The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen

I have been actively working on reading more short stories lately, and seeing this one offered through the First to Read program gave me a great opportunity to try this collection. Here is my review:

Summary (Goodreads): 


Just because Jenny was born without a head doesn’t mean she isn’t still annoying to her older brother, and just because the Man of the Future’s carefully planned extramarital affair ends in alien abduction and network fame doesn’t mean he can’t still pine for his absent wife. Romping through the fantastic with big-hearted ease, these stories cut to the core of what it means to navigate family, faith, and longing, whether in the form of a lovesick kraken slowly dragging a ship of sailors into the sea, a small town euthanizing its grandfathers in a time-honored ritual, or a third-grade field trip learning that time travel is even more wondrous–and more perilous–than they might imagine.

Review: This was a very interesting selection of stories but it just didn’t do it for me.

I think the problem I faced was that the stories didn’t have enough of a plot to keep me going. The stories were all very interesting, blending science fiction with literary fiction and mixing up different time points. But the stories were just … there. Nothing really happened. There was no catalyst, no change, no sense of a build up. The stories fell flat for me because they just seemed like descriptions of a different time and place, rather than any specific event that I could focus on.

It was also hard for me to connect with the characters. There was no emotional connection with them, and they felt very two-dimensional. It made it hard for me to want to continue reading the stories when I couldn’t care about what was happening for them.

I think that this was a collection that was unique in its blend of literary and science fiction. However, the lack of plot in the stories combined with the lack of emotional connection with the characters meant that it fell short for me. I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.


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