It’s #22 of my Flash Clash Challenge, and it’s a bit of a sad day really. And that’s because today marks the end of my journey through Nik Perring’s Not So Perfect; a book which has been an enjoyable companion these past few weeks (as have all of the books in this challenge if I’m being honest). However I managed to put my grief to one side, because with this being the final offering in the collection, I was eager to discover whether Perring was going to go out with a real bang, or whether he would just slip out quietly. I should have realised. Perring doesn’t do ‘slipping out quietly’. He chose the former and ended up presenting a story which won him a perfect 5-star rating today.
Nik’s story, Five Years and The Last Night on Earth is a cracker. The plot follows a couple – presumably in the early days of a relationship – who hear the devastating news that the Sun is going to extinguish in five years time, effectively bringing all life on Earth to an end. How do the couple react to the news? Well, I’m only going to tell you that they promise each other that they will make the most of their last five years on Earth, TOGETHER. And I’ll also tell you to prepare yourself because this is another of Perring’s ‘infamous’ heartbreakers. You have been warned! )
Adding to today’s sadness is the realisation that the last story in the Etgar Keret collection I was going to read today is actually novella-length and so it’s completely unsuitable for inclusion in this reading challenge. So as far as the challenge goes I’ve effectively come to the end of my journey with Etgar Keret too, which is a real shame given that I didn’t exactly warm to his story offering yesterday. That’s irrelevant of course because Keret has, throughout this challenge, put so much story telling magnificence ‘into the bank’, that one bad story (in my opinion) isn’t going to tarnish things all that much.
So now that I’m done with the collections of two of the participants in the Flash Clash challenge what happens now? Well, nothing really. I simply lay my reading notes on Nik Perring and Etgar Keret to one side for now, and resist any temptation to total up their average scores until I finish reading the collections from the other Flash Clash participants. I’ll return to those I’ve finished at the end, when I declare an overall ‘winner’ of the Flash Clash challenge, and post a full review for each collection. So for a few days Perring and Keret may well be gone, but they certainly won’t be forgotten.
Before I go on then and present the run down on today’s proceedings, I just want to say a word or two about the Alex Burrett story today, Cyrano. It’s a tale about Jack, a cocaine-addicted police sniffer dog who languishes unwanted in a dog’s home. As one would imagine it’s a sad little story but it’s also much more than that. And that’s because Burrett is genius in projecting into the dog the various traits and emotions that a human may go through when addicted to drugs. And whether or not this is true to the life (I wouldn’t know I’ve never met a dog with a drug addiction), it makes for a very interesting scenario, and a wholly engaging read. He’s done it again hasn’t he? Burrett has made his creative genius shine through once more.
Onwards then to today’s rundown:
*Keeping in the spirit of flash I’m limiting myself to only giving single-word comments for each story.
**As they are incredibly short in length, David Gaffney’s stories are being ‘ticked off’ two at a time.
*** Dan Rhode’s stories are even shorter than Gaffney’s and to ensure that I finish his collection in time, I have to cover three per day.
Inspired by the publication of Nik Perring’s debut flash fiction collection, the Flash Clash Challenge is a fun contest in which
threefour other experts in the field are compared alongside Nik. You can find out more about it HERE.