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  • By Kevin Toal
    Oct 15, 2009
    "'Happenings' Book Review" Recently, I gave myself an early Christmas treat and picked up a copy of 'Happenings'. This compilation of 25 previously published short stories takes the reader to a myriad of worlds and introduces many intriguing characters. William Alan Rieser has personally selected these stories to represent the best of his work. He has chosen well. Rieser's writing style harkens back to the days when authors emphasized plotting and characterization rather than techo-babble. These are stories which will not became dated but will always remain fresh. I am reminded of Jack Finney's short stories in the attention given to creating believable protagonists no matter the absurdity of their surroundings. Rieser's 'Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe' shares, with Finney, a yearning for things that have passed. Regardless of the nature of the actual 'sweets' sold, the reader empathizes with the narrator, feeling the truth of emotion if not relating to the event itself. Whether the... More > story involves crime-solving dragons or enigmatic aliens, Rieser breathes more than enough craft into each tale for the reader to willingly suspend their disbelief. These are stories that grab hold of the imagination for an enjoyable ride through space and time. Contained within the compilation is an eclectic mixture of tales. One selection, 'The Santa Conspiracy,' involves a parent's desire to provide their children with an intergalactic visit from Santa. This reveals Rieser's wit and easy ability to capture the hidden depths of children - they are not as naive as we might like to think. Another humorous story, 'Riding the Light,' shows Rieser at his most playful. It's a truly bizarre yarn told without unnecessary ornamentation. The author clearly understands that brevity is often the best way to get the most impact from humor. All is not fun and games in 'Happenings.' There are a number of serious, thought-provoking stories which examine how characters react to their environment. Again, while the circumstances may be out of our ken, the responses are realistic. Rieser creates people from all over the galaxy that avoid become caricatures, or worse yet, stereotypes. His characters exist within their fictional worlds as credible entities. Thus, when reading 'Crawlspace,' the feeling of suspense and fear is almost tangible. The last section of the compilation, comprising ten stories, introduces the reader to Ambassador Langford Joh. These interwoven tales contain elements of mystery, humour and observations of strengths and failings which are universal in nature. It is tempting to delve into details of the stories, but it is one that must be avoided. Many of the plots involve ingenious twists which must not be spoiled. I leave such idiocy to the makers of movie trailers. The bottom line is quite simple: 'Happenings' is a marvellous collection of thoughtful and entertaining works of science fiction. These are stories to be read more than once and savoured over and over again. It is available online through www.lulu.com/happenings. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself.< Less
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Product Details

ISBN
9781411601352
Publisher
Lulu.com
Published
September 7, 2003
Language
English
Pages
308
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
1.15 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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