Roland Allnach

multi-award winning author of the strange and surreal


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Prism - Reviews & Interviews

  For reader reference:

- View or print a PDF book fact sheet here.
- Available in print and Kindle at Amazon and signed copies available at this site's Bookstore.

  Reviews of Prism:

--Three reviews in Readers' Favorite.  Read immediately below.
--Review in Feathered Quill.  Read below.
--Review in Rebecca's Reads.  Read below.
--Review in Bestsllersworld.  Read below.
--Review in Pacific Book Review.  Read below.
--Review in Hollywood Book Review.  Read below.
--Review by Cynthia Brian, NY Times Bestselling author and host of 'Starstyle' on Voice America Internet radio


**Silver Medal, Short Stories, 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards
**Winner - Short Stories, 2015 Pacific Book Review Book Awards

  Interviews for Prism:

 -- Interview with Cynthia Brian, host of 'Starstyle' on Voice America.  Interview segment is at minute 22 on the program slider.  Visit  Voice America to hear the interview.
-- Interview with Linda Maria Frank on 'The Writers Dream':



5 Star rating from Readers' Favorite.

Three reviewers comments follow.

(Review by Ioana Marza for Readers' Favorite)

  Prism is a collection of short stories that span multiple locations, times and worlds. Roland Allnach has a great talent for creating worlds, building an atmosphere and painting for the reader a believable setting for each story. His power of description is considerable. The style of writing is diverse and changes from one story to another. “Titalis” is akin to a Greek tragedy, “Of Typhon and Aerina” is all in epic verse, while several of the stories belong to the science fiction and paranormal genres. Some of the writing styles are easier to read than others, but the stories are all very well written. When he is not constructing tragedies that feel as genuine as something taken out of mythology, Allnach is writing stories in an almost ambiguous way which makes them interesting and mysterious without becoming confusing.

  A glass prism separates white light into a spectrum of colours, and this is an apt title for Roland Allnach’s book. The most simple or even trivial activity such as a child’s fear of darkness or a bored pupil’s imagination running wild while at school becomes a big adventure when seen through his prism. The theme of war is most recurrent, specifically the human traits (whether good or bad) that drive people to war. Honour, love, deceit, hunger for power - they are all seen through the Prism of Allnach’s imagination. The whole collection of stories is interesting and intriguing and sometimes even moving. There is a dark element in most of them. I definitely enjoyed it and would strongly recommend it.

(Review by Lisa Jones for Readers' Favorite)

  Prism by Roland Allnach is a wonderful collection of short stories which manage to capture the imagination. I became hooked from the beginning on this enthralling eclectic collection of rare delights. I think that the mixture is just right and there is something for everyone here. The author did get great feedback in the preview to this book, which always makes the read more enjoyable, and I knew I would not be disappointed. Out of them all, my favourite has to be the first story with the soldier whose men had all died. He goes looking for water and his life changes forever. I found this captivating and imaginative and could not stop reading.

  Roland Allnach delivers a wonderful collection of stories in Prism. It was cleverly written in a way which attracted the reader from the outset. Each story was different and unique. I think there is something for all tastes and I expect to be seeing more great things from this author. The development of the plots and characters had just the correct balance and I was just taken away into the realms of my own imagination. I look forward to another similar collection from this author and I would highly recommend this book to all. It brings an air of mystery, along with witty and wonderfully delivered tales. Prism will certainly be one of those rare books to add to my collection of precious finds. Overall, I would say that you are missing out if you don't read this book.

(Review by Rattan Whig for Readers' Favorite)

  A timeless, exquisite collection of short stories that's bound to leave you mesmerized and awestruck.  The compilation is a masterpiece, besides being lifelike in many ways.  The selection of stories indicates a true literary master at work. Each story itself is superbly written and offers glimpses into some of the less visited areas of human psychology. The stories tend to relate to a constant stream of boundless energy and the forces at work in the human mind. That the human mind is the true master of each person's outward behavior and inner thoughts is known and well respected, yet the depths are untested and unknown to a large extent. What these depths hold and exactly how it manifests as a reflection is the deeper mystery. The reality tends to get lost in the quagmire of thoughts for it is the thoughts that define our reality. Reality and the perception of reality, or, in other words thoughts and fantasies, take on a different meaning under stressful circumstances and preclude the owner from acting in their best interest. For some, this defines the life that they live each day while for some others it is the sign of things to come. Yet, one unmistakable fact is their presence and their influence on everything around.

  Much of what we don't understand about being human is inside our head. Popular line I read somewhere, dismissed as another interesting choice of words, yet so true in the context. How could the human mind be so majestic and frighteningly unfamiliar, so inviting yet so fear-invoking, so brilliant to imagine yet so fearful in reality? Why does the reality differ for each person? Why is there no rest even while one is surrounded by all the creature comforts? The answers to these and similar questions may not be the prerogative of this book as much as it is the thought provoking and curiosity raising element many of the stories succeed in inducing. A wonderful and memorable read!



Review of 'Prism' in Feathered Quill Book Reviews
Reviewed by Amy Lignor

  When you think of the word, 'prism,' you think of glass; that triangular shape with refracting surfaces at acute angles that separate white light into a spectrum of colors. It is not an overstatement to say that this author, with this collection of the best of his short stories along with his newest creations, is most definitely that 'spark' of pages that shoots a spectrum of colors through the mind and imagination.

  There are too many to delve into for a review, so selecting some of the most extraordinary (which was difficult, considering the writing never fails to entertain), is what to do in order to attempt to frame the pictures that Allnach has created.

  In the very beginning the reader opens to the world of a soldier; a soldier who is in thought, considering he's all that’s left of what everyone assumed would be a triumphant army. The promise of this battle to the people had been that it would be swift - with the golden armored soldiers making sure to defeat a smaller, less-armed, less-experienced culture that was basically fighting with passion. There are morals here galore, with the foundation telling that money and nobility do not equal success when put up against a man who lives and dies for their beliefs. Readers watch the solider deal with his survival, deal with his own valor, and stay loyal to his oath to protect a city that he can no longer defend. Among him his madness, savages, and a woman who needs that soldier’s protection no matter what the cost. The tale is "After the Empire," and the plot is vivid, dramatic, and extremely enticing.

  A young boy sits in the classroom, like most, bored with the reality of school. Engaging his imagination the boy becomes "The Great Hunter," heading into a world through his drawings and mind, where predators must be slain...and perhaps where new prey can be found back in reality.

  Bone-chilling fear makes the reader want to hide under their own bed in "Creep." William, the grad student who has found a once-in-a-lifetime discovery and rushes to share the news with his Professor in "Apogee," learns the valuable lesson that when something comes once, perhaps it is the most loved and most supportive person in your life who should head the news...making one of those moments that rarely happen during a lifetime. The 5-Acts of "Titalis" take the reader's breath away, as a journey to a place of lost glory is taken, where minds and souls work and play.

  On and on this collection goes, with tales for literally everyone's tastes. Each genre is spoken for - from the Technicolor world of sci-fi to humor to horror to fantasy, and beyond. Allnach has a voice that speaks so loud readers lose themselves in the stories, making this a whole lot of fun!

Quill says: Just like a prism, this is a dazzling collection.


Review of 'Prism' for Rebecca's Reads
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau

  Author Roland Allnach, in his new collection of stories, titled, “Prism,” has taken the risk of alienating readers with too varied a selection of genres. Everything is in the stew here: futuristic tales, love stories, horror, on and on, filling the pot with all manner of ingredients. How easily this might have backfired. After all, how many of us indulge in so many different styles of storytelling? At first I wondered why in the world Mr. Allnach would do it. The answer, in my mind, has now become a simple thing: he is blessed with an abundance of imagination, and either could not contain it, or, wisely I now believe, chose not to. Here you have the splendor of falling into worlds wholly designed by the author, then finding others more grounded in real life scenarios. You have heartbreak and fear and love and Sci-Fi. You have, in the end, pure, unadulterated creativity. And what (in this case, nothing, absolutely nothing) could be wrong with that.
  Mr. Allnach surprises with each new story here. You must open your mind to difference, to receiving your entertainments in different forms. It can be hard for a reader to do this; we are trained to hold one plate of food at a time. If such habits can be put aside, “Prism” will shatter you into countries that glimmer, stories that entrance. The themes of life are the same no matter how they are presented. If prejudices are put in a drawer, locked from sight and ability to interfere, you will be given hours of pleasure. Roland Allnach is a storyteller. He can conjure and feed the head things that keep a reader turning pages. You have pieces like, Icon, an interior work, hard boiled, wherein a modern day, unnamed `Critic' exposes the price of obsession, the pain of exploitation. Later, you come upon, Titalis, a story which draws a world long gone, an ancient place of hills and plains and war and warriors. The grit of it can be tasted, the actuality of what no longer exists, brought alive fully. With, Turn of the Wheel, Allnach uses colloquial language, a first person narrator, plain spoken, to give a straight forward, morbid account of family tragedy. Something for everyone? More like everything for anyone in love with fine literature. 

  “Prism” is a book of stories written with precision. It does not dance with overwrought stylings. Instead it chisels out what is needed with laser description, true to the ear dialogue, characters built into believability, and stories that capture the attention. Forget about picking the genre you're most attracted to; widen the avenues, take all of them in. Doing so will give what is most wanted: the pleasure of living tales un-lived before. Mr. Allnach is no light weight. Below the surface of many of his stories things are swimming that must be thought about to be discovered. Layers are important because they reveal. This collection is to be savored, read again and gain. The gift received for your time will be enormous. More, and better than that, it will be fun.




Review of 'Prism' at Bestsellersworld
Reviewed by Douglas Cobb


  Just like prisms reveal brilliant colors of the spectrum, so does Roland Allnach’s collection of short stories, Prism, reveal a wide spectrum of brilliantly written short fiction written by a master storyteller. The majority of the 17 short stories in Prism have been previously published in venues ranging from Rose & Thorn Journal to Bewildering Journal. Prism is like a collection of greatest hits that just keep on coming, each successive tale better than the preceding one, but all of them crafted and refined by a genius wordsmith.

  This review won’t discuss every single one of the gems within the pages of Prism, as that would somewhat spoil the joy that readers of this fine collection owe to themselves to experience firsthand. However, I will mention a few of the short stories to give you a tantalizing taste of the banquet of tales that await you.

  The first short story in Prism is “After the Empire.” It was originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of The Armchair Aesthete. The tale is told primarily through the thoughts and perspective of a soldier who still seeks stubbornly to defend his city despite its having been overrun by a ruthless enemy. The soldier is sick, hungry, and thirsty, but he is persistent in honoring what he feels is his duty.

  The only other character who speaks and attempts to befriend the soldier is a woman who had been a servant in the household of a wealthy man’s family. Everybody except for her has been killed. She is the only one left. When the soldier meets her, he asks her if she has a horse he can use even before he asks for some water to drink. The soldier is stubborn, perhaps due to a sense of loyalty; or, perhaps because he knows no other way of life.

  “11,” the second tale in the collection, was originally published in the Fall 2008 issue of Allegory. The story is about a man, Carl, who feels as if he has been tormented by an unseen person ever since he was a young boy. The tormentor seems to delight in destroying any tiny hints of happiness in Carl’s life, killing a pet dog that he had when he was a boy, burning down his parents’ house with them trapped inside, ruining any chances he might have had at love and a real life. What is the significance of the number "11" and the tattoo of it that Carl, who becomes a janitor, has on his hand? You will have to read the story to find out!

  The third short story in Prism, “Icon,” first appeared in the January 2009 issue of Midnight Times. The story tells about a music critic, who is known wherever he goes as just “the critic.” He can make or break the musical acts he sees with just a few lines in his column. In “Icon,” he becomes infatuated with a particular act, a woman who sings punk music, drinks vodka and vomits on the stage. The critic treasures every encounter he has with her, even the most fleeting ones. He bails her out of jail several times yet never turns his back on her, even when he, himself, is criticized for losing his objectivity.

  These three wonderful short stories are just the beginning of Prism by Roland Allnach. He writes of tragic love, serial killers, aliens, and many other topics, and includes elements of speculative fiction, myths, science fiction, and horror in the 17 tales in this latest collection. If you are looking for an excellent collection of short stories from one of today’s premier authors, look no further than Prism by Roland Allnach!


Review of 'Prism' at Pacific Book Review
Rated 5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Jason Lulos

  Quite an intriguing and thought-provoking storyteller. Each piece in this collection is literally and figuratively engaging. In short, Allnach's abilities as a storyteller in transporting the reader to fantastic worlds is obvious, but these tales also lend themselves to allegorical comparison with current issues, private to sociological. The wide cast of characters in this collection range from the pathetic to the triumphant to the homicidal and psychotic. The collection could have aptly been called “Tragedy and Comedy” but that would have been too cliché. There is plenty of tragedy, some comedy, numerous elements of the surreal and always with hints of suspense. He keeps you guessing. In this collection, you will find short stories reminiscent of Poe's style of the grotesque, troubled mind. You will also find epic poetry, Shakespearean tragedy, and occasionally some comic relief. There is something for everyone, but the roads in most of these stories are dark and paradoxically laden with hope and hopelessness.

  The final story, “Dissociated” is on the cyclic nature of things, writing, and life. A nice way to close, considering the first story, “After the Empire,” is about the end of things. Although there is a wide range of issues and genres in Prism, there is the sense of a continuum, much like a concept album where the songs exist on their own but somehow synthesize together. The soldier in “After the Empire” willingly fights for a lost cause. The protagonist in “11” fights against his own subconscious. The critic in “Icon” fights against the media's sycophantic infatuation with celebrity; and thereby fights against himself. So, there is this continuum of struggle, reflection, rebuilding, reconciliation. In “Memento,” Henry tries to reconcile by reaching out to his enemy's family. Internal psychological struggle and actual war parallel each other like the two faces of a prism, with multiple angles of introspection and allegorical interpretation on the sides. Dark as they are, they invite the reader to look at struggle as difficulty but also as an accepted challenge, and there is optimism in that pessimism. It's not all Sisyphean. Allnach provides levity with the nose-picker in “The Great Hunter” and the poem “Tumbleweed” otherwise titled “An Ode to a Well Endowed Gunslinger.”

  I have to mention “Beheld” as a really interesting look on creation itself. But where Allnach really goes out on a limb is with “Titalis” and “Typhon and Aerina.” Titalis is a tragedy with Shakespearean themes and the flowery language to boot. “Typhon and Aerina” is an epic poem written in classical style. This makes an interesting juxtaposition in the collection; so much science fiction is set in the future, but these are ambiguous as they could be in the distant past, the distant future, or in some parallel universe. This calls to mind the Family Guy mockery of Star Wars noting the tale is “in a galaxy far, far away but somehow in the future.” Kidding aside, this is the mark of a good science fiction writer; to give tales some linear ambiguity, leaving it up to the reader to decide if they've already happened or have yet to be.


Review of 'Prism' at Hollywood Book Reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Ella Vincent

  Prism by author Roland Allnach shows the full spectrum of his creativity, storytelling skills, vivid imagination and although may be a bit frightening at times, he is always entertaining.

  Prism is a collection of Roland Allnach’s newest short stories and acclaimed poetry all in one book. Allnach’s short stories are compelling and engaging tales. The stories are haunting and graphically terrifying; in a good way. One standout tale is “11’’ about a man driven to unspeakable acts by his bullying tormentor.

  Another intriguing story is “Icon.’’ That story details the dysfunctional relationship between a Courtney Love-like troubled female rock star and an obsessed music critic. One story, “Creep’’ is a simple story about a boy battling monsters he creates that sends an evocative message about fear. Some of the stories are graphically violent, but teach a subtle lesson about obsession, cruelty, and love.

  Allnach’s stories also feature other genres, like science fiction in “ The City of Never,’’ dystopian fantasy fiction in “After the Empire’’ and long-form poetry like “Of Typhon and Aerina.’’ There’s even some humor in Prism in the midst of all the drama and horror. One poem, “ Tumbleweed (An Ode to a Well-Endowed Gunslinger)’’ is a humorous look at a Wild West lawman.

  Allnach’s genres vary and so do his characters. Many of them are tragic, but also have an underlying gentle humanity, like the rock singer in “Icon.’’ The fictional settings of places like Eurimedon in “Titalis’’ come to life as a brilliant example of Allnach’s storytelling skills.

  Allnach’s adult fiction would be perfect for horror fans that love the spine-tingling stories of authors such as Stephen King. The science-fiction and fantasy stories would also be great for Game of Thrones fans that want more adult fantasy fiction to add to their collections. Prism would also be a great addition to libraries’ horror or science-fiction sections.

  The stories are so vivid, they could easily be made into a horror series, similar to Tales from the Crypt. “Titalis’’ could also be turned into a book series of its own with its rich characters and storylines. Allnach’s writing asks a lot of provocative questions, and readers will enjoy trying to find the answers.

  Prism shows the full range of Roland Allnach’s unique writing. The collection of stories will introduce readers to new worlds and new ways of looking at traditional book genres. Author Roland Allnach’s award-winning literature shows that short stories can leave a long-lasting impact on readers.


REVIEW of 'Prism' by Roland Allnach

Reviewed by Cynthia Brian

 5 STARS  -   Optimistic Odyssey

  The book cover for Prism offers a glimpse into a formidable journey of the mind. Your sensibilities will be shocked, appalled, energized, scared, saddened, and relieved as you forge your way through chapters of fantasy, horror, mythology, war, tragedy, humor, and speculative fiction. A compendium of many of Allnach’s award winning and Editor’s Choice stories previously published, Prism is a science fiction adventure appearing real.

  His previous book, Oddities and Entities, centered on the speculative, supernatural, and the paranormal, written in a style that I labeled “poetic prose”.  In Prism, Allnach, continues the odyssey of grim, gruesome, groaning eruptions that shatter one’s perception of normalcy. Cannibalism, insanity, and incest are equally examined alongside topics of love, lunacy, and gossamer lightness of being. Without warning, we are pulled into the depths of darkness then rocketed to the radiance of blinding brightness, all within a few pages. Prism is an emotional roller coaster.

  Without a doubt, Allnach is a literary genius painting portraits that simultaneously repulse and attract. Whether his subjects are wilting or witty, the poetry of his words conspires to entrap the reader in a web of seduction. After reading Prism, you’ll want to know the back-story of how he hatches his ideas. Has he heard tales of such horrors during his twenty-year night watch at the hospital? Has he witnessed true-life experiences that have transitioned into his prose? Are his writings derived from a vibrant imagination, terrifying nightmares, or raucous reality?

  Only Allnach can answer these questions and I intend to ask him on his next visit to my radio program, Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® In the meantime, pick up Prism and prepare for a wild ride, an E ticket with steel seat belts required.

  The optimism resides in the truth that Roland is on a roll…stay tuned!

 Cynthia Brian is Producer/Host of StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio and a New York Times best selling author.


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