STORM DAMAGE: FINALIST FOR BEST SHORT STORY COLLECTION AWARD 2013 by John A. A. Logan
I was offline throughout May, so I Googled my name in June to see if anything had happened out there on the internet ether while I wasn’t looking.
The first discovery was this piece on the blog, NOVELIST ONLINE ONPAPER, by Kenneth C. Crowe:
“SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2013
John A.A. Logan, a great writer
It has been a while since I’ve found a great writer--and John A. A. Logan is certainly one. If there were a genre called “unsparing,” that is where I would list Logan’s novel, THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD. He grips the reader in the opening chapter by portraying a universal symbol of modern times, an aggressive driver whose irresponsibility wreaks havoc in other people’s lives. The protagonist in question appears different from you and I—and he is. The characters Logan creates in this story of a fatal traffic accident, spiced by cowardice, are universally selfish with some being essentially cruel. Unexpectedly, one character emerges who refuses to cross the line into evil. Logan provides a supernatural touch to THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD through the presence of white butterflies, feral cats, and mysterious gases rising from the earth. In Celtic lore, butterflies are symbols of souls separated from the body. In Logan’s novel, they obviously are the unresting murdered. Logan is a literary writer; THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD is for readers who hunger for substance in a novel.”
I had never had any contact with Mr Crowe, so Googled him to find that he is a former Newsday journalist, and author of books published in the USA by Scribner and Doubleday, as well as being “a member of the Newsday investigative team whose work won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal”, and now also an Indie ebook author:
The next discovery during this June Google to find out what had happened during my May absence, was the following piece about my short story collection, Storm Damage, on Davetopia, the blog of author, Dave Higgins:
“24TH MAY 2013
Storm Damage by John A. A. Logan
This collection contains ten stories which span genres from psychological horror to fantasy, from thriller to mundane realism, but all are united by their strong characterisation and engaging style.
Unicorn One: When Scotland sends their first rocket out to explore the Solar system, they send not a scientist or a technician but a hairdresser.
Late Testing: Although the Great War has forced modernity on the cities, in the depths of the country people still believe in witches.
Napoleon’s Child: A team is sent to check on the state of a series of mysterious beacons deep in the desert, but all their operator cares about is a native child who wandered in from the night.
At The Edge of The Known World: A girl watches a cruel Ringmaster struggle to control the circus.
The Magenta Tapestry: With the end of the USSR bringing economic collapse as well as freedom, the inhabitants of a decaying mansion cannot ignore an offer from the Russian Mafia.
The Airman: The last flight of a WWII bomber pilot echoes down history to a descendant of a pilot.
The Pond: a millionaire meets with his lawyer to discuss the purchase of a theatre, but reveals a different goal.
The Orange Pig: shunned by other pigs for his unnatural colour, the orange pig dreams of a greater destiny.
Storm Damage: a man tries to claim on insurance for damage to his father’s farm.
Sometimes All The World Comes Down: a man sees wild animals walking among the remnants of civilisation, but are his perceptions accurate?
Apart from Late Testing and The Airman, each of the stories is told from the point of view of a single character, giving a both flawed and human perspective on events. Whether the plot turns on the threat of death or a burst drain pipe, the real events of each story occur in the head of the narrators.
As well as the solid characterisation, each story is written in fluid prose which references – but is not constrained by – the conventions of the respective genres. Where the events are fantastical the story is equally strong as genre fiction and magical realism.
Although each story is both a fragment of a unique life set in an individual universe, all the stories also comment on the self-delusion and pretension of society in various ways. From the desperate reverse elitism of Unicorn One to the pettiness of grudges in The Pond, no-one escapes their own imperfections.
Overall I enjoyed this book greatly. I would recommend it particularly to people who enjoy character-driven stories and those seeking an example of creating flawed narrators.
I received a free copy of this book.”
I’d also never had any contact with Mr Higgins, so he must have picked up one of the 2000 free ebook copies of Storm Damage which were taken in January this year during the book’s only 5-day free promotion.
Here is the link to Mr Higgins’ site, DAVETOPIA:
Perhaps, Dave’s review of Storm Damage brought the ebook a little bit of luck out of the internet ether, because on 1st July it was announced that Storm Damage is a finalist for Best Short Story Collection in the 2013 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBooks Awards.
Voting is now open and if any Storm Damage fans out there would like to vote for the ebook, here is the link to go to (it’s necessary to register on the site before voting, via a link at the top of that page):
Voting instructions for the Efestival of Words site:
1. You must be registered at the eFestival of Words to vote. Registration is free. Please note, after you hit “Submit” your registration is complete. You don’t have to do anything with the ad that shows up after you click “Submit.” Some people think this is part of the registration process. It isn’t. The ads help pay for the site so feel free to check them out if you like, but you are not required to do anything with them. It’s just the way the forum is set up.
2. Once you are registered, go to the Awards Hall.
3. Each category has a separate thread in the Awards Hall where readers can discuss the finalists. Click on the category you want to vote in, and then enter your vote!
4. Please note, only one vote per member. Multiple accounts for purposes of voting prohibited.