Written by: Vitina Molgaard
‘Only the faces of the world change, not the forces.’ – Excerpt from “Forces”
Mike Robinson has created 19 delightful short stories within this, his latest book, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray. Having read his previous novels I found this to be quite the different experience. The decision to add, “A Collection of Weird Fiction,” to the title is certainly accurate as Mr. Robinson never ceases to amaze me with his varied works.
‘The Hero’s Journey’ is a nice standout tale in which we meet Pat, an astrophysics doctorial candidate with an over inflated ego. He is about to take a short walk into an unexpected reality. And what a surprise he unearths when he learns – for the first time – that he’s little more than another piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of life.
‘High Stakes’ offers us a night out at the local bar, which is tended by Joe Mullard – an average sort of man. This night however is clearly not average, it is in fact quite different from the norm; tonight there are two unusual men lingering about the establishment. Well dressed and just a bit off in a weird but agreeable way. They’re about to play an interesting and unusual game of pool called ‘World or Souls’ (getting an idea of the concept?), and when these two play, they play for keeps and the stakes are definitely high.
‘Forces’ homes in on Zoe, who somehow finds herself in an alternate world with no idea of how or why she’s there. But the intrigue comes in the discovery that sometimes the unknown offers something far more appealing than that which we know of everyday life.
These are but a few of my personal favorites. And the content of this collection is so different and thoroughly enjoyable that I’m tempted to disclose the details of each and every story included. But time is fleeting, and I have no intention to potentially spoil a wondrous read. However, if you’re a reader who prefers to scan for the genuine highlights of anthologies, look into ‘Rummages in the Room’ (a piece worthy of expansion), ‘She and He’, which boasts an amazing climax and ‘1111’, which dabbles with the idea of reincarnation in a fantastical manner.
Do not miss out on this anthology. Even if you’re foreign to Mike’s work, you’re in for a thrilling experience that’s likely to leave you in search of his previous efforts. This one covers so many aspects of horror, speculative fiction, paranormal material and humor that it’s all but impossible to avoid the allure of Robinson’s other works.