Genre: Short Story Collection/Science Fiction
“Why is that big cat smiling?
Booze shelf—second from right—that's not a bottle!
What is an alien doing in a book of train stories?
Stash is the Red Caboose's resident raconteur. He trades tales of his railroading adventures for beer and Caboose-owner Laughing Crow's occasional dinner ‘specials.’ When a stranger arrives and takes more than an ordinary interest in Stash's stories, it becomes a question as to which of the raconteur's tales are fable, and which—if any—are true.
Tales from the Red Caboose is a linked collection of five train stories, each of which goes off the rails just enough to make the SF reader want to come along for the ride.”
Short story author, editor, and writing instructor, Joseph Erhardt is at work on a novel.
Five short stories that are “linked,” whatever that means. It appears that means that while each story could stand alone, they share a lot of things that matter (characters, setting, etc.) and possibly things that might not (the valuable skill of lock picking figures in to each story, the apparently-not-as-valuable skill of hotwiring a car gets a mention in each as well). The stories also, when taken as a whole, tell a more complete story.
This was an enjoyable read and unique, both in plot and structure. If you like clever short stories, this might be for you. If you like to mix shorter reads in between longer novels, even if you don’t usually go for short stories or collections, this might be a change of pace you’d enjoy too.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words