Tide of Shadows and Other Stories
By: Aidan Moher
Format/Source: eBook review copy courtesy of the author
From Aidan Moher—Hugo Award-winning editor of A Dribble of Ink—comes Tide of Shadows and Other Stories, a collection of five science fiction and fantasy stories spanning adventure, comic whimsy, and powerful drama—from a star-faring military science fiction tale of love and sacrifice, to a romp through the dragon-infested Kingdom of Copperkettle Vale.
“A Night for Spirits and Snowflakes” is the story of a young man reliving the last moments of his fellow soldiers’ lives; “The Girl with Wings of Iron and Down” tells the tale of a broken family and a girl with mechanical wings; “Of Parnassus and Princes, Damsels and Dragons” introduces a typical prince, princess, and dragon—and a not-so-typical love triangle; “The Colour of the Sky on the Day the World Ended” follows a girl and her ghost dog as they search for a bright light in the darkness; and “Tide of Shadows” is about a soldier and his lover, a mother, and planetwide genocide.
I’ve been a reader of Aidan Moher’s blog, A Dribble of Ink, for many years now; it’s certainly one of the places I go to when it comes to finding out about what’s up and coming in the fantasy & sci-fi genre, but it also features plenty of great articles about the genre (not to mention his commentary on book covers are on point). I was pleasantly surprised to read then on his blog that he had decided to self-publish a few of his short stories, which is not only really cool but for aspiring writers (*ahem*myself*ahem*) is also quite inspirational (see his article about his decision to self-publish here at Medium). The collection was released on 4 May 2015.
This is quite an eclectic (see what I did there?) collection of stories featured, each with a different tone and atmosphere to them. Each also had its own narrative voice that fit with the story it was telling; I thought the writing was a little clunky at first in “A Night for Spirits and Snowflakes,” probably because I was acquainting myself with his writing, but the narrative in “Of Parnassus and Princes, Damsels and Dragons” absolutely fit the story it was telling.
The stories themselves can be whimsical and a play on familiar fantasy tropes, like in “Of Parnassus and Princes, Damsels and Dragons”, or introspective like in “A Night for Spirits and Snowflakes.” I thought the latter story was especially intriguing in the way it utilises character point of view with an equally interesting premise. I was actually intrigued by the world and social system that the story was set in; it’d be cool to see more stories set in that world. I think my favourite story from this collection was “The Girl with Wings of Iron and Down”; I was just so invested in the character and intrigued as to what happened to her and how she got to where she was.
What’s also really cool about this collection is that the author included notes at the end of each story talking a bit about what inspired him to write that particular story and the process that went into it. I’m always curious to know the thought process that went into writing a story, the inspiration behind its origins, the author’s general thoughts, so that was quite a great bonus to read.
Tide of Shadows and Other Stories is a great debut publication from Aidan Moher. It’s short–which was a welcomed break from all the studying–but the short stories offers not only a range of his storytelling but the types of stories that has been churning in his mind. I look forward to reading his future work. Readers of speculative fiction who are looking for new authors to read should check out his collection (and his website)!