Review: Selected Shorts by David Goodberg

Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel

David Goodberg

I don’t like to write negatively about an author’s creation, but my frustration in ploughing through this collection of ‘shorts’ drives me to vent.

Am I missing something? This isn’t so much a selection of short stories, but more a collection of ideas, each of which don’t seem to have been fully worked up into a coherent short story. Only a handful of them are related to time travel.

Some of the time travel ideas are interesting and hold potential, but the delivery is very poor and the theme behind each story is spurted out to the reader in a contrived soliloquy towards the end of each story. The writing style is telling-not-showing and dogged with the continual use of superlatives with very little description. If this was the ‘most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life’ how did she look? If the main character ‘usually had no problem with small spaces, but this time he did’…why? What was different this time? The flesh around the bones of the story line, for me, rots with leprosy and falls to pieces.

Another nail in the creator’s coffin is the renaming of a familiar object such as a microwave oven, and (re)presenting it as a futuristic invention. Admittedly, it’s not plagiarism or a breach of copyright, but it shows a lack of creativity and is an irritation to read.

I was really disappointed when I read these short stories. I was hoping for clever endings or a twist in the plot…or something. At least a conclusion. Instead, there is just a…stop. Having finished one story, I found myself starting to read the next in two trains of thought; one thinking “surely this one must be better than the last”, or else in a morbid fascination of how terrible a short story can be and providing a source of inspiration in writing something better.

Some reviewers make the comment that the each story is not self contained, but should be read in conjunction with the others. I saw no common line through the stories, no common history, or no common characters. Indeed, there is misalignment between events and dates between stories.

In summary, the pun of a drawing of someone holding up a pair of shorts on the front cover pretty much shows the depth of writing…shallow and childish. It’s a real shame, because I think that with a just a little more thought, these stories could have been something fantastic. Instead, they read as a first draft at best.

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Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel
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