Review of THE AREA 51 OPTION by Michael A. Kechula
AND 70 MORE SPECULATIVE FICTION TALES
BooksForABuck.com, September 2009
Review by Bob Rich (see his website)
Mike Kechula is a master of flash fiction: bite-sized but complete stories of two to three pages. It is remarkable how much world building, characterization and action he can get into such a small frame.
As the subtitle states, these stories are speculative fiction, mostly horror and fantasy. So, world building is even more important than for other genres. Within a few words, Mike can take you into the most bizarre circumstances and have you enjoy the ride. For example, a man has a conversation with the Loch Ness Monster, and invite her to sign a contract.
The best of these stories will have you roaring with laughter. Inevitably, with that many offerings, the quality will vary, but even the less brilliant offerings are cleverly crafted.
Also inevitably, even the most creative person will have themes that are repeated. In the case of this book, we come across Martians, zombies and versions of the Faustian bargain several times. If you enjoy such things, you'll love this book.
Even though zombies leave me cold, and I don't believe in Martians, I found the clever twist at the end of every story to be feats of mental gymnastics that had me chuckle with admiration for Mike's ingenuity.
If you are a writer of fiction, you can learn a lot about the way to craft a story by reading these miniatures. It's more difficult to write short than long, so flash fiction requires a masterful use of the tools of the trade. So, your ability to write a novel might be improved by a study of how Mike does it in a few hundred words.
If you just want a good read for a few minutes in between other activities, and you like horror, then you can't go past this book.
The Area 51 Option is no longer in print.
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