Free Verse and Other Stories by Dario Ciriello

Free Verse and Other Stories by Dario CirielloThis is a short story collection by Dario Ciriello that contains both new and reprinted stories, one of which I’d already read.

I characterize the collection as a series of thought experiments on the concept of universe, whether addressing multiverse and string theories or providing a situation where one action takes life in an unexpected direction. I enjoyed reading every one of the stories, including the reread. Only one gave me mixed feelings, and those feelings were definitely mixed as there was much to like in the story, and the technique employed was both successful and surprising.

As with other short story collections, I’ve included my specific notes on the stories below. I do not talk about the content as much as my reaction to the stories. For a short description of each story, check out the book page on the Panverse Publishing site.

Free Verse

A lovely story taking the concepts of string theory and the multiverse to heart, but what’s wonderful is how it becomes simultaneously a personal battle between Pol Ferrikkin and a person from his past as well as a philosophical one in which billions of lives depend on the side chosen. The concepts of Talent and line walkers are what make this work.

Normally I don’t like fractured storytelling, but the fragmentary scenes worked with the story to create mood and help the reader see through Pol’s eyes. To be honest, I misread the “verse” in the title to be poetry, and in some ways, the scenes, especially the solo ones, have that feel.

Collateral Damage

An odd little story but a plausible one. I liked the end and the solution. The use of multiple POV characters is unusual in a short story but very effective to maintain the mystery and develop sympathy to help the end.

Tigger Walks the Planck

I was opposed to the story at first as it reenacts the Schrodinger’s cat think experiment in real time, a pointless exercise. But where the story goes from that start I heartily approve of, and it even addresses my opposition in the text. It also includes science fiction references that give the aware reader an extra jolt. Besides, I loved the main character, and the blend between its two aspects – mental and physical – was beautiful.

Dwell on Her Graciousness

I have mixed feelings on this story in part because it is like watching a picnic from the perspective of ants. At the same time, this fact makes the story compelling. The middle had me sucked in. The beginning and even the end did not as much, but then it still made sense where it ended up because ants don’t have the understanding to know what will follow. As a perspective technique, it definitely worked, but those who prefer a concrete ending might find this story a little hard.

Skiffy Supreme

Cute. A tongue-in-cheek recipe for a space adventure written like cooking instructions with homages to other works such as Star Trek. Nicely done for a quick laugh.

Dancing By Numbers

It says something about this story that I instantly recognized I’d read it before though years had passed since, and I was happy to read it again. It’s a complicated and yet simple tale with an untraditional ending.

A lovely collection that I’m happy to have had the opportunity to read. I received this eBook from the author in return for an honest review.

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