While the rumor stating all work found on sites such as Smashwords and the like (cheap eBooks written by amateurs) claims these works aren’t worth the price paid (even when the work is free, which is so common), it’s actually quite easy to prove these rumors false. Not only false, but really a pile of hogwash. The truth of the matter is there are endless selections of quality works wherever these independent publications, written by independent writers, are found.
A perfect example of this is the anthology, 24:01 One Minute After, written by Eric Diehl. This collection of short stories contains eleven somewhat long short stories that are all written exceedingly well. The stories are well written, edited by a fastidious eye, and as unique as anything could be. This is a wonderful read for anyone who enjoys good reading, and the price just cannot be beat.
24:01 One Minute After is absolutely free.
Because this talented author has a few other titles to offer for a (nominal and fair) price, this title seems to be a free introduction. It seems that should one enjoy this book, then there’s more to be enjoyed. Not only is this a good idea just from a business perspective, but it demonstrates a high degree of confidence on the part of the author. Eric Diehl seems more than confident that he could sell copies of work for sale after prospective readers get a load of this. If this is his mindset, there would be good reason for it.
The eleven stories are all exceptional in their own right, so they should be mentioned as such. The first story in the collection is entitled, Nanny, which proves a fitting title. Nanny is a fun and original science fiction/horror story involving nanotechnology. This story demonstrates exemplary originality on the part of the author. Not only that, but it also demonstrates a capacity for horror within him combined with a sharp understanding of theoretical science fiction. Science and the Greater Good, which is among the later stories in the collection, also involves a wonderful mesh of drama and cold science. Sometimes you have to wonder about the draw to the adventures of the bad guys, and those who create them…
There are a few stories within this collection that really delve into the realm of true, classic fantasy without the science fiction, but rest assured that there is nothing missing. Diehl is a truly talented writer who brings his readers a grand adventure every time. A Simple Trade could be deemed a rather classic piece placed in times of yore, with all the scenes and characters reminiscent of a bygone era. Edgar is a fun fantasy story showing us yet more of the wondrous mind within Diehl, along with his penchant for some dire consequences to losing. Edgar is quite fun and also quite fantastic. The same could be said about the clever story, Galinda.
While there is a lot of fantasy and imaginative science fiction within this collection, some of these stories offer plenty in a yeah, I guess it could happen sort of way. A Kingdom for the Taking is a period piece from the days of kingdoms revolving around grand castles, but it possesses a very familiar issue of plot twists among common dysfunction in the family ranks. Vedara Lightstar is a classic science fiction story without the over-the-top sci-fi, but possessing of what many think much of the future might offer. However, the drama ensuing within this tale is something only from the mind of a very inspired mind. But Vedara’s ad ventures are fun and inspiring, whereas issues are not so light and sunny for the characters within A Second Rising. Hey, sometimes humanity’s arrogant position of superiority can be challenged. But then, humanity can be at its best when things are at their worst.
A Darkness of Spirit: We have seen many stories come and go where these stories once involved soulless villains focused only on one evil, but lately these former villainous sorts are now complex characters with real lives and issues. Take your vampires as an easy example. Well, in this story, we’re brought to another side of a story we might not have thought had another side. With Spirits of the ‘Cane, this is a unique tale combining two very scary situations when one is trapped at home. One of them is dealing with ghosts. The other is dealing with a powerful hurricane.
What’s great about this story is the method in which Diehl moves back and forth in the timeline, from earlier to a more present moment. This is a great way to build the tension and lead the reader to something exciting, with the story having something of an open ending. This ingenious method only adds to the remarkable fun this story offers, again reminding us just what we have in a great writer. And don’t forget The Roots of Fate as a fun story full of fun and sorcery.
Eric Diehl proves himself to not just be a remarkable and talented writer, but gives so much credence to the claim that exquisite books can be found at places such as Smashwords. While it is true that the reader just might have to work through works poorly written and edited worse, it is equally true that there are wonderful and well-written books and collections as good as anything available anywhere.
I came across Eric Diehl’s work merely by accident while looking for books really at random. I have a habit of browsing through the works at places like Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel and others, like Amazon, often looking for books that aren’t just inexpensive or free, but written by someone surely unknown by the average reader. For some time, I have avoided the mainstream offerings in order to pluck from where the fruits are obscure. It is because of works from excellent writers such as Eric Diehl that I do this and will continue to do so with great confidence.
Roddy J Dryer is the author of The Egocentric Predicament and Tangled in Climbing Nightshade.