Review of “Real Conversations with Imaginary Friends” by E. E. King

This is a book of speculative short stories, written over the course of several years. There is something for everyone in here, but inevitably some stories will disappoint. The range of styles and subjects is too broad for each story to please every reader. At the same time, most readers will find several stories that they like quite a lot; yours just might not be the same as mine.

King’s viewpoint is generally ironic, somewhere between tongue-in-cheek and outright comedy, but she is occasionally almost poetic. She uses a variety of styles and voices, mostly to good effect. She develops mood and scene elegantly in some stories, while others are told more tersely. These are stories of things that are not quite as they seem, technologies that don’t work quite as designed, people who are a bit (or more than a bit) peculiar. They remind me often of works by R. A. Lafferty and Robert Sheckley, two of my favorites. She does not shy away from social commentary, and if you believe deeply in something she finds absurd, she will make you uncomfortable. I like writers who do that.

The longest story, at 100 pages, is “Dirk Snigby’s Guide to the Afterlife,” a send up of multiple religious beliefs, in which Dirk, a New York advertising man, agrees to write the book in the title for Lucifer. This one is more Douglas Adams than Lafferty, and wickedly funny.

My favorite story is “Synesthesia.” It contains the line “The minute my feet touch the floor, I taste dust and dirt.” I won’t tell you how it ends.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a taste for stories that make you think twice, or see the world from a different, often somewhat skewed, angle. Ray Bradbury gave the book a favorable blurb, and he should know; he’s written a lot of stories in a similar vein.

Paul Guthrie
Author of “The Wrong God”


About E.E. King

E.E. King’s has published many short stories. Ray Bradbury calls E.E. King a writer “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I can not recommend her highly enough.” HER NEW COLLECTION new Collection of Short Fiction “Another Happy Ending,” comes out in October 2013. There is a book launch and party @ Ray Bradbury’s favorite Bookstore Mystery and Imagination Bookstore October 20th @ 2:00 -3:00pm Her first novel, Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, came out 2010, released in Spanish in 2/2012. She is performing bits of "Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, all you need to know to choose the right heaven.” (in costume) October 30th @ 7:30-8:30 @Echo Park in “Stories Book and Café.” 1716 West Sunset Blvd • Los Angeles • CA [213] 413-3733 The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, launched her anthology, Real Conversations With Imaginary Friends, 1/2012. Sponsor, Barnes & Noble. All her books as well as her children’s book The Adventures of Emily Finfeather or The Feathernail and Other Gifts are currently available on audible. E.E. King is the recipient of various international writing, biology and painting grants. Her murals can be seen in Downtown Los Angeles and Spain. Elizabeth Eve King has a background in teaching, painting, theater, comedy and biology. She will be an artist in residence at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art June -Sept 2015 Ms. King is the recipient of two International Tides painting fellowships, and two international biology Earthwatch grants. She was an advisor for the J. Paul Getty’s and the Science Center’s, Arts &; Science program. She was the Science and Arts coordinator in Bosnia with Global Children’s Organization (a summer camp for war orphans and refugees) in 2000. She was the founding Arts & Sciences Director for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation . She’s worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. The butterflies wish she had chosen a different location. Her short stories have been published widely
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