The Booked. Anthology Review 7: “Think Tank” by Craig Wallwork

I read this out loud to my housemate and she grimaced, questioning why I couldn’t read her any “happy” stories. I argued that “Think Tank” was a happy story. It’s a story about sacrifice for the greater good, it gives back to those that give us life and love. She shrugged, displeased with my argument, that my summation wasn’t nearly as strong as the words contained within. Maybe she’s right, maybe I’m a sucker for a romantic martyr, no matter the depths that they dip their toes into before diving in head first.

The truth is, “Think Tank” isn’t happy. Like most, if not all, of the stories in The Booked. Anthology, Wallwwork’s story is dark and violent. People die, people bleed, and break, and suffer. The Booked. Anthology is a bleak look at life, a collection of the darkest times in the histories of its characters. But these people, the people we’ll never know contained within these stories, but for the glimpses we’ve been gifted, they live and breathe thanks be to these words. Authors like Wallwork are able to transport you into another world, and in this case, two separate periods of time that we haven’t even seen yet.

In a short few pages you feel for these people, this burned and beaten woman carrying her child within her. And with the ending, the means and the ends even out. You nod and mutter, “How right. That’s right.” And it isn’t because of trickery or special lighting. There is no swelling soundtrack to move your heart. It is simply Craig Wallwork’s words, crafted for you. There’s beauty in the power that Craig wields, and in that beauty, he earns admiration. He causes you to beg – do it again. Do it again.

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