Review by: R. L. Jones
Published by Strange Books (UK)
Mike Russell’s Nothing Is Strange is a series of 20 one-shots of varying degrees of eeriness, but all with a distinct surreal feel. The book’s tone, and some of the stories, reminded me of episodes of Dark Mirror, though not as dark or disturbing. It’s a quick read and can be comfortably read at night without worry of fright. No, these stories left me more pensive than disturbed or scared. I enjoyed some of the subtle and clever twists the stories took, presenting themes on humanity, society, and the individual, one utilizing a giant flesh-and-bone creature in the sky known as the Living Crown.
Russell’s writing is simple and effective; he’s not weighed down with extraneous detail or description of the characters or places. The characters are named, the setting stated, and the story commences, sometimes the reader is the character of the story as Russell uses second person for some of the stories. I found this simplistic style refreshing, as it allows the reader to supply the detail and characterization making the reader personalize each story as they go along. The structure of the book flows well from one story to the next, though none are connected. I found myself pausing between chapters to reflect on each story and the food for thought it presented.
Overall, this collection of stories is a fun wander down the strange side alleys of Russell’s imagination that leaves a lingering taste of the surreal. You may even find yourself noticing some residual strangeness in your own life.