Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review - Horror, Humor, and Heroes by Jim Bernheimer (4.5/5 stars)

I got this book from the author directly in exchange for an honest review :-)  This is a great collection of stories that vary widely but focus on mainly urban fantasy and sci-fi stories with a touch of humor.  Story length varies from very short (a couple pages) to novella size (a 70 page novella).

There are thirteen stories in this book, along with a preview of Bernheimer's new book "Battle Maidens".  As I said the stories vary widely, most of them were really well done.  "Confessions of a 'D-List' Supervillain" was the novella and was great; it is about a low rank supervillian who has to save the world from mind altering bugs who are trying to take over the world.  I also liked "Cookie?" in which a toddler teams up with a supernatural force to make cookies in her Easy Bake oven that people will do anything for.  Then there was "Reality Bites!" in which a vampire tries to take on an insurance company to get his death benefit, which was also good.  I enjoyed "Lieutenant Armchair"; in which we get to watch soldiers struggle in an America filled with animals of more than gigantic proportions.  "Charlie Horse" was another enjoyable story that dealt with zombies being used as a power source, I loved the irony in this one.

Really almost every story in this book was interesting.  The only one I thought was a bit weak was the first story "The Wolf's Cry" which had some awkward sounding dialogue.

Bernheimer did a great job changing the tone of his writing to match the wide variety of characters in his stories.  The writing was easy to read and really propelled the reader forward; in most of the stories the dialogue was witty and funny.  Bernheimer writes especially good action scenes and does a good job of taking a creative idea and making it into a great short story.  Most of the humor was of the ironic kind or slightly dark; I enjoyed it a lot.

There are some really short stories in here, only a couple pages long.  I am always interested in these types of stories because short stories are hard to write and make complete.  Bernheimer did an excellent job of putting a lot into these short stories, they are very well put together, the writing is concise and no space is wasted.  I was impressed with how much story he conveyed in such a small amount of space.

In general I really enjoyed this collection of stories and was glad I read it.  I also have Bernheimer's book "Pennies for the Ferryman" which I plan on reading shortly and I am looking forward to reading it.  If you are a fan of urban fantasy, humorous sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, short stories, zombies or just speculative fiction in general, I would pick up this book.  It is a fun read and there are a lot of creative stories in here.   I look forward to reading more of Bernheimer's work in the future.

This book went towards the following challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Horror, Humor, And Heroes 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for the long and considerate review. I hope you enjoy my full length novel as much as you did the short story collection.

    Jim Bernheimer