This is the New Plan by John Xero

This the New Plan cover

This is the New Plan by John Xero (available now)

Review copy provided by the author. 

Amazon blurb:

This is the New Plan. Thirty three genre-blending works of fiction. Thirty one flash fictions book-ended by two short stories.

This is the way the world dies. The way it is born. The way it lives and breathes. Our world, other worlds. The past, the present, the never, the future.
Discover endings and beginnings; hope and damnation; angels and demons; stolen futures… Gods, cowboys, zombies, witches, sci-fi samurai, psychopaths, little red men from Mars, and more…
Let me take you on a journey, let me show you wonders.

You may remember John Xero’s brilliant short story, “Ragestorm Requiem,” which was featured here on ICoS last year. If you enjoyed the story, you’ll probably enjoy his new book, This is the New Plan (conveniently available now).

The book is a collection of John Xero’s short stories and flash fiction pieces–33 in all. Which is a few too many for me to review individually, unfortunately–which means, of course, that you’ll have to read the book. (Aw, shucks.)

There is a great variety of stories in the book, and a good chunk of them are post-apocalyptic in nature. All of the stories are well-written, and–in my opinion, anyway–work the way short fiction should: it makes you wonder what happens next, and lets you fill in the blanks.

I’d have to say that my favorite story is still “Ragestorm Requiem,” because it’s so poignant. Maybe it’s because I have kids, and I could empathize with the way the story’s main character does everything possible to let her daughter Molly “fly.” The fact that Molly is actually dead and in an urn makes the story all the more poignant. (While reading the story I kept thinking, “What would I do if the world went to hell and one or both of my daughters died?” And I could see exactly where the character was coming from.)

Of course, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other stories in this book. I did–I enjoyed all of them. This one just stood out as my favorite.

Not every story is that sad/poignant/melancholy, of course; there are a lot of stories in the book. If poignant isn’t your thing, there’s bound to be something in there that is.

This book is great if you’re looking for short reads–these stories are the right length for a bus or train ride, or if you’ve only got five minutes here and there and don’t have time for a  novel. Overall, I highly recommend this book. I truly enjoyed it–I don’t give out 5 out of 5 scores lightly, but I’m giving it to this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Book link (Amazon)
Xeroverse (author’s blog)

Book Review: The Last Night, by Nico Rosso

[1. Review copy provided by Carina Press]
After a chain of earthquakes ravaged the globe, long-dormant viruses were released into the air, turning many humans into creatures with an appetite for human ashes. Erica and a group of survivors are barricaded in a half-destroyed hotel, and every day brings them closer to being devoured by the seemingly unstoppable ashers. Even though Erica is a fighter, she’s tired of just surviving…
When a mysterious stranger rides into town, everything changes. Jake knows how to kill the ashers, and he’s the only man brave enough to leave the safety of the hotel in search of a better life. Erica and Jake make a deadly fighting team, with even hotter sparks flying between them. But Jake has survived this long because he rides alone. He doesn’t trust easily, especially in this harsh new reality. Can Erica convince Jake that living is more than just surviving to the next day?
I’ve tried to write post-apocalyptic erotic romance before. Despite the fact this is the second in the genre I’ve reviewed, there’s a huge gap there. I’d personally like to read more of it, and because I believe in writing what I’d like to read, I made the attempt.
I wasn’t very good at it. It turns out, I am not good at writing desire and sex. I am extraordinarily good at writing people having awkward romantic feelings for each other that sort-of maybe get kinda fulfilled towards the end, but I cannot write erotica. Because of that, I am always pleased to read the good stuff.
Continue reading “Book Review: The Last Night, by Nico Rosso”