One genre which never seems to get the love it deserves is short fiction. People love to watch short videos online or highlights from a sports game, but they don’t give the same attention to flash fiction. Yet, when done right, flash fiction is an excellent genre because it allows the reader to get in and get out for quick bits of entertainment. Author John Nieman has not only mastered the art of flash fiction, but he has taken it in a direction that not many would.
From the title, you can tell there is an underlying theme to all of the stories, but aside from that, they are all unique with no tie-ins to other stories. You will find yourself on an emotional roller coaster with at least one, if not many, of these stories touching your heart in ways you couldn’t imagine. My personal favorite, and one that will surely touch a lot of hearts, is “Christmas in August.” One of Nieman’s greatest strengths is weaving real-life events into his fiction – this skill gives the stories a feeling of authenticity you don’t get out of much fiction, short or otherwise.
As far as the writing goes, Nieman again gets an A+. His chosen art form only allows for so much description, but he uses every word to his advantage. You never leave one of Nieman’s stories feeling short-changed, but they do make you want to move on to the next one to see what his creative mind comes up with next. A subtle flow to his stories keeps them moving without the reader ever consciously knowing they are moving. His use of actual historical events makes you feel like you are reading something familiar, but then he hits you with his creative fictional ending.
Sometimes a story comes along and takes your breath away; Life…and That Other Thing is a series of those stories. They are fun, touching, sad, and relatable and clearly come from a place of great worldly understanding. I hope that John Nieman’s stories are read, shared, and appreciated for years to come.
Title: Life…and That Other Thing
Author: John Nieman
Publisher: Gold Touch Press
Genre: Flash Fiction
Reviewed by: Arthur Thares