The Ramshead Algorithm And Other Stories, by Kj Kabza

The Ramshead Algorithm And Other Stories, by Kj Kabza book coverGenre:  Mixed Genre Anthology
Publisher:  Pink Narcissus Press
Published: 2018
Reviewer Rating: four and a half stars
Reviewer:  David L. Felts

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The Ramshead Algorithm, by K.J. Kabza, is an anthology eleven fantasy/science fiction stories. Kabza’s favorite topic seems to be altered states, the different consciousness experiences individuals have, from dreams to altered perceptions of reality, some of which lead to fantasy and others to abject terror.

Table of Contents

The Leafsmith in Love
The Color of Sand
The Ramshead Algorithm
Night and Day
The Flight Stone
Steady on Her Feet
The Soul in the Bell Jar
Heaventide
We Don’t Talk About Death
All Souls Proceed
You Can Take it With You

As with other antho reviews, I’ll mention a few stories that stood out for me.

“The Leafsmith in Love” is a steampunk-ish tale where magic and clockwork creatures are real. A Leafsmith is a person who creates these creatures by replacing the internal organs of real creatures with clockwork gears. Jesper, the Master Leafsmith of Holdt Castle, finds an unexpected attraction to Princess Zuhanna, who goes about making things difficult and unexpected for a man who thus far has been able to exercise complete control over his environment.

In “The Ramshead Algorithm” , the title story, Ramshead is the son of a multi-billionaire with a party reputation whose easy future is guaranteed. But ten years ago Ramshead discovered the mansion’s hedge maze held a portal leading to other dimensions, a portal he uses to escape less than pleasant life situations. When his father decides to destroy the hedge maze, Ramshead has to take action save the worlds he knows. An interesting story about the lure of materialism.

In The Flight Stone we meet an orphan girl named Calife who is an Air Knight riding an airhorses. But only the lightest of children can keep riding. And Calife  is willing to do whatever it takes to keep riding.

Kabza dips into a Gothic feel with The Soul in the Bell Jar, an interesting Frankenstein’s monster type of tale, told from a child’s viewpoint. Lindsome is a young girl visiting her great-uncle. Her great-uncle is a Stichman, someone who keeps creatures alive by stitching souls onto its body. Lindsome’s curiosity leads her to discover a dangerous situation.

The last story was You Can Take It With You, Kabza’s take on a digital afterlife, called, obviously, Afterlife. It’s not quite market ready though, and looking for beta testers. When Lehann discovers she has a terminal disease, she decides to volunteer as a tester for ninety days. In the course of her exploration of Afterlife, she discovers more people and the hints that there might be a way to extend her stay beyond ninety days. An interesting take on what’s “real” and the idea of a n eternal digital Afterlife… for people who are willing to pay the price.

The Ramshead Algorithm stores are more philosophy than action, perfect for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking tales dealing with what it means to be human.

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