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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Ren Ellis's Confirm Humanity and Other Stories is a collection of short stories, flash fictions, and microfictions filled with questions, intrigue, tears, and hope. Ranging from familiar to fantastical, the settings and the characters are diverse. 'Deluge' starts the collection, set in the far future where a young woman and her grandmother go on a vacation in a world largely changed due to an extreme global flood. In 'The Stepmother’s Story', Ellis puts a spin on the classic fairytale theme by having a positive perspective about a modern stepmother and her role in the family. 'Confirm Humanity', which is also the title of the collection, is divided into three parts; in '(2019)', a tired, working mother receives a little help from an understanding stranger, proving that benevolence still matters. 'Confirm Humanity (2020)' reflects on the effect of the global pandemic on the workforce that’s already being significantly robotized. In Confirm Humanity (2021), hope for a return to normalcy strengthens as vaccines become available.
I remember when Marie Kondo became famous for her method of organizing. A tenant utilizes the Konmari method by tidying up and minimalizing her living space including making money by subletting her storage room to monsters in 'Monsters Welcome'. It's a light-hearted short tale in stark contrast to 'Runaway Bride', a poignant reminder that the battle between freedom and authoritarian regimes still continues, leaving scars on people who live to tell their stories. 'The Time Garden' is the most intriguing; it's a story that is both literal and metaphorical about how long love between two people can last. Readers will definitely enjoy the eclectic and fantastical stories in Ren Ellis's Confirm Humanity and Other Stories, and the collection's element of humanity will hit home, reminding us of the pivotal moments that define us.