Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Brown Mouse by Gary A. Braunbeck

"One Brown Mouse" is one of the first releases from Apex Book Company's new Alien Shots program which offers customers short stories, novelettes, and novellas from Apex authors. Priced at just 99 cents, this novella was a great bargain. If "One Brown Mouse" is any indication, the Alien Shots program is one to watch.

Readers familiar with Braunbeck's style will find familiar terrain in this novella. While not set within his Cedar Hill cycle, this surreal science-fiction story also involves some complex metaphysics. Fans of Braunbeck will not be disappointed. Personally, this may be my favorite Braunbeck story yet.

"One Brown Mouse," at its heart, is the story of Levon, a man mourning the loss of his girlfriend and trying to make sense of why he alone survived a catastrophic car accident. The story opens during a group therapy session for those learning to cope with the loss of a loved one and handles the subject of loss well with sincerity of feeling and heart. Tiresius, the titular brown mouse, and Levon's group therapist provide interesting secondary characters as Levon tries to make sense of his increasingly strange hallucinations and understand the new reality revealing itself all around him.

I would say more, but I don't want to risk spoiling this story. In short, it is a well-written and thought-provoking novella. My 6-pack rating: An enthusiastic 6 out of 6 Sierra Blanca Roswell Alien Amber Ales.

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