Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets
by Jacob M. Appel
This is the second collection of short fiction by Mr. Appel that I have had the privilege of reading. He has blown me away once again. His stories make you think. They lay out the idea, and then it’s your job to ponder them and see what they are really saying about your life. This is a small book. It has 155 pages and 8 stories, but don’t rush though them. Take your time. Sit there and think about the story before plunging into the next one. It will ripen and develop new ideas as you let it float around inside your mind. When you have spent enough time integrating the ideas that the story has prompted, then you will be ready for the next surprise, the next set of thoughts, the next new story.
Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets is a must read if you like short stories. Mr. Appel will entertain you, but at the same time he will challenge you. He will make you reexamine some ideas that you may have taken for granted. This isn’t science fiction, but some of these stories have that Twilight Zone feel to them. Do you remember the best episodes of Twilight Zone, where you came away with a feeling that wouldn’t leave, an idea that haunted you, something that just wouldn’t go away? That is the experience that you will have reading these stories. They will push you to think about life and death in a new way.
I’m not going to give you little capsule summaries of these stories. I’m just going to tell you that you will love these quirky, wonderful characters in these surprisingly delightful stories.
I give Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Read it, if you have a chance, I think you will be won over to Mr. Appel’s camp.
I received a paperback copy of this book from the author.
A visitor from a distant planet opens a Latvian restaurant next to an abortion clinic; a magician learns that true love will cost him a kidney; a blind barber cuts hair for tourists in a gentrifying Harlem…. Enter the mad, moving university of Jacob M. Appel’s short fiction.
Paperback: 155 pages
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (June 30, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
About the Author
Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City. He is the author of more than two hundred published short stories and is a past winner of the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review‘s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review‘s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review‘s Short Fiction Prize, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award in four different years, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Mystery Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology on numerous occasions. His first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012. His second novel, second novel, The Biology of Luck, was short-listed for the Hoffer Society’s Montaigne Medal. Jacob holds graduate degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics. He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.