Honestly, one of the best parts about being a writer is that you get sneak peeks. Today’s anthology is one I got to read it a couple of months ago, before it would be available. You’re in for a treat.
As I’ve mentioned before in Sunday Shorts, I loved linked short fiction. This anthology, The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg: America’s Worst City takes this and runs with it. Characters all centre out said awful city, but some weave in and out of various stories, popping into one tale only to appear again, later, as a guest star in another character’s tale.
So, how bad could a bad city be?
Welcome to Bustleburg. The fire department has been on strike since the second world war, but the local fire extinguisher company is doing booming business. The town’s official flower is the dandelion – by default, since the chemicals belched into the air, water, and soil have wiped out anything less hardy. The only trees are used for unmarked graves. The haves and the have-nots are fiercely divided, the church claims responsibility for natural disasters, the hospital is only funded when someone clever enough tricks it into happening, and there’s a bridge that takes days to cross, thanks to nightmarish urban planning.
You’d never want to live here, but you’re going to love your visit.
So, yeah. Things in Bustleburg are bad. But the folks who call this place home aren’t going down without a fight. This American city-gone-completely-wrong is full of strife, sure, but there are always those who bloom in the face of catastrophic adversity.
With a Wodehouse slyness, Misfit’s characters manoeuvre through the insanity with plans just so crazy they might work, and the reader is left with a smile at the end of each tale. Vampires blotting out the sun with pollution? Socialites scheming to one-up the new girl right out the door of high society? Gangs keeping the streets safe from well-meaning sociology majors? Demonic umbrella hexes? True Love’s price in the form of an endlessly screaming toddler? No problem. In Bustleburg, there may be a million things wrong, but there’s also someone willing to cobble together a potential solution.
And there’s usually a fire extinguisher nearby. Just in case.
Seriously, this collection had me grinning ear-to-ear, and if you’re in the mood for something light and a wee bit zany that zigs when you’re expecting a zag, pick it up.