Our fast-paced world is shortening the already short attention spans of harried people everywhere as they rush-rush-rush to squeeze as many activities into a "never-enough-time" 24-hour day as they can. As a voracious reader and writer, it wounds me to hear the common refrain from my frenzied friends, "I wish I had more time to read."  To them I say, make the time -- there are plenty of leisure moments throughout our lives when the choice often is stare into the void or read something to refresh and invigorate your brain. With the growing popularity of e-readers and apps available for smartphones and tablet devices, there is almost no excuse now -- we carry and read a library of fiction and non-fiction almost everywhere we go that we can peruse as we wait in line, ride a bus or subway, kill some time awaiting the arrival of tardy colleagues, and countless other empty minutes that fill our seemingly booked-to-capacity calendars.

I came across a great book of extremely short tales called BAM! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories. Written by Luc Reid, a Writers of the Future winner, the collection is loaded with amazing examples of speculative fiction -- magic, adventure, horror, fantasy, humor, drama, all very imaginative and thought-provoking. 

If you liked my previous recommendation of short-short-story anthologies, you will definitely enjoy this compilation of even briefer yarns.  Some are like fragments of grander science fiction epics, others are twee renditions of interesting ideas, all stemming from an incredibly creative mind. Each nugget is a satisfying story in its own right that takes only a few minutes to read.  Even if you only have limited time, you will find yourself trying to cram as many of these gems as possible into your precious daily agenda.

For those writers out there trying to write the next great American novel, this book might inspire you to also try your hand at the short fiction artform (in this case, short-short-short fiction).  You will be amazed at how many great characters and ideas can be packed in a brevity of carefully selected words presented in clear, concise, yet powerful fashion.