There are a lot of illusions in our lives. Books, movies television and advertisements all ask us to believe in something that is not necessarily true. Sometimes they say the illusion is real. While other times media is just asking us to suspend our disbelief. If we believe in an illusion we are a fool. For example we might think people who believed in ancient mythology are fools. Some people who don’t believe in bigfoot might call people who believe in him, fools. There are also times that we create our own illusions like when we dream and wake up thinking the dream was real.
Another example of a fool believing an illusion is when you see a magician sawing a women in half. It might look like the woman is really being cut in two, but its a magician’s trick. One person may know its an illusion but another may believe it. Illusions are all around us, even what we think is reality may really be an illusion.
Figuring out the difference between illusion and reality can make for great storytelling. This is the main theme in The Fool’s Illusion by Steven Rose Jr. This anthology begins with a great non fiction piece on what illusions are, which was well written and really set the mood for the following stories. I really liked Steven’s observations on how sometimes we think something will make us happy and in reality they don’t and how we deceive ourselves with drugs or television to escape everyday life. In the intro Steven points out that everything is an illusion and its up to us how we interpret it.
I thought all the stories in this collection were good but there were five that really stood out. The first one was The Inheritance. This was a horror story about a man who inherits the family estate and has to deal with the curse that comes with it. He is warned to ignore the sounds coming from the cellar but curiosity gets the best of him and he finds the reason why college students around town are dropping like flies. This story mixes humor and horror with a great protagonist.
Another story I liked was Coming Out. Puberty is a rough period in your life and its even worse when you have a second one and become a different thing all together. I really enjoyed the relationship between the young boy and girl in this one and watching him figure out what he truly was. I would love to see this one expanded into a novel.
I also enjoyed Digital Love At First Sight which is about how one person manages to fall in love with someone who is a billboard model and not a real person. There is a good theme here about how you can’t have love without pain. My favorite in this anthology was the futuristic Planet Of The Dead which is about a murder mystery on a cemetery planet. I’ve never read a story that combines Science Fiction and gothic horror but this one manages to do it.
Another one not to be overlooked is The Bazaar which takes a humorous look at mass consumerism.The Fool’s Illusion has a little something for everyone. I enjoyed the concept behind this anthology and look forward to seeing more fiction and non-fiction by Steven Rose Jr.