Bird Box by Josh Malerman #Review

Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows.

They are out there. 

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There are numerous books and films out there about post-apocalyptic worlds, dystopias, the destruction of mankind… a lot of the same territory is covered. It’s hard to come up with something original. The most exciting I’d seen prior to this was The Children of Men. Josh Malerman manages to go one step further, resulting in a book that will stop you in your tracks, keeping you reading in one-sitting, so that you will miss your stop on the train, bump into lampposts, and stay awake all night.

The end of the world starts in typical fashion – something ‘strange’ is happening to people in different parts of the world. The events increase in frequency until they reach Chicago, where Malorie lives with her sister Shannon. They have just moved into a flat together, there is a new boyfriend on the scene. All is looking good, until Malorie realises she is pregnant, and shortly afterwards she ends up alone and scared.

The story flits from past to present – from pregnancy to the aftermath – as the world falls further into decline. Malorie must make a perilous journey to find other survivors… not once, but twice. And throughout all of this, she must avoid what lurks outside her front door…

…and she can’t open her eyes.

One word review: Brilliant.

[Big thanks to Liz Loves Books for sharing her review copy with me]

Winners of the #SJIBFS Flash Fiction Competition

Well the day is finally here – and hopefully some of you have been involved in the activities detailed on the National Flash Fiction Day site? If not, get over there now and see what’s happening! Flash Flood has been running since midnight and stories are being fired out every ten minutes – so there’s loads to read over there…

So…

*Drum Roll*

Here are the winners of the inaugural #SJIBFS Flash Fiction Competition, with some comments from our head judge Sarah Pinborough on what made them stand out from the crowd.

3rd place – Saving the Planet by Juliet Boyd

2nd place – A Little Light Relief by Zoe Gilbert

1st place – Rabbit by Al Kratz

Sarah says…
Rabbit:
I think this did everything a piece of flash fiction should do. It gives you a snippet of a story that somehow manages to tell you the whole without cramming too much in. It was very well constructed, subtle and chilling. I loved it.
A Little Light Relief: 
I thought this was a lovely little vignette piece and such an original idea and well-written.
Saving the Planet: 
I’m a sucker for Triffids and this was a really nice take on that kind of story. Again, a good snippet insight into a bigger story that manages to convey that story within it.

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Well done Al, Zoe and Juliet!

 The pieces will be published in the  Summer BFS Journal which should be out in August.

Big thanks to fellow judges Phil and Sarah for giving up their time, and thanks to Harper Voyager, Gollancz and the BFS for the fantastic prizes 🙂

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P.S. If anyone who entered is planning to post their entry on their blog, or gets it accepted elsewhere – let me know and I will link back to it and spread the word – I think everyone who entered would love to read them!

P.P.S. Same time next year? 🙂