A friend of mine simply adores Tim Pratt and so my curiosity was piqued when I saw this short story collection in the bookstore. Little Gods isn’t thick by any means (at under 300 pages) but it does include 14 short stories.
First off, I really, really love the book design. Second, the book has an introduction by Michaela Rossner, and then an afterword in which Tim Pratt talks about his stories. As for the stories themselves, the adjective that best describes them is “elegant.” Whether Pratt’s stories are very, very short (and seem to end abruptly) or long, his writing style is beautiful in its simplicity — not elaborate and filled with overdone descriptions, but rather the type that anyone can appreciate. Pratt’s endings tend to be open, yet there’s enough closure for them to be considered an actual story.
Little Gods is aptly titled because many of the stories in this collection deal with the mythical on some level — perhaps the short story equivalent of Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman series (but Pratt narrates them in his own unique way). Pratt is also not afraid to venture into other genres; “Bleeding West” is a western and “Captain Fantasy and the Secret Masters” is a superhero story.
Here are my favorite three short stories in this collection: “The Witch’s Bicycle” is a coming of age story of sorts that puts a new twist on romance. It’s well developed and the various characters are given enough limelight that the reader can understand their motivations. “Annabelle’s Alphabet” is composed of twenty-six mini-narratives, one for each letter of the alphabet. Pacing is key here as a seemingly mundane tale evolves into something quite different. “Entropy’s Paintbrush” is another well-crafted story that culminates in a satisfying ending.
Little Gods is a great collection that I think almost anyone can enjoy. It’s certainly a refreshing read that showcases the best of speculative fiction.
FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.