Reviewed by Benoit Chartier
In his collection of short stories, It's Not The End, And Other Lies, author Matt Moore takes us on a multitude of wild rides. If there is one thing I can say about these, it's that they are action-packed. One could mistake them for mindless thrillers if it weren't for the deep thought that resides as the backbone of each and every one. In the first story, “Delta Pi,” Moore forces our perspective to show us what would happen if some basic element of our universe were to shift. This story sets the tone for all the others, as the story itself, and those that follow, are only preambles.
I write short stories. I'm not going to say good short stories, but I write them nonetheless. For me, the important part of a short story is the twist ending that precedes the end. It is where the writer turns the story on its head, and the reader must grapple with the ending. What I found fascinating with Moore's stories was that the story itself was the preamble, and the ending was only the beginning. I have no idea if that makes sense, but that is exactly what happens, in story after story. The reader has no choice but to imagine what comes afterwards but is not left wanting by this prospect. I found this an ingenious literary device, and I commend Moore for having used it to such great effect.
Moore is also very good at wrenching emotion out of his readers, whether abject horror or discomfort, the effect is visceral and real. Stories all tackle some sort of issue, bringing to light an aspect that people may not have thought of previously. The short story "In the Shadow of Scythe" looks at extremism in one form that I'm sure has been overlooked. "The Weak Son" also looks at mental abuse in an original way. "The Thing That Killed Her" is a curious look at decision-making. Please note, I won't go into detail about these stories, because I'd rather you read them yourselves.
I rather enjoyed Mr. Moore's collection of short stories, and I recommend them to you. They are action-packed, thoughtful, and some, full of dread. There is one great feel-good story, "Brief Candles," and this one I recommend reading for its thoughts on religion.
The only downside I can speak of is that some of these stories made me feel awful. However, this is what they were meant to do, and I can't hold it against them: they're just doing their jobs. Well done.
It's Not The End, And Other Lies is published by Chizine Publications