Blister Packs, a Love Bunni Press Collection: Edited by R.John Xerxes Piché, 154 pgs. By Todd Taylor

DIY book collections are the literary equivalent to a mix tape. Kinda. Instead of making a mix tape for one specific person, and tailoring it to what you hope they’ll want to hear, DIY collections rely on two things equally: the writers and the editor. You know what writers do. They write. Pretty obvious. But the editor shapes, prunes, adjusts, sequences, and somehow makes it all fit and gives it shape. The editing of Blister Packs, a collection of very, very short fiction to short fiction (and a poem) is thoughtful. There’s a deft netting of experimental fiction (a first person narrative of doing whippits), day-in-the-life slices (Ben Frazier’s “Letter of Resignation” is a standout), crime fiction, and MFA-fiction. My only real complaint about the book is that, although intentionally microfiction, a handful of the stories either jump to wild conclusions (like character stories that suddenly swing to being drunk and at the wrong funeral), or they seemed clipped (like drinking coffee in a bar, waiting for something to happen and when that thing’s going to happen, the story ends). While I’m not a fan of all of the stories in the collection (and that’s fine), like any sort of mix tape, it’s the law of averages. Fortunately, there are also stories that nail down larger thinking in a compressed format. Jason Gonzalez’s “It’s Just a Fuck” (exploring not only the nature of the one-night stand, but of the essence of human contact) and Jon Fleming’s “The Twenty-Third of December,” a spot-on remembrance of Joe Strummer do just that. Just like a tape. If you don’t really like something, fast forward. Go back and revisit the good stuff. One more thing of note: Blister Packs was definitely made by ex-or-current zinesters. They take all sorts of chances with the graphic design of the book, mixing fonts, incorporating unique graphic designs for each story, and taking visual chances. I applaud them for that. Blister Packs definitely tips the scales into the good category. –Todd ($13, Love Bunni Press, 2622 Princeton Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118)