"Pilgrims" by Diane Gallant
"Fun with Humans" by S. A. Miller
"Tiny Man and the Dragon" by Daniel Miller
The narrative style of “Pilgrims” by Diane Gallant employs a discombobulated orientation for its point of view, jumping from one person’s head to another. It is not as confusing as one might suppose, but I had to wonder whether there was another, better way to present this tale.
Otherwise, the story reads like a space opera with compelling characters and a Twilight Zone-esque style. A family is led on an adventure into the afterlife stemming from a toy spaceship passed from one family member to the next. While the destination is a happy one, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sad that we all don’t end up there.
“Fun with Humans” by S. A. Miller is an irreverent bit about a man, Bob, and his entrance into Heaven. He meets and “hangs out with” John the Baptist and numerous angels who talk and act like a street gang of troubled boys. I could almost hear the rim shots as Gabriel, John, and Bob exchange barbs and one-liners.
Overall, the style wasn’t to my liking as it depended primarily on snappy dialogue for its effect, but the story was absorbing and held my attention. I never did laugh out loud, but the humor played out well. Also, Miller gets points from me for calling Texas a “republic” in his bio.
“Tiny Man and the Dragon” by Daniel Miller was reminiscent of a Don Quixote. Quippy dialogue between man and man and man and dragon abound. The humor was lost on me, but perhaps someone closer to the author’s age might find it hilarious. It did have some clever names, like the mountain called "Unfathomable Annihilation." And of course, a dragon lived there.
The modern utterances from the dragon, such as “give me a break, man” and use of “honkin’” took me out of the period the story was purportedly set in. While the majority of the story is founded on this modus operandi, it didn’t sit well with me.