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Shelf Indulgence

Books. Reviews.

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Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
Dhalgren
Samuel R. Delany
Jackals
Charles L. Grant

Itsy Bitsy

Itsy Bitsy - John Ajvide Lindqvist First things first: "Itsy Bitsy" is a short story, distributed in e-format, comprised of 28 screen-swipes. Based on my limited experience with e-books, two page-swipes equals a page, so this is a 14-page short story masquerading as a book, because the industry hasn't come up with the idea of an e-short-story yet. I note this because I don't want to make it a habit of recording short-stories in my reading history (if nothing else, I see that a number of folks hit their "X-number of books read this year" goal by reading a shit-ton of these, which is like meeting your summer reading quota by reading chapter books), and besides, I've set a precedent by recording chapbooks and other e-short-stories in my statistics.

"Itsy Bitsy" was a free e-book (hnngh) distributed to promote Lindqvist's novels, and since Let the Right One In had been so good, I decided to give it a read. It's about a paparazzi photographer going through a bad patch in his life, and trying to turn it around by getting the one shot that will earn him a million dollars. What happens after that is the entire story, so I won't spoil the rest of it for you, other than to say if I did spoil it for you, I would save you the time it takes to read it yourself.

Anyone who's read Let the Right One In knows how Lindqvist approaches a horror story, but "Itsy Bitsy" isn't really horror so much as it is shock. There's no real conflict going on here, the threat isn't defined until the last handful of paragraphs, and what conclusion there is doesn't resolve anything. In fact, more than 50% of this e-book (tsss) is comprised of teasers of Lindqvist's other books, so when I finished the story, and saw I still had 70% of the e-bo-- er, file left to read, I thought I was going to see where the story was going to go. Nope. This story is all set-up, with no resolution.

It's becoming a trend to release these throw-away stories as a means to promote an author, but the problem is that the stories aren't very representative of their larger works. If I hadn't already been familiar with Lindqvist, and read this story, there's no way I would have gone on to read anything else of his. Maybe they're targeted toward readers who are already fans of said authors, but when they're poor stories, what's the point? Why punish your fans like this?

Take it from me: Remember that folks don't give stuff away for free if they think they could get money off of it, and don't read this story. Find a choice chapter from Let the Right One In and read that instead.