Welcome back to the fourth and final week of our Indie Celebration Month! For the final entry, I decided it was time to feature a genre that is dear to my heart for obvious reasons, and often doesn’t get the love it deserves: comedy. Humor is a big part of not only my own work, but what I look for in books to enjoy in my free time, so when I found Mythfits by Heide Goody and Iain Grant I was glad to crack it open and give it a try. What I found was a short-story collection with humorous takes on fairy tales and religious mythology, spanning a myriad of different subjects and yet coming at each of them with an interesting, often funny, spin.
Where It Shines
Mythfits is a collection of short stories, and while some feature pre-existing characters that have appeared in earlier stories many exist only for one shot. It’s in the latter group that Mythfits really shows what the team of authors is best at. The tales are concise, and strong for it, often exploring single concepts or ideas but doing so well enough that each story feels unexpectedly satisfying. There’s a brevity that some authors would shy away from in a few of them, and while that could have been a detriment in this case it makes several of the works stronger. They get in, set up the funny premise, and then leave before the idea can grow stale. It’s bold in a few cases, but overall a strategy that works. There’s a story about supportive witches that was a great example of this quick-and-funny strategy.
There’s also a big emphasis on the humor itself, from dialogue to narration to small details that add an extra layer when a reader notices them. Some books like these will toss the comedy on as an afterthought, however here it was clearly a focus and showed more polish because of that effort. Despite the comedic concentration, there’s plenty of careful world-building done, especially in the one-offs, that utilize the economy of words and paint a fuller setting for the stories with a few carefully dropped details.
Where It Could Improve
As much as I enjoyed the one-shot stories, the ones with previous continuity were a little weaker. I’d never read anything by this duo before, but within a few stories I’d realized that they were using the book to explore some worlds that had clearly existed beforehand. A quick search of their Amazon listing proved me correct, and while there’s nothing wrong with using short stories to show a new angle on an existing property (I’ve done it, and more importantly so have authors way bigger and better than me) it felt like these entries expected the reader to already be familiar with those worlds. Less effort was put into establishing characters or building the setting, which led to the tales as a whole feeling a bit flatter than the one-shot entries.
I’d also say that while most of the stories were well-constructed and enjoyable, some of them lacked any real arc. It was more like watching a scene played out by characters that, while interesting, didn’t build toward resolution or conclusion. I enjoyed the time spent on them, I just wished a few of the stories had a bit more story in them. That said, one of the benefits of working in comedy is that if the laughs are good and it serves the tone of the tale, it’s okay to tell a story without a point. The few that didn’t resonate with me might hit your funny bones right on target.
Comedy short story collections are fewer and farther between than they should be, and this one was a fun way to kill a few hours. Mythfits spans a large array of worlds and settings, dipping a toe in here and there all over the place, ultimately cherry-picking the best humorous materials from each of their sources. It’s a quick, enjoyable read that’s perfect for when you’ve only got time for a few pages and still want to feel like you’ve finished something. The authors have a long list of titles available on their respective Amazon pages as well, so if you like the overall tone and style you’ll have lots of options to follow it up with.
I’d also like to say a big thanks to everyone who submitted ideas for this year’s Indie Celebration Month. It was amazing getting to look at and read through so many of your favorite indie titles, and I hope to make this a yearly tradition so that I can discover even more hidden gems. Thanks so much for joining us for this, and remember if you read and like any of these books be sure to leave a review for their authors. Hope you found something you’ve really enjoyed!