I’m told all the Cool Kids are into Audiobooks these days, so I’m taking my first steps in that direction. I’m happy to announce the short stories ‘Sozo’ and “A Prayer to Saint Strelok’ are now available at Amazon’s Audible and iTunes/Books.
The first is a straight-razor of a story about a combat vet returning to a broken, near-future America. Remarkably, it was included in The Crossover Alliance’s 2nd annual anthology in 2015. (I note that of the three TCA anthologies, that year is the only one without a single review. “Coincidence? I think NOT!”) Sorry guys.
OTOH, ‘Saint Strelok’ is a recent short piece inspired by the Ukrainian post-apocalyptic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video game series. Set in and around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, those games rank in my top 10 all-time favorites. They’re dark, brooding, terrifying, and wonderful. “Call of Pripyat” is the one you want. It’s the most accessible to the first-time stalker.
Back to audiobooks though… I have to say auditioning narrators and hearing my own stories read back to me was immensely sobering. ( I gotta keep at this. God help me.) But on a happier note, I was reminded of how I used to read to my children – and now my grandchildren – and how there’s something truly wonderful about those hours that’s hard to express because the transaction of those moments goes beyond words.
Dr. Seuss to Tolkien, Kipling to Dahl, R.L. Stevenson, Lloyd Alexander, and a hundred more, reading out loud gets me thinking about the wonder of stories, the music of language, and what I think is a strange but essential osmosis of meaning.
Call me crazy, but I’ll go so far as to say that simple thing, more than any other everyday, ordinary practice in modern society, imparts not just parental/adult care and concern; it cultivates a sense of wonder and adventure. It feeds the imagination, exercises it. I think – depending on the stories- it’s how the core values of being a decent human being in the face of Life’s monsters and perilous journeys are transmitted to our kids.
Now some might label it frivolous but I say it’s a critical investment. Yes, STEM them chillun ’til they wins the Nobel Prize, but this is more than coding classes or the latest tablet/phone. This is heart, not mind, and I suspect this is probably one of the simplest but most profound investments a parent or guardian can make in a child. And all you need is a book. A library card. And an hour or two per week.
Now I’m not equating ‘St Strelok’ with Willy Wonka or Treasure Island. God no. I’m just letting folks know they can listen to two of my stories on their Kindle or phone or whatever device now. I think the narrators did an excellent job and I hope you will too. Please give them a listen or recommend them to a friend who likes my kind of stuff. Fire off a review if you can. It’s nice to get feedback.
Thanks for reading. Have a great day.
Note to self: find that hard cover copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
*** Other Links
Click to see those two stories at AMAZON.