Masterworks by Simon Jacobs

masterworksFor the first four stories in Masterworks, Jacobs’ writing is fast-paced and to-the-point, yet vibrantly descriptive. Vibrant like when you dream in color and it’s a little bit trippy; and he didn’t need a ton of extra words to create that effect. How did he pack so much creativity and forward motion into such a short space? I couldn’t put the book down.

“Let Me Take You to Olive Garden” includes a cis guy who is friends with a trans girl. Even though they were friends before she came out, the author handled it without needing to deadname or misgender her. Thank you!

I absolutely loved the unique, sometimes absurd settings in each scene of “Partners.” They were the perfect backdrops to the feelings of the couple in this story.

Unfortunately, I struggled with fully enjoying the two longer stories that followed, and they make up 3/4 of the book. The premises of both were interesting, and his writing is so good. But I couldn’t seem to get lost in these as I did with those first four. I wonder if the longer stories had appeared first in the collection, if I’d have felt differently. It was just hard to come down from the momentum of the “wow!” factor those first four stories left me with.

Jacobs is a talented writer and Masterworks is a very imaginative collection. If you’re the type of reader who likes short story collections to build in pace and style, though, I recommend reading the last two stories first.

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