Richard Bunning

Spiderworld

Spiderworld
Publisher:
Published: June 15, 2015
Author's Twitter: @RichardBunning
Not even the time-lord, Orlando Oversight, knows everything. But speculation can turn into a real future, and the Lush Star system, where spider-like beings treat humans as we do animals, isn't so very far in the future. Do Jack Baker, the self-styled 'Spartacus', and his followers have a chance to become more than meat and slaves? Will Athalie have the life she hopes for with her hero? And will the 'spider' Boklung hold his business together while funding and organising the Arcraft's voyage across the Milky Way? Spiderworld is another of Richard Bunning’s quirky, speculative, science fictions. Other sentient life forms are out there, planning their own strategies for survival. Other sentient species also run short of space and time.

The Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Literature has been awarded to Spiderworld by Richard Bunning! Read a brand new review of Spiderworld below!

In Spiderworld, a quirky sci-fi novel by Richard Bunning, Orlando Oversight, a time-lord, space historian, and adventurer, using Bunning as a vehicle, tells us of a future that is yet to happen. In Orlando’s version of the future, Earth has been invaded by an octopedal species, the Aranian ungolian, who have transported most of the planet’s humans to their home planet as slaves—and a food supply.

Through the author, Orlando tells how an escaped breeding yeng, which is the Aranian word for the human slaves, Jack Baker, manages to maintain his freedom against the physically superior spiders. Central to the story is Bokung, an Aranian slave breeder, who is maneuvering to get a special project launched, a project that has the potential to change the destinies of homo sapien and octoped alike.

The author does a masterful job of describing an eerie alien environment in which humans must struggle against aliens and each other. As fanciful as it is, it also paints a fairly accurate picture of what happens when a relatively unsophisticated race encounters a technologically advanced group.

Spiderworld has a bit of everything: religion, slavery, romance, greed, and advanced technology, along with the interpersonal and social dynamics that exists between different groups. Despite some gory descriptions of Aranian eating habits, it also has a touch of humor, so you have here a story that should appeal to a broad range of reading tastes. That’s shorthand for, you’ll like this book.

 

 

Short & Happy, (or not)

Short & Happy, (or not)
Published: October 21, 2014
Author's Twitter: @dhallaj @RichardBunning
SHORT & HAPPY (or not) brings together authors from English speaking countries around the globe and a sprinkling of ex-pats who enjoy life in non-English speaking countries as well. Their stories cover just as wide a spectrum of subjects. Humor (or humour), light romance, science fiction, fantasy, memoir, satire, reflection, exotic locales … it's all here in bite-sized pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifty Egg Timer Stories

Fifty Egg Timer Stories
Category:
Published: February 26, 2014
Author's Twitter: @RichardBunning
This is a collection of mixed genre, flash fiction short stories from one author. To be accurate, a few of the stories are flash nonfiction; but that’s chaotic diversity for you. None of the stories runs to more than 1000 words. Some have a classic twist in the ‘tale’ and some don’t. Expect everything from the trivial to the disguised rant. If you would like something to read during breaks in a dedicated chef’s life, then the egg-timer will seem like a bit of a red herring, as none of the stories has anything whatsoever to do with food arts. Well, unless one considers the time it takes to boil an egg to be the yolk of all reading material. However, this is actually the perfect book for the busy everyday cook, executive banker, child maintenance engineer, or candlestick maker, in fact for anybody with a couple of minutes in which to grab a much needed, short dramatic, distraction. No one will like all the stories, even the author wouldn’t want to read some of them everyday, but everyone should find a few to resonate in a ‘that was worth a moment’ sort of way.

Review by Awesome Indies

Fifty Egg Timer Stories by Richard Bunning is a short story collection that engages the readers’ short attention span.  Each story is approximately 750 words and, according to the author, should take about three minutes to read.  I will admit, I was dubious about the idea at first (his first story explains his method), but I warmed to it as I continued to read.  Bunning did not limit himself to one particular genre for these stories, but rather took on as many as he could.

This style of story collection is an interesting concept and allows both the reader and the author to dabble in fields unexplored.  By including a variety of genres, the reader can experience a small example of what historical fiction, speculative fiction, or philosophical thought (to name a few) might be like. The author even includes a story in outline format, and a short play.   Interestingly enough, the author could have broken down each genre into several sub-categories.  The reader will notice that the stories are also anecdotal, allegorical, life lessons, or educational.  The range displayed in Bunning’s collection gave him an excellent opportunity to try his hand at writing from a variety of character perspectives, points of view, and setting descriptions.  These stories are told through the minds of young men or women, aliens, scientists, philosophers, and adults under duress.

As the stories are so short, it is difficult to describe them without giving too much away.  The readers will find themselves riding on a train in Sard

inia, donating their body to science, hitchhiking on the moon, being written out of a will due to a fashion choice, learning that deceased loved ones are never far away, and many more places.  Two of the stories contained trigger warnings for sexual violence.  I applaud the author for recognizing the necessity of announcing this.

By limiting himself to 750 words, the author did miss several opportunities to turn very creative ideas into meatier stories.  Though many of the stories play out well, a few seemed halted unexpectedly to meet the length criteria and others didn’t have enough time to flush out characters or purpose.  Regardless, the collection is a well-rounded variety and contains something for everyone.

Another Space in Time

Another Space in Time
Publisher:
Published: April 6, 2011
Author's Twitter: @RichardBunning
Murdered, Rodwell awakes to a second life on a parallel world. By the time he understands that this isn't home he is himself being pursued as a killer.   How could a story from a parallel world reach us from the body, from the stored cadaver of a dead man? That wouldn’t be possible, right? Well, anything is possible in fiction, and who knows? People don’t suddenly appear in our world, as either children or adults, arriving from another existence. Of course they don’t. There aren’t people, with no history, no family, no identity, totally alienated from society, being immediately pursued as terrorist killers, are there? That wouldn’t be credible would it? Especially if they had ‘arrived’ naked, bewildered, claiming to be looking for a home that doesn’t exist, and conversing in an unknown language about stuff that seems like pure fantasy? This wouldn’t happen, especially if they had never been seen, ever, by anyone, until just two days before. This book must be fiction, mustn’t it? But then again, there is an underlying logic. Perhaps there is even a ‘God-given’ reason. But there can’t be, can there?

Review by Tahlia Newland.

5 Stars

Another Space in Time is an interesting and somewhat surprising story that I really enjoyed. It begins at a slow pace, but after the attack on the Grange, I couldn’t put the book down.

A man called Rodwell wakes up in a parallel world after being assassinated on earth. While Rodwell slowly became accustomed to his new surroundings and indulged in long philosophical discussions, I wondered where the story was going. It seemed that he had arrived, not in heaven, but in a beautiful, sleepy place with none of the ills of our world. About one quarter of the way in, we realise how wrong fist impressions can be. A kidnap, a killing and a case of mistaken identity catapult Rodwell and the reader into a roller coaster of events that, since the police are pursing him as a murderer and terrorist, it seems unlikely he can escape alive. What eventuates is a fast paced, well written, highly unpredictable story in which Rodwell is forced to use all his resources in a bid to sort out the mess.

Rodwell is a likeable character and one who gained my respect early on as an astute thinker. He manages to escape various situations where I could see no possible hope for him. I congratulate the author on his skill in working out the intricacies of the plot. The secondary characters are also well-drawn and we get to know and care about them quickly. Lucy is a particularly endearing character, one we come to care about deeply, thus we feel deeply Rodwell’s pain at her disappearance and the trials she goes through.

Although science fiction in setting (it’s in another galaxy with a pulsar as a sun), it’s basically a crime mystery written from the point of view of the accused. What makes this story different from any others I’ve read in these genres is the philosophical speculation of the main character. The concept of those who meet an untimely death having another chance in a new world is an interesting one, and for our philosophically inclined hero, it—along with a rather limited understanding of evolutionary theory—convinces him of the existence of God. The seemingly irrefutable existence of life after death raises questions about the sanctity of life which come to our hero when events force him into a position where he may have to kill or be killed. He reflects on how religious fanatics could use such knowledge to justify killing those they don’t agree with, and concludes that this is why God makes this knowledge unavailable to us.

I found this a highly intelligent book that, along with giving the reader a jolly good tale, provides food for thought and contemplation. It gives insight into the challenges and prejudices faced by new arrivals in a culture, and, in my family, it stimulated a discussion on the details of evolutionary theory.

The writing is flawless, as is the world building—Bunning has worked out all the details of a planet in the asteroid belt of a pulsar star. The only problem with the book is that the beginning may just be a little too slow for some, however, its initial leisurely and amiable pace does give us time to get to know the main characters and makes the shock of reality crashing in that much more chilling.

I highly recommend it for anyone who likes conceptual, scientific and philosophical challenges, or simply fancies a crime mystery in a sci fi setting. I give it 5 stars and a place on the Awesome Indies listing.  I notice that there’s a second book out in the series, and I look forward to reading it.

Awesome Allshorts: Last Days, Lost Ways

Awesome Allshorts: Last Days, Lost Ways
This superbly written short story anthology showcases talented Awesome Indie authors from around the globe. Though from a variety of genres, the stories are all entertaining, contemporary and thought-provoking.   Indulge your taste for good fiction with this short story anthology by authors with bold new voices. Though from diverse genres, the stories share a contemporary and contemplative feel that will linger long after the reader has read the last one. Awesome Allshorts showcases talented authors from around the globe, many whose novels have received multiple honors, including Awesome Indies approved status. Stories selected by Tahlia Newland, Dixiane Hallaj and Richard Bunning.

Reviewed by Bill Kirton

5 Stars

First, a disclaimer. This volume contains a flash fiction story of mine but the review relates to the other 26 contributions. It’s entirely objective. If it weren’t, I’d be undermining my credibility as a reviewer.

The enigmatic subtitle of the collection, Last Days, Lost Ways, hints at disjunction, reflection, scenes in which a variety of voices recount departures, frustrations, lost or decaying loves. In fact, as you read from story to story, the variation in styles and subjects, the movement from striking characters to bleak or funny situations, the range of emotions provoked – all combine to make this a rich experience.

The authors all know how to grab the reader and draw him/her very quickly into the specifics of their settings and the mysteries of the characters and their obsessions. The mood swings from anxious to loving, sinister to funny, despairing to whimsical, futuristic to domestic, romantic to dystopian. Some stories are firmly set in an apparently mundane everyday world, but one unpicked by a character’s reactions to its pressures and interpretations of its moments. Others move straight into the paranormal or historical. But all touch on aspects of life, fears, relationships which will have echoes in readers’ own experience.

The anthology exemplifies the flexibility and continuing relevance of a form which is nowadays enjoying an overdue revival.

Reviewed by Amy Spahn

5 Stars

Full disclosure: One of my short stories appears in this anthology. This review is about the others.

I did not expect these stories to move me as deeply as they did. Short works often struggle to pack a significant punch in their diminished wordcount, but the pieces contained in this collection rise to the occasion. Some had me on the edge of my seat in suspense. Some brought tears to my eyes with their emotional depth. And some utilized unique writing styles so artfully that they should be studied in literature classes.

Like with any anthology, not everything in this book will appeal to every reader. But the breadth and depth of the writing styles, storylines, and people explored make it deserving of a spot on any avid reader’s shelf.

Reviewed by

Ignite

3 Stars

 

This is a collection of stories subtitled Last Days and Lost Ways. I received an Advanced Review Copy. It is not the final version. I don’t know if the stories will appear in this order but I found I didn’t really get on with most of those in the first half. The second half of the book picked up for me, but if I hadn’t been reading to review, I might easily have lost interest and abandoned it.

The writing was good. It was the definition of ‘story’ which didn’t click with me in some cases. To me, and I suspect, to many readers, a short story is a complete tale. Some of these read as, or maybe even were, excerpts from some longer work and I didn’t like that. I wanted closure.

The stories I liked best were Pearls, Home late, The Creator, Recipe for a Dinner Party, Standin’ at the Crossroads, Waitin; for the Devil to Show and A Matter of Trust. I enjoyed these stories and the feeling of having savoured a complete experience with them.

Reviewed by

Justin Spahn

5 Stars

As the husband of one of the authors in this anthology, I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. So, here it is!

I’ve read a few short story anthologies, and this one is definitely the most interesting. The collection is richly diverse in terms of subject matter, national origin and setting, narrative tone, length, and literary style. As I read, I found myself jumping from fantasy to vignette to full plots inspired by true events, and the transition somehow is fluid and seamless rather than jarring or distracting. Awesome Indies has managed to build an enjoyable whole out of various and disparate components!

Among my favorites in the lineup were ‘Clearing the Shed’, ‘Quarantine’, ‘I, Zombie’, ‘Chasing Dreams in the Time Left Over’, ‘Traffic’, ‘Standin’ at the Crossroads, Waitin’ for the Devil to Show’, ‘Home Late’, ‘A Matter of Trust’, ‘Pearls’, and what is likely the stylistic jewel of this collection, ‘Recipe for a Dinner Party’.

This anthology asked me interesting questions, presented me with some of my greatest fears in life, introduced me to new ideas not common in conventionally published shorts, and fed an interest in diverse snippets of literature that I didn’t even know I had.

To sum it up best, I’ll paraphrase one of the author’s descriptions regarding the virtues of the short stories collected in this anthology: The short form gives authors the opportunity to write in ways that couldn’t be sustained for an entire novel.

I recommend reading these shorts–open yourself up to unique experiences from authors all around the world who love writing so much that they publish themselves.

Reviewed by

Sandra Padgett

5 Stars

This collection of wonderful stories covers a variety of themes. From satire to thriller to contemporary life and much more. Each story gets your attention and keeps it from start to finish. They are thought provoking, with characters, dialogue and themes that are believable, but sometimes out in the twilight zone, which is what I like. I will be looking for more works by the various authors and follow them in the future. I received this free from Simon Townley for an honest review. Outstanding! Recommend to any and all.

Reviewed by

Annie Evett

5 Stars

Both emerging and established writers from Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand present a peek into the spectacular moments everyday life holds, but with a twist.

The collection opens with a bang with a story by Tahlia Newland. Intriguing to the last paragraph, I was surprised to find it was an excerpt from her newest project. It sits perfectly as a short story and a wonderful teaser into what looks to be an exciting premise.

Each story has an incredible depth and texture to them, that, although is specific to its own style, melds beautifully as a collection. The human condition is explored where the reader is challenged to reassess their perspectives on stereotypes and events. Post apocalyptic tales sit comfortably with personalised stories like fragmented memories; separate, but with a golden thread holding them together. Heart-wrenching, whimsical, tear-jerking and lighthearted there is a story to suit all moods and readers tastes.

It is difficult to chose a favourite story, with a wrestling loving gran meeting her idol, to emotional trials of marriages breaking apart or forming, futuristic zombies and maids from a gentler time.

Authors are recognised in their own right with multiple honours and prizes and although the anthology is an eclectic mixture of genre, reading one after the other only highlights the complexity and intrigue each story brings.

A great book to stash into someones Christmas stocking for some fireside holiday reading, Awesome Allshorts is set to be a winner in your readers life.