Robert Nielson, That's Entertainment. Elastic Press, 2007. Pp. 198. ISBN 9780955318122. £5.99.

Reviewed by Karina Kantas

This volume contains fourteen short stories in various genres, collected under the loose theme of the entertainment industries. The one thing these stories have in common is that they are entertaining.

‘The Pope, Sonny Liston and Me’ is a hilarious tale about a gambling pope who discovers time travel and kidnaps a famous boxer from the past, in the hope of winning back the fortune he borrowed from church funds. ‘Trouble Ahead’ is told in the style of pages from a diary belonging to a struggling writer. The tale is very weird, but addictive reading and ends with a laughable twist. ‘The Great Eddie Clarke Farewell Tour’ is Neilson's thoughts on what heaven is like for a famous singer, and a thought-provoking tale. ‘Love Song’ is a touching story involving magic, traditions, and the most powerful emotion of them all, love.

Neilson must be a fan of Elvis as many of his stories refer to the King. What if Elvis never really died and the body that was had been found was only a replica. What would his life be like now? Would he still be singing the classics? Can a leopard change its spots? Read ‘Alias Morton Pickney’ to find out.

My favourite story in the collection is called ‘The Big Fellow’. BBC television is doing documentaries on historical figures, the catch being that these historic giants are alive, living in their natural environment, and re-enacting the past of history that made them famous. Only disaster strikes when the historical character in question learns of his fate. This is a clever, imaginative piece of storytelling, which will keep the reader glued to the pages.

Neilson writes in a relaxed enjoyable style. Fourteen readable stories containing emotion, grit, and thought-provoking aftereffects. Priced at £5.99 (or €8.99), That's Entertainment is worth every penny.

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