I’ve become a big fan of short story collections in recent years. They’re fabulous to dip in and out of, and great for when you’re tired and can’t focus on a novel-length narrative.
Beyond, by Alanah Andrews, is aimed at YA level but is very enjoyable for adults as well.
The stories range in length – with some just a few paragraphs long – and genre. One story tells of the letters received by a young boy, hospitalised with cancer, which give him the hope to carry on. Others are set in post-apocalyptic wastelands or futures where AI robots share equal rights with humans.
One of my favourites was TOOM, which imagines an aircraft full of passengers reappearing 100 years into the future. The world has somehow manage to get its collective act together and come up The Three Truths, by which all decisions are made:
- Technological advances are vital for improving human lives
- Protecting the environment is essential for humanity to survive
- An educated population is necessary for growth
On the back of these incredibly sensible revelations, the world has flourished:
Resources previously used for war and destruction were funnelled into education, technology and the environment. Healthcare was revolutionised. Methods of communication were vastly improved.
Some stories are pure fantasy, like the woman who seduces her long-time stalker with a lethal gin and tonic. Other stories are curious attempts at explaining the future. Some feel like pleas to the world for a sensible and constructive treaty, before it’s all too late.
I’m a big fan of Alanah Andrews’ writing and recommend Beyond to anyone who enjoys opening up their mind to greater possibilities than those we see right in front of us.
The future, ghosts, aliens, surprising twists, murder, love and beyond…
A nightly visitor isn’t all that she seems. A woman’s life draws strange parallels with a space probe. A man wakes up in a black void, with no recollection of how he got there.
These are just a few of the stories in Beyond. Some explore life beyond death. Others were inspired by questions of existence beyond earth. Some just centre on human emotions and experiences which are ‘beyond’ normal.
Beyond – A Short Story Collection, by Alanah Andrews, was published in 2018 and is now available at most online bookstores in paperback and ebook formats.