Demo Tapes 3 is a collection of short stories and micro fiction featuring the rock band Shapeshifter, which main characters are Trevor (the main character) and Mitchell (the band leader and Trevor’s best friend). All Demo Tapes anthology refer to the novel Trevor Song, in which Trevor’s and the Shapeshifter’s story is further developed.
The whole Demo Tapes concept is very interesting. It gives the reader snippets of intimate moments of the characters that would slow down the reading if introduced in a single piece but are very interesting as separated stories. It’s very possible to read any Demo Tape isolated, as I did, since the author takes care of introducing each story and informing the reader where in the band’s story each short story fits. It was a bit disconcerting, at first, to be introduced to so many characters and viewpoints at once, but Susan’s characters are very well rounded so it soon becomes easy to identify the protagonists and to welcome new people as they are introduced.
These short introductions to each story also create a connection with readers and fellow writers, as she addresses them directly. She shares elements of her writing process, her blogging history an even some personal aspects of her life that explain why her descriptions and the situations depicted on her stories ring so true. Her experience in the business show may not have provided her the most fulfilling happening in her professional life -- as her character Jen came to realize in “Backstage with Jen” -- but it’s certainly paid off. Susan has a very effective and engaging way of killing our curiosity about what is it like to be a rock star, and also about how does it feel to be around them, and worship them. That makes quite a complete profile of the “rock’n roll people”.
The Demo Tapes gives hints about their inner conflicts and successes spiking my curiosity about Trevor's complicated family history, Mitchell's love life, and the secondary character's personality. Despite my initial disorientation, the book achieved its goal and I’m caught up in what the author likes to call the “Trevolution”. That is, I’d love to learn more about Trevor and his band, and specially to read a longer and complete piece about these grumpy and ill-mouthed guys. (Just a final warning for the purists.)
That’s certainly a recommend.