Chronos: An Anthology of Time Drabbles
Edited by Eric S. Fomley
Paperback, 105 pages
2018, Shacklebound Books
From the back of the book: “Hundred-word stories. Seventy-five authors. Ninety-eight tales of time.”
I grabbed a copy of this anthology because my friend Jacob over at Red Star Reviews happens to have a story, or drabble, within and I enjoyed my first foray into micro-fiction!
I have a decent collection of short stories (most of which are unread, naturally) and some of the stories within are very short, perhaps two or three pages. Never before have I read a book composed entirely of stories of 100 words or less! It’s amazing what some can accomplish in so few words.
As with any story collection, not every short did something for me, but I want to highlight my favorites. To keep on brand, my thoughts will be short as well.
Diastanaut by M. Yzmore – unexpectedly sad and a little bit beautiful
Future Tweak by R. Daniel Lester – LOL
Timing is Everything by Brian K. Lowe – vampires are dicks; also lol
The Benefit of Hindsight by Douglas Prince – dark
The Red-Nosed Man by I.E. Kneverday – another dark tale, hinting at a broader story
Where Credit is Due by Joshua Scully – ugh; a likely future if time were used as compensation
The Prophecy of Byrek by Stuart Conover – this one feels like a prologue to a fantasy and I’d like a full novel
Beyond the Known by Madison McSweeney – interesting concept for time travel
Djinn and Tonic by Sara Codair – clever title, funny and another one I’d like to read as a novel
Relative Disaster by John H. Dromey – allergies, man
Wasted Time by Jacob Stokes – maybe I’m biased since he’s my friend, but this is a fun open with the feel of a riddle or limerick; there’s a sense of playful poetry
The Frozen Desert by Paul Thompson – excellent concept/world building and needs to be part of a novel
Trying to Make a Living by Patrick Stahl – another depressing look at what it might be like to be paid with time
Now for some quick comments on the physical book. As I sometimes find with smaller publishers, the design is lacking. I know this isn’t an issue for many, but it’s one I noticed. I wish there were just a few tiny details to add a little pizazz. One major issue I had is that the margins are narrow and the text goes almost right to the binding – it was hard to read at times and if you’re someone who hates to break the spine this will likely annoy you.
At the end of each drabble, authors were given a chance to provide a blurb about themselves or their accolades and a few authors wrote longer bios than fiction. I think that was a bit extra, if you ask me. I think it would have been cleaner if everyone was limited in their bios so that the story and bio fit on one side of the page.
In writing this I also noticed an editing snafu – Poor Douglas Price is missing the L in his name under the title of his story. I imagine that’s something spell check might have caught.
Also, the cover art is so eye-catching and I love the colors – not sure who designed/drew it though, as there’s no credit listed.
Overall, this is a solid collection. I paid $9.99 and for me, that’s worth it because I’m supporting a friend. I do wish a bit more care had been taken in the editing and design in the book, but I’m not at all bothered I spent money on it. If you’ve never forayed into micro fiction this might be a good place to start, especially if you’re a sci-fi fan! I imagine it’s quite a challenge to fit a full story into 100 words or less and I applaud all the authors for doing so!