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Blackbird by Pete Clark

April 10, 2010

In the name of getting through some of my towering TBR pile, most of which does not actually fit our parameters here at ATFE, I’ve been looking around for shorts lately.  As a rule I don’t read many short stories.  I don’t have anything against them particularly, but I prefer a good, meaty read that has room for some character development.  Only the very, very talented manage that in a short story.

I was prowling around on Feedbooks, when I discovered this short story by Pete Clark.   The cover was nicer than most I saw on the site and the blurb was decent enough that I decided to take a chance.

In a forest not far from here, against a backdrop of gently rolling streams and dappled moonlight, a feathery fairy tale is unfolding. Ultimately it goes to prove that you shouldn’t believe everything you were told as a child.

It’s a short read.  I finished it between scrambling my eggs and waiting for my creaky as Methuselah work computer to boot up.   For that, I was grateful.  There was a heavy reliance on passive voice and a love of rambling (if lovely) description that screams amateur.  There were several spots that could have benefited from the hand of a judicious editor in order to eliminate redundancy.  Not to mention it needed a good proof read.

As most short stories, it felt very shallow to me, with no character development.  It was a lot of visual description and not a lot of actual plot.  The only thing that saved this from true mediocrity was the surprise ending.  Perhaps I’d have seen it coming if I’d been fully caffeinated, but as it stands, I was pleasantly surprised and amused by Clark’s choosing to take the road less cliche.

I give this story two cookies.  It wasn’t outstanding, but it wasn’t a total waste of my time either.  Bonus that it was a freebie.

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