Book Review: Relative Scale 1


A while back you may remember we had the great opportunity to speak to an up and coming local SciFi author Abi Godsell about her book series Idea War and I’m happy to say I was offered an Advance Review Copy of her new upcoming work, a compilation of stories set to be released this coming 7,8,9 October at RAGE Expo at the Sera Blue stand! (Yet another past podcast guest I might coincidentally add!)

I’d like to add, in general I loath spoilers, so for the most part, this review will be spoiler free! Rather, it will seek to inform you the general feel and thoughts the book evoked whilst I adventured amongst it’s pages.

 

Title: Relative Scale

Author: Abi Godsell

Genre:  Fantasy, Science fiction and horror (The book is a compilation of several tales)

Right from the get go I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this collection of work would be different from what I normally stumble into on my literary journeys. Normally when I come across short story collections in the speculative fiction genre, the author (or authors in most cases, who are marshalled together by a single editor) pick a general theme and every story is a variant of said theme. In this case however, the collection has been put together based off an overall arc,  one of both time and progression. Time and progression of what you ask? Why of the theme and the relevant protagonist as you read through the books stories! With a total of nine tales to tell, they’ve been subdivided equally into “Childhood”, “Teenage Years” and “Growing Up”.

At first, I thought perhaps the tales themselves were also going to document the authors works and growth as a writer, shadowing the progression of the stories as their progression in literary works as well, but quickly realised that wasn’t the case, as the story “The Rose Garden” in the Childhood section is clearly one of her newer (and I might add, now one of my favourite) works she has produced, the story evoking similar feelings I’m used to encountering when I read more popular mainstream titles covering modern fantasy themes.

The next section, or Teenage Years, portion of the book, contain three stories of varying work that resonated with me the least in retrospect. This is to say, the stories contained within were good, with a lovely little horror tale called “Making Waves” that appealed to my own fascinations with terrors in the depths, but overall the amazing three tales she brought to bear in the final section of the book outshone this section for me easily!

This “Growing up” section of the novel was jam packed with the kind of science fiction that I hungrily seek.

Here, I encountered an old friend, in that the tale “The Silver City and the Green Place” has been included in this anthology. I was pleased to see this, as it so happens that this was the first story I ever read by this author when it was first published in Something Wicked Vol 11, and in my mind, is a defining example piece of what makes these works great and I happily re-read its words as I once again contemplated it’s implications, just as before. (If you haven’t realised by now, I like my Sci-fi to have a bit of thought provoking momentum behind it’s words… after all, how will we move forward as a species if we don’t start thinking about the harder questions now?) This tale is followed up with “Bell Jar”, which I can only deduce is most likely set in the same setting as the Authors other more well known works, creating an interesting tale on  which to pose another question you might think you know the answer too, but isn’t quite as simple as one would first think.

Lastly, the section is rounded out with a tale for which the book series itself get’s it namesake, “Relative Scale”, it’s words bringing back concepts explored in other tales, but also perhaps leaving a message for the reader, woven between it’s words and ending the collection on a fantastic note!

Overall, the eclectic range of tales means every Speculative fiction reader will surely find a tale they enjoy in the collection.

In summary, this anthology is an excellent example of a clever progression of stories in order to provide an overall feel of advancement. (unlike some of the more mundane collections of works, which just haphazardly plonk several tales together!) There’s no shortage of imagination, enthusiasm and talent amongst each of the different stories. Naturally some appealed to me more than others, and in some cases, I wish the tale would have even continued on! There is still an enormous amount to enjoy and plenty of food for thought, which is the mark of successful speculative fiction.

 

 

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