Review: Flower of Scotland Volume 2, William Meikle, 2020.
“Too Many” is an amusing story about a woman receiving a unique punishment in Hell. The relevant sin is hinted by the title.
Unlike a lot of the stories in the Flower of Scotland series of chapbooks, “The Worst Sound” really is short enough to be called flash fiction. A priest gives last rites to a dying and despicable man.
“Phantom Payment” is a clever ghost story whose verisimilitude springs, I suspect, from Meikle’s days working in IT. A network administrator has to figure why a business’s computers are having memory problems. One of the best stories in the collection.
“The First Silkie” seems to be mostly an excerpt from the Derek Adams novel The Skin Game.
“Lucidity” was one story I didn’t much like. As the title hints, it’s about lucid dreaming and is sort of a man-who-dreams-he’s-a-butterfly-or-butterfly-dreaming-it’s-a-man story.
“The World of Illusion” is essentially one of the pivotal chapters in Meikle’s vampire novel Eldren: The Book of the Dark.
There’s no reason you can’t have a story of possession and with a ghost on a golf course, and that’s what you get with the interesting “Just a Par to Win”.
“Bait and Switch” is an alright story of generational conflict and bonding. Hoping to get his young son’s eyes off his phone, a father takes him fishing. There’s more than one way to fish, though, and fish aren’t the only game. This monster story seems set either in Canada or Maine.
Fairy tales aren’t really an interest of mine and that’s what “Jack and the Cat’s Paw” is, but I still enjoyed it and thought it well done. It’s a tale of a drifter taking a job at a town’s mill.
I’m fond of Meikle’s stories centering on music, and that’s kind of what “Total Mental Quality” is. An obsessive hi-fi enthusiast gets a hold of an experimental bit of technology, a computer chip using both microcircuity and protein chains, from the local university. It turns out it does a lot more than just record music. It creates its own media and not just music. An amusing story of artificial intelligence and the media mashups it creates.