Anthology/Book Reviews

Magazine Review: freeze frame fiction, volume ii

I love reading.  I love getting wrapped up in a story.  But I don’t always have a ton of time to devote to getting absorbed in a novel–especially when I’m writing stories of my own.  So magazines like freeze frame fiction hit the absolute sweet spot, delivering excellent stories in small fragments that I can easily zip through on a break at work or waiting at the doctor’s office.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to freeze frame fiction with a review of their second volume.


 

Art by Luke Spooner http://www.carrionhouse.com/
Art by Luke Spooner http://www.carrionhouse.com/

freeze frame fiction

volume ii TOC

Your Elegant Noose by Ani King

Digging by Anna Zumbro

Notes from Interstellar Voyage Aquaria 51 Found in Abandoned Machinery by Jude-Marie Green

The Great Gildsby by Soren James

How Is It Supposed To Feel? by Jon Mcgill

Of Baggage and Bovines by Rebecca Allred

Jasmin by Helle Zinck

Hung out to dry by T.L. Krawec

With ebook cover art and illustrations by Luke Spooner


Art by Luke Spooner

The cover art for volume ii is absolutely delightful.  It speaks to me personally as I’m a huge fan of all things robot, cyborg, you name it, and that’s the feel I get from the cover.  Every story in this volume is illustrated–all of them with these rich dark colors and great capture of emotion.  I’ve always loved good cover art and Spooner definitely knocks it out of the park for freeze frame fiction.


Your Elegant Noose by Ani King

You saw your end coming.  Even as a child you knew you had an expiration date: purple numbers stamped into your flesh.  They were smudged and impossible to read.

How can you not want to keep reading after an opening like that? “Your Elegant Noose” gripped me from the very first line and held me rapt until the last one.  This story holds some damn impressive writing.   It’s a powerful story of addiction and agony, gorgeously delivered in tight but meaningful sentences and images.


Digging by Anna Zumbro

“Digging” proved to be a puzzle of a story for me.  I’m not sure I quite put all the puzzle pieces together, but I do enjoy a story that makes me work for the payoff a little  The ending is especially solid.  All throughout this piece, the writing is tight and economical (in a delightful way) and the use of repetition creates a nice rhythm and sense of security.


Notes from the Interstellar Voyage Aquaria 51 Found in Abandoned Machinery by Jude-Marie Green

“You’re a tool, a machine.  You can’t love.”  He turned his back and walked away.

Can you? she thought.  But didn’t say.

This story has one of the best last lines in the whole collection.  I won’t spoil it, but it’s one of those lines that you read and immediately sit back, grinning, ’cause the author drove the story home on exactly the right note.  This is a beautiful story, rolled out at just the right pace.  There are so many excellent clever lines that had me smiling as I read.  Definitely an enjoyable story.


The Great Gildsby by Soren James

When a story uses the words “rogue homunculi-missionaries” you know it’s going to be good.  “The Great Gildsby” has to be one of the more quirky and amusing tales in this collection.  Although the change came a bit fast at the end–it’s hard to avoid that in the narrow confines of flash fiction–I really enjoyed the read.  It’s this balance of quirky and dark that makes freeze frame fiction a very well balanced and enjoyable experience.


How Is It Supposed to Feel? by Jon Mcgill

As a fan of sentence fragments, I have to say this is the ultimate fragment story!  It offers beautiful and painful glimpses of a much bigger story: desperation and despair and brief flashes of light and love.  This story is life, beautifully and tragically wrapped.


Of Baggage and Bovines by Rebecca Allred

To me, the bodies–in original condition or complete with upgrades–were nothing but empty baggage, and each body mod was just a stamp documenting the bearer’s journey through life.  It didn’t matter who they were, or where they’d been; I’d carve a Y in them just the same–one last stamp to commemorate their arrival at life’s final destination.

With a title like that, you’d think this story would be the light and quirky tale of the volume.  Not so, but I wasn’t disappointed.  This piece is short and snappy, with some great emotional depth.  The best stories, in my opinion, involve the growth, change, or gaining of knowledge/insight by the main character; “Of Baggage and Bovines” delivers that and more in just a few pages.


Jasmin by Helle Zinck

This is probably my favorite story in the whole volume.  It’s such a tragic tale, brilliantly told.  Jasmin is driven to acts we see as despicable, and yet with a deft hand Helle made me care for her.  The passage of time is perfectly orchestrated, covering many years with ease and a smooth quality I envy.  And the end is perfect–that feather-touch that leaves me certain of the outcome, yet grants me the thrill of figuring out the puzzle on my own.


Hung Out To Dry by T.L. Krawec

This story was solidly written with some funny lines–but it just wasn’t for me.  I know the narrator wasn’t participating, but the bidding war for the right to a woman’s body just left me rather unhappy.  Furthermore, the characterization of the ‘bad’ character as some fat slob felt a bit cliche.  It’s easy to pick on fat people and describe them as these gross hulking morons.  Again, though, the writing was quite solid and the pace never lagged.  While this piece doesn’t work for me personally, it may leave others more satisfied.


…Summary

So, definitely an enjoyable collection of fiction to be had in freeze frame fiction, volume ii.  As with any collection of fiction, there’s always going to be one or two stories that I don’t connect with personally and I don’t think that reflects negatively on the magazine.  Every one of these stories is well written and a quick read.  So many of them are gorgeous and dark and powerful, and then there’s a few quirky ones to spice things up a bit.

In terms of author diversity, I was really happy to see five woman and three men represented in this volume.  It’s not something I thought about consciously as I was reading, but I always like to go back and see how the numbers fall.  Volume ii did not disappoint!

If you haven’t had a chance yet to check out this issue, you can pick up a copy on Amazon or by supporting the magazine them via the support page on their website.

Be sure to check out freeze frame fiction’s latest issues as well!

Happy Reading!

Alexis

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