When Teresa Solana’s The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and other stories arrived, I was hooked on concept. A prehistoric serial killer? Great idea. It sounded fresh and fun. While short story collections can face the challenges of inconsistency, I’d really loved Terror is Our Business, so I dove in.
Ultimately, I liked the collection but didn’t quite fully fall in love. The reasons may be seen by some as very nitpicky, so I’d like to direct your attention to this review.
Read it, enjoy it, and if Solana’s stories sound like they’ll strike your fancy, go get it and don’t ever come back to this page.
If you know yourself to be a reader affected by quibbles, you may want to read on.
The quibbles I had. Reading them may be considered by some spoilerish, so don’t read them unless you’re the type of person who is very detail-oriented in your reading. Solana’s collection is clever and diverse and straddles genre boundaries, so it has a lot of good stuff going for it.
The title story not only has the first prehistoric serial killer, but also the first prehistoric investigator. My quibble? He’s told not to go all Sherlock on them. Things like that jar my mind more when I’m editing for temporal consistency, and lord knows it’s hard work keeping timelines straight in a story you make up yourself. But jumping ahead a few thousand years for a pop culture reference didn’t seem plausible. It’s a small quibble. Many readers won’t notice or care. The rest of the story is great fun. You decide if that will bug you or not…
Because logical consistency isn’t always present. For example, the ghost story. They can’t turn on the TV because of the limits with how they interact with the physical world. But they make one gruesome ghost wear a bell.
Suspend the logic and enjoy the ride is, overall, what I’d say.
There was a story that started to make me uncomfortable, though. Flesh-Coloured People. The racial discussion of Asians put me on edge. I think that may be amplified by being a product of the reading era. Politically, on this side of the pond, I’ve got a low threshold for slippery slopes. Just the other day a guy at the dog park was telling us kids in the US have to learn Spanish because of illegals. No, they don’t. There’s a great percentage of people who are 100% American who speak Spanish. Puerto Rico, for starters. So, all I’m saying is, this story started to make me squirm. And that’s probably a lot more about me and current politics than anything else. Could be the story had a very good point in the end, but I just could’t get there.