Book Review – The Blue-Haired Shadow and Other Tales by M.D. Taylor
This great short story collection includes an alien spaceship, some dwarves, and a few lost souls — but mostly it has ghosts. It’s only about 30,000 words. That would equate to about 100 pages if printed as a paperback, which it’s not. You can only get digital copies and only from Smashwords, but it’s a perfect length for a lazy Sunday afternoon read. The strange tales related here have no common characters or theme, but they do share one thing. The prose in all of them is exceptional.
The collection contains the following short stories.
- A Legend of Old Sanford – A ghost story set in the 1920s. There’s a cat in it.
- The Blue-Haired Shadow – Another ghost story — of sorts.
- Lesson Number One – This is the only science fiction tale in the collection and, it’s my favorite of the bunch. Beware aliens bearing gifts, or in this case, beware not understanding the gifts. I thought this one was great.
- Like a Duck – A graduate student visits dwarves and encounters an enterprising steam-powered computer and a giant clockwork duck. I got more than a few chuckles from this one.
- Mazarvan – If you lose yourself, you might become the god of chocolate. (That’s sort of a spoiler.)
- Snake Oil – This is the strangest of these strange tales. It’s about a high priced cure for what ails the rich and powerful.
- Still Breathing – What’s left when an evil dictator gets rid of all his ‘bad’ stuff?
- Thora – A final ghost story about picking up a passenger on your way to the afterlife.
Full disclosure: I snagged a copy of this short story collection during a free promotion. I also am acquainted with the author, since we are both members of the Orlando Science Fiction Writers’ Group. It’s a self-published work and, quite honestly, could have used another round of editing (sorry, Mike), but the stories really are enjoyable.