Fireside Popsicles- An Anthology Collection Review

The talent behind this cover is awesome!

Fireside Popsicles is a fun read

For those who enjoy reading anthologies, short story collections and fiction short and (not necessarily) sweet, this collection falls right into the must-read category. This is particularly true for those who enjoy the eclectic and surreal. If there's one thing for sure, none of the stories collected here stem from the mundane.

This is not a collection of work from one writer but several who each harbor their specific grasp at utilizing language to convey what just can't be real. While some hint to supernatural episodes and dreamy introspection, it would otherwise be hard to find the right category for any of them except of high talent. Bizarre is a fair word but these are all penned by writers of exceptional ability, so we can’t label them as goofy or off-center. Reality falls askew, forcing the reader to accept the alternate reality of the writer in question, and once one submits to the world in their mind it hurts a little when we reach the end of the collection and the individual tales. Alas, they are all short stories, with a dash of poetry. This is akin to a trip down the rabbit hole with every new hole, room, trapdoor and plate of mushrooms filled with fun, sadness, fear and some hints of panic and aggression.

Imagine someone has been following you for weeks now, but every time you try to approach them they flee. You set a trap and now the game is up, only to discover it's actually you but a decade older. But this other you speaks a language you've never heard before and then disintegrates into a miasma of little stars and disappears right before your eyes. But there's a leather notebook there, in your handwriting. But in that bizarre language. Yes, these stories are like that. But in some, it's the younger you. A few are the older you. A couple of them are another you watching all of this from your grubby apartment, afraid you'll be seen by the others. That is how difficult it is to categorize these stories. So I'll just say they're very good and quite entertaining. But also harbor some psychopathy and a bit of blood.

It's as though some maddened soul struggled with every word that popped into her head, only to discover she's the illegitimate child of Jim Morrison and thought that had anything to do with it whatsoever. It hurt to find out none of that mattered and that he was just another celebrity idiot. But the charlatan who reads cards to tourists is convinced otherwise and works to convince that maddened soul to take a journey.

Yes, these stories are like that.

The cover looked amusing so I grabbed at that first, although I rarely give covers such attention. But the stories within are so much more than the cartoonish picture. Imagine being so phobic to eating toast buttered by someone else that you would kill to prevent it, only to discover it's all a dream within a coma caused by a motorcycle accident. The bike hit a stick of butter that had fallen from a grocery bag placed in the back of an old pickup. Okay, so none of them are really like that, but they are a little bit. One or two of them are.

Then imagine some character is horribly unattractive but is picked up by a knockout of all knockouts and she takes him to the motel and drugs him with a pill that leaves him motionless but wildly tumescent. He's expecting to lose a kidney but she rides him like a stallion and then tattoos his body with eighty different versions of Smurfette. I don't want to admit it, but there's a passage here and there kind of like that. Oh, I don't think any of the children are spared. Maybe one.

Yes. These stories are like that.

So, I'm sitting here at my desk, working on this review and not bothering anybody. Yet, there they are again, the knocks at my window, this many floors up. Look, dear readers; I really don't care if you read this collection or not. Just please stop with the incessant need to get me going. I'm already agitated enough and I've spilled two cups of coffee. I've even caught the attention of the dog again. It isn't ours, but we're sitting it for a friend who likes my wife but hates me. It's growling at me again, no matter how many hotdogs I throw its way. Read these stories or don't. Just leave me be.

It would seem these stories are like that.



Roddy J Dryer is the author of A Trucker’s Tale and The Art of Roddyism.

Errr...

If I may be so bold, my favorite Popsicle flavor is Szechuan.

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