I had no idea what to expect when Richard Lee Byers sent me his book. I'd met him on the Masters of Horror Facebook group so I just assumed it was a book of horror stories. I was wrong. While some of the stories straddle the line between horror and fantasy, for the most part, I'd call them fantasy. That is, if I was trying to pigeonhole them, which I'm not. That would do them a great disservice!
I haven't read a lot of fantasy novels or stories recently. Maybe not for several years even. Don't ask why, I have no idea. But I would like to personally thank Mr. Byers for reawakening my interest in the genre. I loved this book. Loved it.
I read a lot of anthologies and short story collections. For one thing, they are easier to fit in at the end of the night then trying to jump back into a novel. Another reason is that I simply admire the short story form. It's not as easy as it looks to get everything you need for your reader to know into fewer words. So I very much admire people who can conquer the form. Richard Lee Byers came, saw & conquered.
The first story is one of my favorites in the book. It's the title story, The Q Word. Honestly, I haven't liked an ogre so much since Shrek. The story is told with wit and humor and had me giggling out loud while trying to guess what would happen next. This story is a new one, written specifically for this book. All of the others have been previously published in various magazines, anthologies or on websites.
My second favorite story is Griefer Madness. I'm not a big gamer myself (I get totally disorientated, scream and shoot my own players), but even I loved the description of the game in this story. It showcases the talent it takes to be a good gamer and has a happy ending.
Black is a story for cat lovers like myself, while Things I Learned About Science from Popular Entertainment is a witty essay that will leave you laughing. There was not one story in the entire collection that I didn't enjoy reading. I gobbled them up like a chocoholic with a Hershey bar.
So thumbs way way up on this delightful collection. Get a copy today. You won't be sorry! Don't forget to check out my interview with Richard Lee Byers over at The Author Spot.