Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Noggle Stones 1½: Bugbear's Travels - Wil Radcliffe

    2013; 65 pages (Kindle equivalent; although the paperback version says its 98 pages long).  New Author? : No.  Genre : Humor; Fantasy.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    Noggle Stones 1½ consists of three short stories, set in Wil Radcliffe’s fantasy/alternate universe, and showcasing Bugbear the Goblin as he uses his Non-Logical Thought to thwart the revenge of the Undead, investigate a Murder, and defend an Ogre.

    Between Bugbear’s unwavering self-confidence and the power of Non-Logical Thought, success in all these endeavors is completely assured.  But it's fun to watch the Master Goblin ply his trade.

What’s To Like...
    At 65 pages total, this is a light, quick read.  You can easily get through the whole book in one sitting, although I read one story per night.  And with three stories squeezed into those 65 pages, let’s not get too concerned about things like depth of character and/or complexity of storyline(s).

    To me, the measure of a short story is – does it grab your interest right away, and does it entertain you throughout?  Noggle Stones 1½ succeeds nicely on both accounts.  The titles of the stories are (Kindle percentages in parenthesis) :

    Shadow Plays (2%)
    Neither Here’s Nor There’s (25%)
    In Defense Of Ogres (58%)

   These are all standalone stories, but really, you should read Noggle Stones 1 beforehand, so that you’re familiar with the parallel worlds, the creatures, Bugbear, and his pet philosophy : Non-Logical Thought.  Bugbear is the only Noggle-1 character in this book, and ANAICT all stories take place in “our” world.

    Neither Here’s Nor There’s was by far the wittiest of the three, and touched upon one of my pet grammatical peeves.  In Defense Of Ogres is more serious, and has a storyline akin to the movie The Green Mile.  It has a great message for readers, young and old.  It is also the only tale told in the first-person (from the town drunk’s POV, no less), and is a refreshing change-of-pace in Noggle Stones storytelling.

    “He has already been cremated and his ashes scattered upon the back of a stray dog!”
    “Why on earth would he want his ashes scattered on a dog?” Zhora said, her face contorted with disgust.
    “He didn’t,” the coroner replied.  “I tripped.”  (loc. 393)

    “Then that puts us right back where we begun!” I said with a frown.
    “True,” Bugbear said, rolling up his paper and shoving it in his pocket.  “But unless you’ve begun, you’ll never be done.”
    “That doesn’t make no sense.”
    “But it’s profound, so it doesn’t need to make sense.”  (loc. 790)

Kindle Details...
    I bought Noggle Stones Book 1½: Bugbear’s Travels for $0.99 at Amazon.  The other two books in the series Noggle Stones 1 (reviewed here) and Noggle Stones 2 (reviewed here) both sell for $2.99.

“Goblins don’t bathe.  We’re too clever to get dirty.”  (loc. 119)
    The three stories get progressively longer, albeit by about 10% apiece.  For me, they also got progressively more interesting, but YMMV.  Maybe this was a function of length, maybe not.

    ANAICT, Noggle-1½ was written after Noggle-2, so I’m wondering if they were ideas floating around in Wil Radcliffe’s head that just didn’t justify being made into full-length novels.  If you’re like me and patiently waiting for more books in this series, this will serve as a satisfying-but-temporary “fix”, well worth the dollar.

    It’s hard to rate a book of less than 100 pages, but let’s give it 8 Stars.  Subtract one star if you didn’t read Noggle-1 first, but don’t say I didn’t tell you to.  Then go find Wil Radcliffe’s website and pester him for more full-length Bugbear novels.

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