This short story collection opens the doors to incredible worlds and leads you confidently through thought provoking and poignant themes via a delicious cast of characters - both human and...not human.
There was a moment in the first story abut a custodian of a mysterious door where I did an awkward out loud snort laugh and I knew I was in safe hands and was going to enjoy this collection. Handley writes and constructs with deft assurance and that compels you to join in the gleeful ride across the universe. Whether you you want to take a bite of one just one story at a time, or race through in one go - this is a collection to savour.
Philosopher, author, and poet Dr Rachel Handley has drawn together a wide variety of stories that hop across the universe introducing us to imaginative characters and worlds, and posing challenging questions. There are definite thematic links as well as some stories that clearly inhabit the same narrative world - as Rachel herself says, these are little easter eggs for you to find and I did find myself flicking between stories and getting a thrill of "oohhh, right!" when making a connection.
There is a real sense of joy and playfulness in exploring wild ideas and the "possible" in the title is really pushed - a world of intelligent crabs anyone? Although some stories definitely have the potential to be explored further, there is also something satisfying about being able to get these shot sharp blasts of a different place and an idea and then move on. In our podcast chat, Rachel expands on this by saying that whilst she can see potential for the title story to be developed, she is already working on a novel - and it has nothing to do with these stories. I can't wait to see where it takes us.
The inherent fun of these stories is best illustrated through the humour that pierces most pages. It immediately reminded me of Red Dwarf and Terry Pratchett, so it was gratifying to hear Rachel say they were favourites growing up. If you are thinking "Hang on, I like Pratchett and Red Dwarf" then I can say with some confidence that I think you'll get a kick out of Possible Worlds and Other Stories.
Possible Worlds and Other Stories is available from bookstores and online and you can find links to get it right here, along with social media and website for Dr Rachel Handley: https://linktr.ee/_rachelhandley
Go to the podcast above (or follow the links to where you normally get your podcasts) to listen the interview with Rachel and hear about how the themes were drawn together, where the inspiration for the humour comes from, and how she approaches world building.
My biscuit rating?
Mini Iced Gems - bite sized treats that are great to enjoy one by one or all at once.
(Apologies for no transcription of this interview - it was the plan but then I got covid, and then some other bug and now I'm waaaay behind. Hopefully I will get chance to revisit and get it sorted.)