The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

A compilation of twenty-three stories that delve into the frightening, the mystifying, and the beautiful. Tales of murder and hate are at odds with those of love and hope, yet if anything is without question, it’s that the sea was a fair master.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Calvin Demmer for giving me the opportunity.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Flash fiction, for me, was a largely unexplored concept. Sure, I knew it existed out there in the world of literature, but I had no notable experience with it, and honestly, it didn’t entirely appeal to me either. I favour a lot of particular things in stories, but it’s the development of the personalities introduced, and the building blocks that comprise of the plot that are of importance to me. I want to, most of all, feel emotion at what’s presented, and with only a mere page or two available to convey a complete story with all the trimmings, it’s definitely a challenge, but one that no doubt showcased Demmer’s capability. He embraced it, ultimately owned it, and I found myself deeply impressed with the execution. I also need to mention the sheer convenience – I consumed several portions of the book whilst I was confronted with limited time, be it in between moments of cooking and cleaning with only minutes to spare, I had the opportunity to wholly immerse myself a hundred percent into a beginning, middle and end that took no effort at all.

There was a remarkable amount of variety, yet whether the origins lay in horror, science fiction, fantasy or crime, the atmosphere and overall tone of every single individual tale was enshrouded in darkness. Oftentimes, the worst imaginable side of humanity was examined in ugly detail, whilst very real inflections of helplessness dominated other areas. Demmer was able to adapt, bringing new and unique voices that benefited from his own confidant flair.

On the Seventh DayIn the beginning, we were conquerors and adventurers.
I didn’t need to wait long to discover an instant winner that eclipsed all else in this collection. Something just clicked, and to my surprise, I couldn’t stop thinking of this one long after all was said and done. I considered it much like a legend; something sailors would recite over copious amounts of grog, with the obvious lesson being to respect the waters. Taking into account the title of the book, and the three or so tales revolving around the ocean, Demmer’s fondness really shined. I appreciated the acknowledgement of mystery surrounding the deep blue.

Others that I quite enjoyed included Restroom Finds, Underneath, Trashcan Sam, Graves, and Voodoo Child. Naturally, I outright didn’t care for others, but rather than being detrimental, I simply accepted that they were not to my taste.

In conclusion: I’m glad I didn’t let my uncertainty dictate my decision to accept this one. I thoroughly relished my time spent, and I feel that Demmer acquainted me with a very intriguing new form of entertainment. Flash fiction, I hunger for more.

Notable Quote:

On these dark-blue waves it is the sea who is judge, jury and executioner. This is another realm, where forgiveness doesn’t exist as on land and where spirits do not find freedom among the clouds. Here, they ride the currents of forever.

© Red Lace 2018

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3 Comments on “The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

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