Katherine Villyard’s LOVE STORIES blazes across space and time and includes an array of futuristic short stories linked by the theme of love and the drama it can provoke. The stories, populated by mortals, Gods, wizards and androids, vary in time and their fantastical settings. Each blends plot and character into an imaginative array that will dazzle readers.
Among the best is “The Grandfather Paradox,” in which a child-abuse victim travels through time, creating doppelgangers who help stop her family’s cycle of incest and violence. An android masquerades as a human risking all to save his cancer-stricken owner in the heart-wrenching “In Sickness and In Health.” “Saving Alan Idle” takes place when a hurricane wipes out power to the home of a companion created with AI, trapping it in the cloud, a computer and a laptop, while it frantically searches for its creator and missing true love. “Transplant” weighs the value of mental versus physical illness after a depressed, disabled and plain woman is transplanted into an irresistible body. She must then convince her long-term crush that life is worth living after she discovers he, too, is a transplant deemed illegal and unworthy because he died by suicide.
Villyard’s artfully composed stories flow and, stylistically, her prose is vivid yet straightforward. Readers can dive astounded into her imaginative worlds in tales replete with surprising plot twists and endings. Both her fantastical and human characters are compelling and authentic. They reach out to grab the reader with intriguing thoughts, and dialogue that is genuine, never stereotypical, avoiding the genre’s tropes. A few pieces in the collection are uneven, simply because their complex storylines burst beyond the limits of short-story format. Her biggest strength is her vast and dizzying scope of personal knowledge, upon which she draws to give each piece authenticity. This stellar content references history, mathematics, mythology, biology, literature, physics and more. Readers unfamiliar with concepts like quantum physics or computer coding may be driven to a search engine to unlock some story threads, but it’s worth it. The book is well-formatted, and its professional look matches its outstanding content. A unique, must-read collection for any lover of speculative/science fiction and fantasy.
With LOVE STORIES, author Katherine Villyard marries her vast intellect and riveting imagination in a short-story collection of speculative fiction that shines with straightforward yet elegant prose.
~Robin L Harvey for IndieReader