Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories is an entertaining mix of forty science fiction and fantasy short stories and flash fiction. For those of you that don’t know the name Alex Shvartsman, he’s an award-winning short fiction writer and editor responsible for the highly successful Unidentified Funny Objects anthology series and the new professional science fiction market Future Science Fiction Digest. He’s written over one hundred short stories in places like Analog, Nature, Strange Horizons, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Galaxy’s Edge, and many other anthologies and magazines. Within the pages of this collection are some of Alex’s finest stories.
I read a hell of a lot of short stories and I like a variety of styles. Unlike many collections I’ve read that are very much a mixed bag of good and so-so stories, I was pleased to find that I liked or loved all the stories in this collection. This is a rarity for me, but I know it has a lot to do with Alex’s range. He’s a master at both short fiction and flash fiction, and he blends powerful emotional tales with historical elements and sprinkles in a good dose of tension and action. His characters are memorable and his prose is smooth and enjoyable to read. Some stories were humorous, some dark, some darkly humorous, some expiramental, some action-packed, and some light. There are Science Fiction and Fantasy stories in the mix and Alex has the talent to pull both genres off effectively without his strengths resting solely in one genre or the other as I’ve seen with other writers before. The stories in these pages are brilliant and many will stick with me for a very long time.
Do yourself a favor and go pick up a copy.