Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Sea Was A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
As is usual with short story collections, these vary. I very much liked the first one, On the Seventh Day, set on board ship, and hoped it set the scene for the quality of the rest of them.
The ideas behind the stories were entertaining; Mr Demmer creates atmosphere well, and has a good sense of suspense and timing, so although there were no dropped-jaw-worthy twists or denouements, I still enjoyed reading most of them. Some hinted at a larger story, which was artfully carried off.
What weakened the collection, for me, was the dialogue, which was often unrealistic; I kept thinking, ‘but people don’t talk like that’. Not in all of the stories, just some. I thought some of them were a little over-written, too, and unnecessarily wordy; sometimes, ‘stink’ works better than ‘pungent aroma’; knowing when to be spare with prose is one of the arts of great storytelling.
Others that stood out were the title story, The Sea was a Fair Master, The Snake, or the Humans?, and the last one, Sea Ate Nine.
I think if the author spends more time on his dialogue and perhaps thinking up some really good twists in the tale now and again, to make them more memorable, he could do very well in this genre; he certainly has talent. And if he ever turns his hand to longer fiction, it should definitely be set at sea.
The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.