I have never been a short story enthusiast, nor one for anthologies. Give me the long story…the deep world…or better yet, an extended series.
The number one current marketing tip is…write more books…novelettes…short stories.
Recently, thanks to Hugh Howey and others, the teaser and then, follow-up novels have become touted as a way to accumulate readers.
I tried Hugh Howey’s first book, Wool, and this week followed that with book 2, Wool: Proper Gauge. I must admit I spent money to get it, but I was impressed with the writing and very much enjoyed it. And it didn’t cost that much.
I plan to read more.
In book one, the reader is introduced to the world of the silo where humanity is trapped by a hostile world inside a huge one hundred forty-four level living space. The sheriff, Holston, believes that the bleak landscape that they see through the begrimed windows is a lie, as did his wife before him, and he volunteers to go out and clean the other side of the contaminated lenses. The poignant story of this event runs about forty-nine pages.
Book two, Wool: Proper Gauge continues the story as the aging mayor Jahns and her assistant, Marnes, have to now find a new sheriff for the Silo community. Very cleverly, Howey places Marne’s top candidate at the bottom of the Silo, and the Mayor and Marnes travel down all one hundred and forty-four levels in an attempt to interview her and persuade her to accept the position.
What you get is a fascinating look at the Silo community at various levels and an interesting mystery concerning the controversial candidate…Juliette, a mechanic servicing the engines of the Silo at the bottom.
An additional obstacle crops up in the form of Bernard, who runs IT and appears to be trying to gather power and control over the Silo. He suggests another candidate and is startled when Mayor Jahns rejects his signed, sealed and delivered choice. A dangerous move on her part.
A shocking twist at the end wets the reader’s appetite for book three.
Not content to open a whole new way of delivering a fascinating story, Howey has opened his world to other authors who are now publishing their own stories within the Silo universe.
Another set of authors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, are bringing out novelettes and adding them to the already best selling novels of the Liadon Universe. They are offering these shorter stories for anywhere from $1.99 and up.
I recently read Courier Run. I picked it because it is a back story on the relationship between Daav yos Phelium, Delm Korval, and Aelliana Caylon when they were first starting out as courier pilots on Ride the Luck. And it was only $2.99 and an easy read.
I also wanted to learn further about Daav, since I had recently read Fledgling, Saltation, and Ghost Ship in which he plays an older father and background part.
I was in the Liadon Universe and thirsty for more.
For those who have read Agent of Change, and Carpe Diem, and know Daav, Courier Run is a fun filled story about an upper class romance, a mother, a daughter and a ring in a tricky insurance fraud shell game. Daav and Aelliana are tasked to deliver a priceless ring to a museum, but the daughter has already gifted this ring to her paramour. Quick thinking is in order for Aelliana and co-pilot Daav as they deliver the ring on Ride the Luck.
The second story in this set is “Kinship” and finishes up the story in Changeling, which tells Ren Zel’s story of “death” and ostracism through the hands of a treacherous clan leader. In “Kin Ties” he returns home and faces true death at the hands of the clan leader’s descendent who blames him for the death of her mother and the collapse of her clan.
As always, Miller and Smith deliver. In this case reading Changeling first would make “Kinship” more understandable, but the two stand on their own in the Liadon series.
In the past, both these novelettes would be too short to find on a bookstore shelf unless buried in an anthology, but the new world of publishing and how we read has open up the door, and these tasty helpings on the buffet table of a popular series are well worth sampling.