Review Of You, The People By Pablo Digenio
A killer robot assembled to take revenge on a woman’s apathy. A man haunted by his past. A cowardly ex-husband trying to overcome his wife’s infidelity. A low-life tempted by redemption. A gamer addicted to fantasy worlds. A woman caught up in the scene of a massacre. Each story presents horrific ways in which karma strikes back to wrong-doers. Sometimes, the law isn’t enough and other powers must step in to make examples of people. Pablo Digenio’s anthology You, The People collects short stories with a science-fiction element.
The characters are all believable, not necessarily doing anything out of the realm of reality, but the consequences they face are far from expected. Even though the stories vary in setting, they have a common arc strong enough to terrify the reader into following the Golden Rule. My favorite story in this collection is “Alfred Ditetz Russian Waltz” because it is reminiscent of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce with a bit of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe mixed into it. While preparing for his son’s family to arrive for a visit, Alfred is haunted by the sound of a Russian waltz. As the story progressed, I thought Alfred was sympathetic and he certainly was not as bad as his other children made him out to be; I had hope that there would be some reconciliation. However, the terror slowly crept in until I found myself gasping in shock at the way the rest of the story played out. Early on, I had suspicions of the twist ending (I have read and studied enough to know that authors rarely repeat details without reason), but that did not prevent me from skipping to the end. I could describe the stories individually, but that would take away enjoyment from future readers.
The overall themes of these stories are karma and consequences, as made clear early in the collection. None of the characters could be considered good people, and as much as I enjoyed knowing that these characters would pay for their actions, I couldn’t help but fear that my enjoyment would trigger karma to come after me. It isn’t often that books can make me feel such a way, especially when I know they are science-fiction and unlikely to happen any time soon, but I also know that technology has advanced so much in the last few decades that these tales may eventually come true. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. There are more than ten grammar and punctuation errors, which prevents a perfect score. Even though I was exasperated with the first character because the foreshadowing was quite obvious to me (others might not view it as obvious), I still liked the way her story unfolded. These stories are definitely not for the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs, but they are quite entertaining for fans of Bierce, Poe, and other horror authors. I do not recommend this collection for minors or those offended by vulgar language and sexual content. These tales are a fun and quick read, and the creep-factor makes it a perfect way to spend a cold and rainy October night.
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A killer robot assembled to take revenge on a woman’s apathy. A man haunted by his past. A cowardly ex-husband trying to overcome his wife’s infidelity. A low-life tempted by […]