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Around the Dark Dial: An Old Timey Collection of Scifi Shorts

Around the Dark Dial by JD Sanderson

So despite being an avid reader and blogger of all of these book reviews, I do write. And I have published quite a few short stories and novellas. I ever been successful but with unemployment and craziness of the world nowadays, I have been putting effort into getting my work advertised and have been doing so partially through the Writing Community corner of Twitter. And there I saw an ad for an anthology from another fellow indie author and I thought I would give it a try. So here is my review of Around the Dark Dial by J.D. Sanderson.

So what is it about? It is an anthology of scifi short stories, with a very 1950s, almost radio show like campy quality to them. They explore themes of robotics, aliens, and other elements that would not be uncommon in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

What about the good and bad? Let’s starts with the bad. These stories, though some are great, many are predictable and somewhat forgettable. Especially the first few felt bland, having no depth whatsoever. Not bad by any means. Just average. Also, the writing to these stories is quite simple. It had just enough detail to get by. There were many points where I wish that I could picture the world better, but could not because the detail is so lacking. Though annoying, I feel this might be intentional. It reminded me of old HG Wells novels. They were written in the same fashion, so he may be trying to replicate that style. But still I don’t think this style is for everyone.

The good? For every bland story, I think there is good one. There are three stories involving robots which are great. The first story about an expedition is suspenseful, and the tale about talking animals is surprisingly layered. And these better stories are brilliant. Most of these good ones make you stop and think as good as scifi does. One also has a truly exceptional action scene. And the tale The Daughter is the highlight of the entire collection. It's layered, smart, and beautifully tragic.

Overall, it’s a good collection. Sure. Its mix bag. Not every tale is a masterpiece. But the better tales, I feel, are worth the asking price for the book. If you like scifi anthologies, then give this one a shot. It’s a pretty decent collection.

3 1/2 smoothies out of Five

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Overall Rating: An Old Timey Collection of Scifi Shorts.


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