*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: 20 mind-expanding short stories.
Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: Nothing Is Strange.
As the title of the final story here states, and directly contradictory to the title of the collection, Everything Was – and Is, actually – Strange in this book!
This is a collection of 20 excessively strange short stories ranging from the metaphysical to the fantastical, with elements of sci-fi and horror along the way.
It is not always clear what is happening in the stories, but it doesn’t really matter. They are simply a glorious blast of fresh nonsensical oddness which carry you along willingly into suspension of any kind of belief at all and yet… that is not all they are.
In these stories, the author explores ideas of love, emotion, grief, identity, the purpose of human lives and the importance of our connections to others. He explores what we are made of, what we are, and who we are. He considers happiness and futility, anger and hope. Underneath the oddities and beneath the bizarre, there is meaning, but the reader has to find and construct it for themself.
Yes, these stories are strange. But only as strange as humanity allows for within its multitude of experiences. They do exactly what short stories are supposed to do: they capture and confound you; entertain you and make you think; they spin a connective thread between writer and readers that brings us together and now… We Are All Strange!
It is Saturday. The page has gone. The ‘We Are Diaries’ shop is wrong; they are not diaries. I do not write to them and it is not this book that I am writing to either. I am not addressing these paper pages or their cardboard cover. Dear Diary, who are you?
– Mike Russell, ‘The Diaries of Sun City’ in Nothing is Strange
Nothing is Strange is available on Amazon right now!