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Short Story Review – Thumbs Up for ‘Hold On’ by Dave Dubrow

Editorial Note: Minor spoilers in the following review.

Artwork for “Hold On.”
Courtesy of Liberty Island Magazine.
“Hold On” (2015) by Dave Dubrow (@davedauthor) is a quick tale of speculative fiction. It succeeds as a great short story. It also succeeds in showing that speculative fiction (or science fiction) doesn’t have to be about robots, monsters, or the far-flung future. Instead, it can be a great genre for peeking just slightly ahead to see things we might experience sooner rather than later.

First, full disclosure: Dave and I are both creators at Liberty Island Magazine. And we both contribute to The Loftus Party. So we’re colleagues. Nevertheless, I can honestly say I enjoyed “Hold On.”

One of the elements of a great short story is that it starts by dropping you into the middle of the action. Things have already happened to get the plot to where it is at the start. In fact, this is a necessity because if the author spends too much time on exposition he’ll soon find he’s no longer writing a short story.

This subsequently forces you as the reader to figure out what’s going on. And who doesn’t like a mystery?

“Hold On” has this element. It also has another important element of any good story: a great hook.

You only have to get to the third short paragraph of “Hold On” before you know that something unusual is happening. In fact, that’s the first sign that you’re in for a great speculative fiction read. And from there, Dave spins a tale that involves contemporary issues while also including genuine emotion.

At least one of the reviewers who commented at the end of “Hold On” appears to think the tale is about adoption. That wasn’t my take on the story. Adoption is an element but that’s not the main conflict of it. Instead, it’s something much better and you’ll have to read “Hold On” to find out what it is.

Time is a valuable commodity in our age. So I enjoy reading anthologies since I not only get multiple tales in one book, but because I can read a complete tale easily in one setting.

And if someone were to compile an anthology of speculative fiction stories set in the near future (where everything seems the same as our world now with only minor differences) he’d do well to include “Hold On” in it.

My rating: Thumbs up for Dave Dubrow’s “Hold On.”

(Be sure to visit Dave’s website and to browse his novels too.)