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Night of the Bunnyman

In the deepest heart of rural Kentucky, there is a community of “plain people” even more separatist and reclusive than the mainstream Amish. They are the Amish of the Amish—the Rebel Amish—and they hide a murderous secret disguised as a myth.

Night of the Bunnyman is an 8,000-word novelette.


My Rating & Review

As a teenager growing up in the Central Texas woods of twisted mesquites, prickly pears, and brutal jumping cactus, I’ve hunted my fair share of rabbits. I’ve skinned a few, too. I vividly remember hanging their hind legs off a gnarled limb with a bit of baling wire, then exposing their thin, red bodies as I stripped their fur off in one long sheet. As I read Bunker ‘s Bunnyman those memories came flooding back to me. Other than this, my memories have nothing else to do with the story. I digress.

I’ve read several of Bunker’s stories, and have appreciated them all, in one way or another. This one also delivers. In it, Bunker’s storytelling tone is conversational, which is nice. Plus, the story held my attention to the end. Lately, I’ve found my mind wandering when trying to read. That’s frustrating as I thought I was doomed to never enjoy a story again. Turns out I was just going through the motions. Or something.

Anyway, the story has some violence, but it’s necessary for it to be told. it is horror, after all, so there’s that.

What I appreciate most about Bunnyman is it blurs the line between legend and reality. It’s a make-believe story that seems believable. Plus, broadfall pants makes a cameo appearance. You cannot have a proper Bunker story without broadfalls.

That’s pretty much it for this review. Bunnyman’s a good story. Buy it and read it. And never kill what you don’t intend to eat.

What’s Your Personal Monster?

Everyone has been scared by some personal monster, tailored just for us. We’ve all been terrified by the unknown slobbering thing under our bed to the point that we believe we’re going to die of fright. It may seem ridiculous in the morning, but at night it’s as real as the covers we pull over our head.

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Synchronic

My Review:
The collection is a treat if you are into time travel or just looking for some great speculative fiction short stories. I’m going to limit myself and use only a couple of sentences to sum up my impression after reading each story, because if I don’t I can ramble on for days, making my own short story.

Santa Anna’s Gold – Michael introduces us to a man who is out of his time and out of his mind. The story has a rugged feel to it, as rugged as the Texas land where it takes place.
Corrections – Susan writes an intense thriller of a person who relives moments in convicted murderers’ lives. I faced this story like when I watched Poltergeist as a child; with my hands in front of my eyes, peeking around the edges. It creeped me out.
Hereafter – Samuel writes a beautiful story of love between a traveler and an unsuspecting lady. Fine literary fiction within a speculative backdrop.
The Swimming Pool of the Universe – Forget his comparison to Hemingway. Nick is a modern day PKD. Enough said.
Reentry Window – Eric’s ability to spin a yarn about space flight makes me think I’m reading an astronaut’s memoir, that’s how sure and precise his writing is.
The River – Jennifer weaves a complicated story of regret and redo.
A Word in Pompey’s Ear – Christopher gives us a lesson, not only of history, but of pride.
Rock or Shell – Ann takes us for a metaphysical ride on a mattress. Her story has an ethereal quality to it, as fleeting as the fog.
The Mirror – A haunting story of a man, a woman, a mirror,  and a superstition. Irving writes the story predominantly in narrative, like it was pulled from a diary. It is compelling.
Reset – MeiLin gives us a story told not through the time traveler, but through her friend; a witness to the repercussions of reliving life. It’s a unique and interesting take on the typical time travel story.
The Laurasians – Isaac gives us a roller coaster, Jurassic Park-esque tale. The dinosaurs also win in this story.
The First Cut – Edward’s story is a glimpse of a future world, a disturbing occupation, and a good old whodunit.
The Dark Age – Jason weaves a tale of a family split by duty. It resonates with the pain of loss that transcends the story.

There are curse words spattered here and there, including one or two F-bombs. But the stories aren’t saturated in profanity. There’s also a couple of passing mentions of sex. Some violence, with one story (Corrections) having some particularly grotesque descriptions.

If you are shopping for entertaining, short, time-travel stories, then you definitely have to purchase this. Click that “BUY NOW” button now.

Pennsylvania Omnibus

My Review:
I’ve posted reviews of Pennsylvania, Parts one and two, and now this review is of the five installment omnibus, the novel. I will gloss over many of the finer plot points because I don’t want to be a spoiler for anyone. 🙂

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m a fan of Michael Bunker. So he would have to do something completely out of character in his story for me to have issues with it. But like always, he is consistent, and the remaining three installments of Pennsylvania lives up to my expectations.

Since this was my first Amish Sci-Fi, I didn’t know what to expect. Would everyone be named Yoder (although there is ONE Yoder family)? Would the story center around quilting and wood furniture sold to tourists? With those caricatures aside, I find the story to be entertaining, while at the same time showing a segment of religious stalwarts thrust against a technological future and having to find their niche in a hostile world. I also find Pennsylvania refreshing because it’s a science fiction story has room for God, and not in a derogatory fashion. While the book isn’t Christian fiction, it shows a people that rely on their faith and their God while having to deal with the actions of others.

When Bunker speaks of the “plain” people, you can tell that he has taken pains to pay due respect to a people that has resisted societal ebbs and flows. His writing is genuine concerning them, and it makes for a realistic story foundation. The story itself moves along well, with many plot twists and turns. For a while in the thick of it, I found myself second-guessing character actions and motives. I think that makes for some good reading.

There are a couple of d*mns and h*lls, and several instances of battle violence. I appreciate Pennsylvania not because of this, but at how sparingly Bunker used them. I didn’t have to worry about hard cursing, graphic violence, sex, zombies, or vampires. It makes for a novel that I would have no trouble recommending to my mother (if she ever asked me for a good Amish Sci-Fi book). So in all, if you are looking for a good science fiction read, then pick up the Pennsylvania Omnibus. You will not be disappointed.

From the Indie Side

My Review:

I enjoy a good story. To help alleviate my ongoing dilemma of finding good stories, Michael Bunker, one of the featured authors in this anthology, provided me an Advance Review Copy of From the Indie Side (FTIS).

FTIS is an eclectic anthology of short stories, written by some of the premiere names in the indie author movement. Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe not. Either way, the authors, for one reason or another, decided to self-publish their work, not going the “traditional” publishing route. This freedom of movement adds to the dynamic nature of the anthology.

Like any good collection of shorts, FTIS offers a wide range of styles and genres. From the looming planet on the cover (also designed by one of the authors-these guys and gals are talented), you get the impression that sci-fi is a common thread throughout the collection. While this is the case, sci-fi is where the similarity begins but also where it ends. Just as every author has their own voice, so every story carries its own unique vibe. If you’re looking for quirky, it’s there. You’ll also find young adult, post-apocalyptic, dystopia, and urban fantasy. Maybe even a vampire or two. Even though these terms can help define sub-genres, they only paint a one-dimensional portrait of the quality of writing. True to the indie initiative, the stories defy pigeon-holing into a simple genre or sub-genre. They are dynamic and entertaining, crossing conventional boundaries of typical, formulaic stories. That is the heart of indie. If this is what you’re looking for, then pick up a copy (download to Kindle) of FTIS.

What’s more, I enjoyed the author comments at the end of each story. Some talk of the inspiration for their story. Others provide a hint of an underlying idea woven in the fabric of the words (you know those authors, always planting subtle ideas in their stories). Each one speaks with pride for their work. You can feel the care and passion they put into their craft.

I have my own tastes. I liked some stories more than others and liked some writing styles more than others. But then, isn’t that the beauty of anthologies? You get to try and experience a wide range of authors. But as a whole, FTIS is a worthwhile, entertaining investment. So if you’ve heard of indie authors and have wondered what the buzz is about, then grab a copy of FTIS and see for yourself. You will not be disappointed, and you will mostly likely end up with a list of many more authors to follow.

Futurity

My Review:

By now I have read several Michael Bunker stories. So when I saw Futurity on sale, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did.

The story is about Malcolm, a college-age man with a burning curiosity to learn about time travel. He gets to meet a couple of professors who enlighten him on time travel. But what he discovers when he visits one of them will put in motion events beyond his imagination.

Michael tells the story first person, through Malcolm’s eyes. The narration has a journal entry feel, a conversational tone, to it. But this is fitting because the story begins with Malcolm interviewing professors, scribbling notes. Michael takes plenty of words to explain how time travel might be possible to the point you start thinking it is plausible. I guess that’s what good stories do for you.

As a Christian and a reader of sci-fi, I’ve developed thick skin when reading fiction. Many stories take concerted efforts to attack religion and Christianity, either directly or indirectly, which is fine, because (for whatever reason) the author felt it important. Michael takes the opposite approach, incorporating aspects of a Universal Creator in a fictional, entertaining story. It’s refreshing.

Even though I typically steer clear of time travel (time zones still confuse me), it seems like many stories I’ve read lately deal with it. In the case of Futurity, it was enjoyable.