HomeAll postsEverything’s Changing by Chelsea Stickle

Everything’s Changing by Chelsea Stickle

A review by Nalini Haynes

Everything’s Changing is a collection of weird very short stories. Possibly flash fiction depending on your definition. Supernatural stories featuring everyone from Medusa to women repressing their screams while vying for perfection while wasting away. From a family huddling down in a bath tub hiding from a hurricane to a woman trying to save her valuables from a selfish man so she loses everything.

I try to avoid using the word “quirky”

I try to avoid using the word “quirky” but I was reaching for synonyms. Merriam Webster’s thesaurus was helpful: wacky, off-beat, bizarre, remarkable, weird… I’d also add Wyrd.

Short stories and I

I have a rocky history with short stories. When I was in grade 6 my teacher stated that only one style of short story was acceptable. Over the years I’ve tended to agree with him, finding sufficient enjoyable stories fitting that style to avoid concerning myself further. However, in recent years short stories I’ve read tend to be more like mini-novels or flash fiction.

I veered away from them, much like I avoid contemporary poetry because, to me, it’s as jarring as jazz. As the musical equivalent of a “fun house” of mirrors, jazz disorients me, its unpredictable nature stresses me.

Likewise contemporary short stories.

Not these.

These short stories…

In the past year or two I’ve enjoyed some books of shorter stories that I can read between tasks, giving myself a rest then resting my eyes by not persevering beyond my reading limits.

These stories take that experience to a new level, however.

The entire collection of stories in Everything’s Changing is the length of some short stories. Each story is like a postcard, a glimpse into the weird and wyrd. Every one could be a writing prompt for a novel. Inspiration for creative daydreaming, fantastical problem solving, exploration of potential.

The verdict

How to sum up a collection of such varied stories whose only consistencies are the author and their approximate length? Everything’s Changing is a challenging collection of feminist treatises, a chocolate box of stories.

Many of these stories featured previously in other sources, but this is the first time they’ve been published together.

I find rating this collection is challenging. I’m giving it 4 stars with an acknowledgement that, with my lack of expertise in this area, I’m open to discussion.

If you give this collection 5 stars, argue your case in the comments! Compare and contrast with other similar collections. Any other thoughts? Do you have any favorites? I’ll allow discussion in the comments with a warning: if you read the comments you might encounter spoilers. When a story is *that* short, it’s hard to avoid them.

If you enjoy short stories featuring social issues, you will also love Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke, reviewed here.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Thirty West Publishing
Cover design: Laurie Marshall

Everything's changing: cover features a woman in a space suit
Author photograph © Maureen Porto Studios, Silkie added by me because Google decided to downgrade SEO of websites that don’t use their own original photos. So, basically, Google is making unnecessary work because some asshat wants to preference artists over writers or something. Rant over.

Update: I’ve decided that, in future, I’ll just include gratuitous photos of Silkie and the cats, or I’ll photograph them with books. I still have to deal with the fact that Apple and Microsoft are screwing over users by actively preventing software systems from working together. To get a photo from my iPhone to the website in a usable format requires multiple steps now. Workflows have to include workarounds. Just like trying to get an ebook from Outlook to my iPad in a readable format in Kindle or iBooks. What are they thinking?! Open source is probably better, and that way I can have ONE library instead of one library per company!

Rant over.

Everything's changing : a woman in a space suit (?) with Silkie (black dog) in the corner supervising the reading and editing

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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