Review: “Crank” by Artur Karlov

Jimmy has no arms, see? Never had any. Was born like this. Almost every baby born after the war is missing parts. Some don’t have limbs, like Jimmy. Some have bits of the face missing. Some lack internal organs. Those are the lucky ones. They don’t live too long after the cord is cut. Less suffering. Jimmy, well… not so lucky.

celtic knot


W.C. 555 word


Written by: Artur Karlov.

Karlov did not include any links to social media profiles on his bio, but he may be this artist of the same name who graduated from “schooling” in 2014. I found his work on Deviant Art. It’s interesting, makes me think a story or essay is intended to go with each effort.

“Crank” immediately grabbed me with its descriptions of unborn victims of a “war.” Karlov provides few details about this conflict other than what remains is a nightmare.

I imagine it’s the aftermath of a nuclear/ EMP attack. Little destroyed, and yet nothing works. Brilliant thriller about the same topic is “One Second Later,” by John Matherson.

I like this kind of stuff but have yet to bring myself to watch or read The Road by ‎Cormac McCarthy which is supposed to be the gold standard for this type of apocalyptic fantasy.

Karlov’s story is lush with descriptions, and the characters are well drawn but given little to do, but live. They are scavengers in a world gone mad, but someone has to stay behind to watch those can’t help themselves. Some brilliant stuff within that conflict.

Maybe that’s enough.

Plotting is something I’ve spent a lot of time on recently. Describing a moment like Karlov does in this piece demonstrates an ability with words, but I wonder if it reflects an ability with story/plot? That’s my only problem with this example of flash fiction, as it leaves the reader with no satisfaction in its conclusion.

Without working for it.

It would benefit a reader to dig a bit because this stripped-down story tells of a world where things get better albeit never straying far from ugly.

I want more from this author and sadly found nothing.

Readers on daily sci it is rated at 5.7 “rocket dragons” dragon rocket out of seven.

celtic knot


Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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