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The Crack Magazine

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Aliens: Short Stories on Beings That Don’t Belong

Editors: Kitty Fitzgerald & Carol Clewlow, IRON Press

The main image on the cover of this slim volume of short stories from Cullercoats’ IRON Press is that of your classic alien: grey, wizened, big eyes – you get the picture. But this collection uses the word ‘Aliens’ as a springboard to explore all kinds of subject matter – not just the extra-terrestrial kind. Rieve Atkinson’s ‘Robbie’s Friend’, for instance, introduces us to Tina, a tapeworm who might just be the answer to all Robbie’s problems; while Pauline Plummer’s ‘Recoil’ concerns itself with the plight of refugees from Sierra Leone. We do, of course, also get plenty of “bug-eyed” action including Noreen Rees ‘The Dangers of Online Dating’ (which has shades of ‘The Thing’) and, best of all, Gerald Cole’s ‘Zap, zap!’, which concerns itself with a child’s deadly toy. There are 13 stories in all and they touch on everything from politics to humour to romance and none outstay their welcome with each clocking in at around the five or six page mark. GM

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