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Tales From the Aether: Extraordinary Tales of Dark Fiction, Dark Humor & Horror

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In these 14 stunningly original, provocative and entertaining stories, the reader confronts questions and situations never before considered by mere mortals. A compilation of what seems like ordinary events quickly unfold to reveal possibilities humanity has only ever dared to consider. Imagine you've woken up in a strange place, completely in the dark... or perhaps...Your In these 14 stunningly original, provocative and entertaining stories, the reader confronts questions and situations never before considered by mere mortals. A compilation of what seems like ordinary events quickly unfold to reveal possibilities humanity has only ever dared to consider. Imagine you've woken up in a strange place, completely in the dark... or perhaps...Your loved one has a mystical connection with an event 2000 years in the past... or...Only you can release a trapped race of beings from our world... or...Destiny opens up before you one fateful box at a time... or...Your afterlife is not at all what you thought it might be... or...You finally have a chance to return to the past and correct a fateful mistake, but at what cost... or...Only you can see into another person's soul... These are just some of the poignant, thrilling, funny and unusual things happening to the absolutely realistic characters in TALES from the AETHER that could be any one of us. All from the mind of the incomparable Matthew C. Woodruff, Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, this is Woodruff at his best: profound, humorous, sympathetic—revelatory.


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In these 14 stunningly original, provocative and entertaining stories, the reader confronts questions and situations never before considered by mere mortals. A compilation of what seems like ordinary events quickly unfold to reveal possibilities humanity has only ever dared to consider. Imagine you've woken up in a strange place, completely in the dark... or perhaps...Your In these 14 stunningly original, provocative and entertaining stories, the reader confronts questions and situations never before considered by mere mortals. A compilation of what seems like ordinary events quickly unfold to reveal possibilities humanity has only ever dared to consider. Imagine you've woken up in a strange place, completely in the dark... or perhaps...Your loved one has a mystical connection with an event 2000 years in the past... or...Only you can release a trapped race of beings from our world... or...Destiny opens up before you one fateful box at a time... or...Your afterlife is not at all what you thought it might be... or...You finally have a chance to return to the past and correct a fateful mistake, but at what cost... or...Only you can see into another person's soul... These are just some of the poignant, thrilling, funny and unusual things happening to the absolutely realistic characters in TALES from the AETHER that could be any one of us. All from the mind of the incomparable Matthew C. Woodruff, Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, this is Woodruff at his best: profound, humorous, sympathetic—revelatory.

41 review for Tales From the Aether: Extraordinary Tales of Dark Fiction, Dark Humor & Horror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Booksiren

    Award-winning Woodruff’s panache for writing shines in his second collection of short stories with the wildly imagined worlds, powerfully drawn realistic characters, and an unsettling portrayal of various happenings in his protagonists’ lives. Merging the profound emotions of joy, fear, loss, love, foreboding, and incomprehension, Woodruff’s twelve stories are set around particular holidays of the year. “The Alban Eiler” is a story of two women and their adolescent daughters, who despite being b Award-winning Woodruff’s panache for writing shines in his second collection of short stories with the wildly imagined worlds, powerfully drawn realistic characters, and an unsettling portrayal of various happenings in his protagonists’ lives. Merging the profound emotions of joy, fear, loss, love, foreboding, and incomprehension, Woodruff’s twelve stories are set around particular holidays of the year. “The Alban Eiler” is a story of two women and their adolescent daughters, who despite being born thousands of years apart, share the same fate on Easter. Woodruff’s enlivening imagination runs wild in “My After Life,” a lighthearted story of a person whose life was always mundane, but the afterlife was nothing like he expected. In “Amy’s Valentine,” the protagonist is struggling to move forward after her daughter’s death when a handsome stranger arrives at her door on valentine’s day and reunites her with her daughter. The protagonist’s ‘monumental sorrow’ is the story’s dominant tone, but it changes to ‘chillingly scary’ suddenly with a single scene in the finale. In “The Shadow People,” the protagonist arrives in an isolated Northern Canadian town to attend a wedding unaware of a strange twist of fate awaiting her. “Boxed in by Fate,” is a heartening tale that takes place in a strange universe where life unfolds one fateful box at a time, and a couple receives a pleasant surprise. In “The Color of the Soul,” a police sergeant with the unusual ability of seeing a person's soul gets a chance to see what his own soul looks like on a Halloween night. “A Christmas Tale,” is an unsettling story in which the protagonist with a strange sense of foreboding when destiny was about to take tragic turn in her life realizes this year’s Christmas season was no different. Some stories are funny with lighter moments (“Lenny the Djinn”), but the major chunk is dark and chillingly unsettling (The Dark New Year, Just Desert). Woodruff’s best skill is examining the depth of the fear in the human mind, and that’s what stays at the heart of the book’s theme. The powerful illustrations perfectly match the collection’s ominous mood, making an immediate impact on readers’ minds. This haunting collection draws on the deepest emotions of love, grief, fear, foreboding, and hope and will stay at readers’ minds long after they finish the book. This is a marvelous collection from a very talented writer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

    A collection of Horror stories with a hint of dark humor. The Dark New Year feels a little like Poe's Pit and the Pendulum. This story was a bit strange and I truly did not get the point of the ending with the closet. The scar is never really explained and I am curious what really caused the scar. Was it all a dream? I am not entirely sure. Amy's Valentine is very dark and while I had some idea that something was going to happen with the stranger, I did not expect the contents of the box. T A collection of Horror stories with a hint of dark humor. The Dark New Year feels a little like Poe's Pit and the Pendulum. This story was a bit strange and I truly did not get the point of the ending with the closet. The scar is never really explained and I am curious what really caused the scar. Was it all a dream? I am not entirely sure. Amy's Valentine is very dark and while I had some idea that something was going to happen with the stranger, I did not expect the contents of the box. That caught me off guard and why did Maria even do what she did? Also, what really happened to Amy; how did she pass? That is never explained. The Alban Eiler brings to mind the concept of "equivalent exchange." There is a price for everything and it was interesting to see the parallel between the two different stories tied together. Is the lake magical or merely its inhabitants? The Shadow People was a weird story that I really did not get. This one seemed to be the hardest to understand, because I was unsure how all the characters here were connected and how or what the "Shadow People" really were. Are they like guardians that require sacrifices? Lenny the Djinn seemed to be more on the humorous side. The obvious references to the genie/djinn mythos made the ending even funnier. I feel like this one would make a great show or a movie. Genie school must be really difficult and what is with that contract? This was probably the funniest of the stories in the collection. Boxed in by Fate seems like a great plot for a science fiction book. How do the boxes appear? What happens if the receiver does not open the box or does not do what the contents dictates? I would really like to see a larger story about this concept/theme. Destiny's End read almost like a mix between Groundhog Day and the Twilight Zone. I wish that a do not have a day like the main character here. Additionally, I feel that the time traveler would make a great narrator and this would make a good series of short stories about people in similar situations. Just Dessert is a bit of a pun and I found that it was surprisingly fitting. What I did not like about the story was how I was unsure whether the events of the story were in the past or in the present as there did not seem to be a distinct divide in the narrative at least until the very end of the story. My After Life seemed like something out of Beetlejuice. The whole suicide makes you into a civil servant in the afterlife is pretty interesting plot point. The punchline at the end of the story was worth a chuckle. The problem with this one is that it felt too short and a bit rushed. The Color would be great if there was some more background info on the Sergeant. How did he gain his power; can everyone see what he sees or just him? I do feel bad for his son, but again, I feel that this was rushed. The concept of the color is also interesting in describing the "soul." Are there only two "colors" or can you have a combination of colors? How exactly are the colors determined? What does the son say at the end? This story left a few questions that I would have preferred answered. Saving Sally was a bit weird in the way it was structured. Was the future all a dream or did the future self effect the past self. I did not really get how this was either dark humor or horror. I could be wrong about this one. A Christmas Tale is a story that ends this collection is a bang or at least with a thud. This is relatively dark and I found that the open grave and broken shovel a bit too convenient for my tastes and the calling of the boyfriend seems like a little bit testing on the whole "scorned woman" concept. Overall, this was a relatively quick real and very creative. Some of these short stories I feel could become a book in themselves. While there were more "horror" based stories than dark humor, felt that the "horror" was more "thriller" than "horror." I did have a few questions for some of the stories as stated, but nothing that really effects my rating of this collection. Well done. I look forward towards your next collection or stories. I give this a 4.5/5 stars, which I will round up to a 5. **I received this as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

    Uniquely dark and creepy! A must read! Woodruff pens magnificently dark stories in TALES from the AETHER: Extraodinary Tales of Dark Fiction, Dark Humor and Horror. This collection makes you wonder what goes on in the mind of this author, and that you're so glad he put it on paper. I liked each story, and enjoy Woodruff's writing style, and his story style. The stories are either, dark, horror, dark and humorous or all of the above. I read this cover to cover, and even went back and read a few al Uniquely dark and creepy! A must read! Woodruff pens magnificently dark stories in TALES from the AETHER: Extraodinary Tales of Dark Fiction, Dark Humor and Horror. This collection makes you wonder what goes on in the mind of this author, and that you're so glad he put it on paper. I liked each story, and enjoy Woodruff's writing style, and his story style. The stories are either, dark, horror, dark and humorous or all of the above. I read this cover to cover, and even went back and read a few all over again, for a second. and even third time. One of my favorites was "My After Life" even as it described the cats feasting on his dead body. Yes, it's that wonderfully creepy, and you don't want to put it down. I look forward to reading more by this author. This book is a definite recommendation by Amy's Bookshelf Reviews.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda mccann

    Wild ride These stories immediately hook you. You want the answers to the questions posed. Highly enjoyable and engaging! I finished in one night.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

    Uniquely dark and creepy! A must read! Woodruff pens magnificently dark stories in TALES from the AETHER The Best Short Stories of 2020. This collection makes you wonder what goes on in the mind of this author, and that you're so glad he put it on paper. I liked each story, and enjoy Woodruff's writing style, and his story style. The stories are either, dark, horror, dark and humorous or all of the above. I read this cover to cover, and even went back and read a few all over again, for a second. Uniquely dark and creepy! A must read! Woodruff pens magnificently dark stories in TALES from the AETHER The Best Short Stories of 2020. This collection makes you wonder what goes on in the mind of this author, and that you're so glad he put it on paper. I liked each story, and enjoy Woodruff's writing style, and his story style. The stories are either, dark, horror, dark and humorous or all of the above. I read this cover to cover, and even went back and read a few all over again, for a second. and even third time. One of my favorites was "My After Life" even as it described the cats feasting on his dead body. Yes, it's that wonderfully creepy, and you don't want to put it down. I look forward to reading more by this author. This book is a definite recommendation by Amy's Bookshelf Reviews.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A wonderful book. I highly recommend

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mescha Hoskins

    I won this book in a giveaway, it was interesting but I found it lacking a bit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pj

    Oddities indeed I'm not sure what I expected but strange stories was not it. Interesting tales but they need much better editing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Honestly, this is one of the most trippy series of shorts that I have read in a long time. Odd, dark, and twisted. Worth a read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Candra Hodge

    Dark horror stories Don't look for many happy endings in these short stories. All of these horror stories have a very dark twist in them (usually involving someone dying). They were all very entertaining, however. I won this book on a goodreads.com giveaway.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Woodruff

    Now with two new stories, this re-vamped edition of TALES from the AETHER is a collection of the best short stories published in 2019/2020.

  12. 4 out of 5

    J

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ballad DeFallen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Grecco

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adedayo Adewunmi-Missa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Woodruff

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric R Niemietz

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Hervey

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Irons

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Espree

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  23. 5 out of 5

    antonio adorno

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shantel

  25. 5 out of 5

    Douglass Abramson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zach Yancey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Cerda

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bannister

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melisa Dowling

  31. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  32. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  33. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Cutler

  34. 5 out of 5

    lou brown

  35. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Howard

  36. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  37. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

  39. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  40. 4 out of 5

    Steff

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sam Ehresman

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