres. All of the characters have experienced some loss, either emotional or physical, and are trying to navigate new, precarious paths. In this process, all of them are facing some crucial, inherent truth about themselves.
Bunn's writing ability is impressive and in The Brink he manages to deftly assemble a collection that encompasses a wide variety of characters and settings. I've tried to give the most basic description of each story without revealing any twists or surprises.
How to Win an Unwinnable War: A gifted child of separated parents takes a summer school class on how to win a nuclear war
Griefer: An alternate reality role-playing gaming world is closing.
Getting There & Away: A couple is on their honeymoon in Bali.
The End of the Age Is upon Us: Michael is writing letters to Leah inside a cult where it's the end of the world.
The Worst You Can Imagine Is Where This Starts: Graham finds a mysterious black plastic bag in his basement.
Ledge: A sailor from Seville recounts his time at sea when they reach the edge of the world in the late 15th century.
Everything, All at Once: A recently divorced woman is selling her things through Craig's List, and getting her 71 year old mother to the doctor.
Hazard 9: An accident at a standoff over a mining operation leads to a precarious alliance.
When You Are the Final Girl: A young man is disfigured from severe burns. "Nobody wants to know where monsters come from. But I know. Because I am one. They come from a soundproof room, beige and white, with a door that seals for positive oxygen flow. Monsters come from all around to be born there, in the pure oxygen. Still, the place smells like Vaseline and burnt toast. Outside the room are six beds, hidden by curtains. There, the nurses put cadaver skin on you because it has nutrients your monster skin needs."
Curious Father: A 53 year old man questions his sexual orientation.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes.