Think.Laugh.Cry in 100 Pages by William Baga is a collection of three short stories designed to make you think, laugh, and cry. In “Isaac’s Apple Phi” the reader is given a glimpse into a dystopian future controlled by mega corporations. “Take 2” is a comical look into the life of a mildly dissatisfied middle-aged man fantasizing about being cool. Finally, “Let Nature Decide” is a dark vignette about a man looking to settle a vendetta.
The bulk of the narrative in “Isaac’s Apple Phi” is presented through exposition; such is the nature of the information delivery system that Xylem is interacting with. Unfortunately, this prevents the reader from forming an emotional connection to Xylem or the world he is living in. This choice causes the climax of the story to fall a bit flat. One way to counter this is to allow the reader to experience Xylem’s inner monologue while receiving this information. Show any conflict he may be feeling and let him live with that conflict for just a little while.
Think.Laugh.Cry in 100 Pages stands out because of various genres this collection encompasses. Each story is individual and fits nicely within genre conventions. The short stories are each fully developed. “Isaac’s Apple Phi” challenges the reader to make a connection between Isaac’s gardening pursuits and the dystopian world inhabited by Xylem. “Take 2” hits all the right comedic notes. Baga does a wonderful job of portraying the outlandish dreams of a man who mostly likes his life, but still feels as though he is missing out. “Let Nature Decide” captures the range of emotions that a person like Danny would experience after a massive betrayal. Think.Laugh.Cry in 100 Pages by William Baga will appeal to readers looking for a quick read that exposes them to different genres, while also forcing them to think about the world.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.