Cynical Optimist Press (2018)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (10/18)
“Thylacine Dreams” by Jonathan Maas showcases tales of sci-fi, time travel, horror and fantasy that will stimulate your imagination contemplating the limitless “what-if” scenarios triggered by this stunning collection.
With six tales to entertain, Maas reflects the premise of “endings” in each one. The title represents this theme through reference of an extinct species, the Thylacine, the largest carnivorous marsupial of recent ages. The last of the species held in captivity died in a zoo in Tasmania in 1936, the result of accidental circumstances caused by man.
The first story, Time Capsel, tells of a woman (named Capsel) who travels through time to monitor the course of humanity. Traveling in stasis mode, the universe awakens Capsel at various points in time, her directives only to observe, with no duty to interfere unless humanity is on the threat of elimination. I found the elements of this story mysterious, unsettling and at times, frightening as I considered the possibilities. Time Capsel set the tone for me as I settled in for the rest of the stories - an experience best described as out-of-body.
“Thylacine Dreams” also includes the author’s novella, -100: Never Go Back in Time. This story was by far my favorite, truly distinctive and one of a kind featuring among other things, a different kind of twist on a woman scorned. You’ve never had relationship issues like Kela and Adam. Maas weaves the relationship element into a sophisticated web with components of time travel, memory transformation (and transference), and venturing into realms never intended for humanity.
Jonathan Maas has great innovative flair, his voice vivid, his plots and characters well-structured. I was more than impressed with his ability to create otherworldly scenarios that drench the reader in surrealism. All of his stories evoke feelings one doesn’t voluntarily call to the surface. As the characters deal with their own form of ending, be it death or other circumstance, my mind seemed to uncontrollably return to the possible ties to reality, leaving me to wonder just how little of the universe we actually know or are even capable of understanding.
I highly recommend “Thylacine Dreams” by Jonathan Maas for a truly innovative collection of stories that will take you on a bizarre journey and leave you wanting more.