A miscellaneous collection of short stories, the compilation has tales from a variety of genres like horror, humour and science fiction. Some of the tales let you burst out laughing, some make you think deeply about the philosophy of life and death, some may make you shudder about the brutality and depravity of the human mind, while others would make you shake your head in wonderment. The stories regale the reader with plenty of entertainment when stuck at home on a rainy day.
Sitharaam Jayakumar’s “Jai’s Assorted Tales” is divided in five sections according to five different genres. Some of the stories use the tropes of horror, thriller and science fiction. Some others, especially in the last three sections, also deal with contemporary issues. I liked the way the book tried to use the classic short story/flash fiction trick of twist ending. However, I found it odd that many of the stories in a particular section had almost the same plot. The only difference was the change in the story’s setting in some cases. This is particularly stark in the first section “Horror/Thriller.” In most of the stories, the man is named John and the woman is named Mary. This, coupled with the plots that seemed to repeat, made it rather uncomfortable for me to plod through that section.
The second section, “Science fiction/Humour,” starts promisingly and then suffers from a few of the same issues as the first section. But thankfully, it redeems itself with some smart stories.
The next three sections have stories that weave in real-life challenges. The stories set in the space and the future are a particular example of the way the author has incorporated climate change. In these sections, the author creates a connection between famous literary and real characters like Darwin, Gulliver etc. and his stories. This works on two different levels. First, one already has an idea about what might happen. Second, if and when the guesswork proves right, it’s a source of joy.
All said, Jai’s Assorted Tales is a mixed bag of stories from a variety of genres that can be quickly finished over a cool, rainy afternoon.
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci-fi, Humour.
About The Author:
Sitharaam Jayakumar is an IT professional with an experience of twenty-seven years. He graduated from IIT Varanasi. He is a passionate reader with a keen interest in sports, politics and music. His repertoire includes articles on social issues, crime, women’s empowerment, fiction, and several others. He is the author of suspense thriller books ‘Eighty Hours to Save Karen’ and ‘The Krishnapur Kidnappings’ and a non-fiction ebook ‘A to Z of Men And Women Who Excelled In Sports.’ He is also a published poet.
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