Small Bites 4 by Crissy Moss

Small Bites 4 by Crissy MossMoss provides three brief forays into other worlds, each a possible development of our own, and each united by asking not only “what if…?” but also “what then…?”

This collection contains three science-fiction flash fictions:

‘Past Talks’: A time-travelling documentary maker is interviewed before a studio audience; but not everyone is happy to know the truth about the past.

‘Skin Deep’: Abby is five. Abby likes cats. But cats don’t seem to like Abby.

‘Ravens’: Genetic engineering has prepared Earth species for their new home on a distant colony. But at what cost?

The book is well named: these are bite-sized stories, providing a short period of entertainment rather than days of immersion. However, this brevity does not mean they are shallow; if anything it lends the central questions a clarity that might be lost in a longer piece. And the questions here are more than worthy of consideration: is how the truth is presented as important as what it is? Is belief a better guide to action than objective fact? What does it mean to be alive? How much concern should innovation give to possible consequences?

This raising of questions, perhaps the core of science-fiction, is strengthened by Moss’ provision of different perspectives, and consequently instinctive answers, to the same questions in different stories. Thus, while the stories themselves are unrelated, there is a sense of thematic unity.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this focus on the implications of future technologies somewhat reduces the space available for dramatic shifts and character development. Although the stories are more than narratives, readers seeking emotional struggle might find some areas a touch clinical or distant for their taste.

Overall, I enjoyed this collection. I recommend it to readers seeking science-fiction to read on journeys or fill short interludes between other tasks.

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