A fair number of crazy-but-usually-worth-hearing stories have started with “no shit, there I was…”. So someone got the bright idea to turn a group of speculative fiction authors loose on the phrase and this collection was the result. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole ‘speculative fiction’ thing, but I decided to give it a try and added it to my review list.
*several months later*
So no shit, there I was, sitting in a coffee shop, laughing my ass off and garnering weird looks from the other patrons. I might have snorted coffee up my nose at one point and a couple older ladies even moved to a table further away from me. If anyone who was in the Four Winds Coffee Shop in early January 2017 is reading this, you have my apologies for disturbing your java time.
I’m not a lunatic, I swear.
But I digress.
No Shit, There I Was was a mixed bag: sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal… you name it (other than romance) and it was in here. This collection was made up of 24 short stories, each by a different author, and they ran the gamut of tones from hilarious to absurd to dark to depressing. Some were better than others (“Episodes from the Abner-Mortimer Karmic War” was great) and there were a few that didn’t really feel like stories at all (“The Devil’s Apprentice” and “First of the North” were scenes more than anything). There were a couple of stories rife with typos. (“Incursion” was one. It was missing articles all over the damn place.) The varying quality is what earned this a B rating instead of an A.
My least favorite story by far was “Uranus Calling”, which I half suspect was written by a 12-year-old boy who has just discovered fart jokes. I didn’t bother to finish reading it (this was the only story I bailed on) and in my humble review opinion, this collection would have been perfectly fine if it had been left out. On the flip side of that coin, however, were enough really good stories that I can’t pick a favorite. “Episodes from the Abner-Mortimer Karmic War”, “How I Became Coruscating Queen of All the Realms, Pierced the Obsidian Night, Destroyed a Legendary Sword, and Saved My Heart’s True Love” (yes, that is really its title and yes, I think it was created using one of those online fantasy name generators), and “Silver Fish” were all fabulous. “The Devil’s Apprentice” was good, but it left me wanting an actually story. All the rest fell somewhere in between, though overall, there were more good stories than disappointments.
Bottom line: This is a great choice for someone who only has snippets of time to spend reading and doesn’t want to bail in the middle of a story. There is something for everyone in this collection.
No Shit, There I Was
by various authors (edited by Rachael Acks)