From guerrilla artists taking revenge on a corporate world to a tribal culture formed around rubber ducks. A love story told in few sentences; day one, week one, month one and year one. The simple, consideration of taking an old relative to a place of joy, if imaginary. A future where the food chain has been compromised and meat is a luxury few can afford. Mathematical murders. All these things are more are told through this collection of short stories from Jonathan Pinnock.

The travel guide was accurate, if a tad unhelpful. “For more information about Hell,” it said, “see below.”

These stories are alternating dots and dashes. The dots are only a few sentences at most, whilst the dashes are more consistent with an expected short story length. But those dots made me laugh! So did some of the dashes too. It is a little book that brought a smile to my face repeatedly and was a real joy to read.

At first glance, the stories are a bit weird. I like weird but Dot, Dash goes beyond weird for weird’s sake. Many have a twist and those twists will make you think. Whilst the tableaus may go beyond the believable, very human characteristics are explored, pushing some of the characters to re-evaluate what makes them who they are. Some of the stories could be considered scary; such as Convalescence which was one of my favourites. A man is recovering from a medical procedure and is attending his psyche evaluation. He is having some side-affects…which turn out to reveal a terrifying truth.

It’s one of the best short story collections I’ve read and one I think I will go back to repeatedly. I do find it hard to review short stories without giving too much away, so I’ll just encourage you to give this one a go. Dot, Dash is published by Salt and is available in paperback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the author for providing a copy for review.

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