Five Stop Stories is a collection of short stories, split into themes and designed for reading on a commute to work. Short, sharp and frequently emotional, they arose from a short story competition in 2011 and began life as a iPhone app. This is the first collection of stories.
Although not set on the Underground as far as the Mind the Gap season goes, this final entry in the season is designed as something to read on the Underground, rather than about it.
With 31 specially selected short stories, Five Stop Stories covers a wide range of topics, events and characters. We travel all over the world from India to America and, of course, Britain. All the authors are at various stages in their career, and it does show. Certainly those who have established themselves as writers for several media have refined the art of the short story more so than some of those starting out both structurally and thematically.
The book guarantees “high quality, light fiction” within, and for the most part, this is what we get. Many of the stories will be forgotten by their intended audience, but if they make commuters stop and think – even just for a second I would argue their job is done.
The short nature of the stories makes the quality of them variable. The majority read like Tales of the Unexpected with a sharp twist at some point in the story. The decisions by the writers to drop us into the centre of the action in some stories can backfire – at points in some stories I was wondering what the hell was going on. To go into too much detail would spoil the surprise of many stories, but there is variety for everyone to enjoy.
This said, I did enjoy many of the stories take on murder, intrigue and betrayal. My commute is slightly longer than five stops, but I did read the stories whilst on it to emulate its intended reading pattern. You’re not going to read all of these in one go, but you could do much, much worse if you’re not a regular reader, or don’t have much time to read daily.
Maybe we will come back to the app at a future point and see what other stories come up. Nevertheless, the Five Stop Stories project is an interesting one, and one I hope continues to develop.
The Fiction Stroker gives Five Stop Stories three strokes out of five.