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The Sea Was a Fair Master

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  140 reviews
The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Maste
Kindle Edition, First, 83 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Unnerving
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Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Sea Was a Fair Master was so freaking fun to read!

I have never read a Flash Fiction Collection before and I wonder, are they all like this? Are they all so good?

I am guessing probably not. Calvin Demmer is a master at this style!

There are 23-stories within these 83-pages and each and every one of them left me with chills.

Mostly Horror stories, with a sprinkling of Sci-Fi and Crime Fiction, there is something here for everyone.

Whether your biggest fear is clowns ((MINE)), carnivals, the
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is a top notch collection of flash fiction!

I have always thought that flash fiction consisted of stories that were only a few sentences long. For example: "The last man in the world heard a knock at the door." That type of thing. I was wrong. Apparently flash fiction can be super short stories-say a page or two. Four to five. Six to seven. Now that I know the correct definition of flash fiction, I'll say this: I love it!

I read a ton of single author story collections an
Sadie Hartmann
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a stranger to flash fiction. I've written a fair amount of it myself just for fun. In fact, if you ever want to try your hand at it, Chuck Wendig hosts some great, themed Flash Fiction prompts and contests on his blog
I'll also tell you, I don't think I'm any good at writing Flash Fiction; it's extremely difficult! Often times, with just a few pages at your disposal , the story seems a little "raw in the middle". Undercooked.
This is not the case with
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I think The Sea Was a Fair Master is my first foray into reading flash fiction, and who knew that short, short stories could pack such a punch?

I was also impressed with the mix of genres within these 83 pages. Fantasy, crime, horror, and science fiction, with themes that ran the gamut from love and loss to greed and pure hate.

In a collection of 23 short stories, Calvin Demmer’s talent shines. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to try something different. The stories are dark in nature, but wel
Candace Robinson
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I normally am not a big fan of reading anthologies with short stories when they are by different authors because my level of liking the stories fluctuates. However, I have read several stories by Demmer and was excited to see there would be an anthology with only his written words. He’s like the king of horror short stories! Anyway, this was a cool ride through tales with dark stuff, fun stuff and all around cool stuff! Gritty and dark while also being thought provoking!
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
On these dark blue waves, it is the sea who is judge, jury, and executioner.

I'd heard so much praise within the horror blogging circles I run over this collection that, when I was offered the chance to review The Sea Was a Fair Master, it was a no-brainer—I immediately said yes! I've always been very fond of flash fiction (if you're not familiar, it's just really short stories!), but it's difficult to write, and even more difficult to write well. Thankfully, Calvin does an amazing job a
A talented author knows how to set the tone, the atmosphere and tell their story. In the case of author Calvin Demmer, he set that tone, that atmosphere and told several short stories without missing a beat! THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is dark, edgy reading with hints of horror, the unbelievable, the gut-clenching and the just plain creepy.

Several of the twenty-three tales told could easily be expanded into longer, and probably more gruesome tales, but most importantly, each one is complete or lea
Not gonna lie, this was actually a lot better than I was expecting!

What can I say? I'm a skeptic when it comes to e-published authors. (Note: I just assume this hasn't been published in physical format. Sorry for my ignorance if it has!) So many people seem to write a complete story then just go about self-publishing the ebook ASAP, which means they skip editing, beta reading, etc. - all the refining processes that turn a raw story into a compelling novel. I still enjoy reading 'amateur' work, b
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
This is a collection of little short stories or as they’re better known “flash fiction”. There are 23 of them and when I realized how short they were I have to admit I was super worried that they’d be a waste of my time. I mean, I have trouble with a lack of a complete story in a novella, never mind a story that is only 2 pages or so! But once I started reading them I was no longer worried. These stories are eerie, creepy, sinister, sometimes bleak or funny and always creative and best of all th ...more
The Grim Reader
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Calvin Demmer’s debut collection features 23 stories in which the author leaves no stone unturned. Demmer runs the gamut of genre fiction and in doing so gives us a varied, often stunning journey through his imagination.

Flash fiction is something that either works for you or it doesn’t. Unlike a recent drabble anthology I read and reviewed here, these stories carry more weight and have much more depth thanks to their length. When flash fiction is done poorly we often only get a glimpse at a wide
4.5 stars!

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER, is the first book I have read from author Calvin Demmer. There are 23 flash fiction stories in this collection, and--with only a couple of exceptions--I had assigned individual ratings of mostly five and four stars to each story. In a collection of any size, this is something I rarely do. You almost always have those stories that just don't resonate with you, for whatever reason. In this book, however, I was able to really appreciate the writing and direction
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Flash fiction is fairly new to me. I don't read a lot of stories in magazines, and I'm beginning to think that I need to change that. I'm thrilled that Demmer and Unnerving Magazine released this book of his flash fiction in a single volume. There isn't a dud in the entire bunch, and I really enjoyed this short and immensely entertaining collection. I read this one straight through, but I kept thinking how nice it would be t
Amber J
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.

This book is a collection of short stories. They all seem to be pretty horror based. They are super short. Some only being a page or two but some being a good 5 or more.

I didn't hate any of them, but this was my first introduction to short stories like this. While they were entertaining, I didn't find any of

Romi || Romi Reads
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks, review-copies
I have found a new favourite genre: flash fiction. For an impatient person, like me, it's perfect! Each story in The Sea Was a Fair Master is only a couple of pages long, but contains everything you need in a story: suspense, well built characters and a nice plot twist. And talking about the plot twists, I just have to mention that most of the stories contains a twist that takes place in only two or three words. It just comes out of the blue and leaves you flabbergasted! Sometimes I had to read ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Sea Was a Fair Master was a fun collection! This was my first time reading a series of flash fiction, and I enjoyed it very much. I think it's a really great way to get a taste of what someone's writing is like. If you need a book to carry on the go, this is a perfect one to pick up. Most of the stories can be read in just a few minutes. It was really hard not to blow through this book in one setting since I was enjoying it, but I made it last for a few days.

My favorite stories in this book
Chelsea (chelsea.wilde)
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a quick collection of flash horror and it is done right! Each story is unnerving in its own way, with some being left for you to draw your own conclusions. It’s an ideal blend of science fiction, horror and fantasy. An easy 5 stars for me and I’d recommend it to anyone!
Cassie Daley
“On these dark-blue waves, it is the sea who is judge, jury, and executioner. This is another realm, where forgiveness doesn’t exist as on land and where spirits do not find freedom among the clouds. Here, they ride the currents of forever.”

Review on my blog here:

I absolutely LOVE short stories, and especially flash fiction. As a kid, I used to select books based on how many pages they were - the more, the better. As an adult, I've found that I have so m
S.E. Casey
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, spanning the depths of horror, science fiction, crime, and fantasy. The commonality here is the form: flash fiction, or stories that are 2,000 words or under.

Flash fiction is not a rushed short story, nor is it simply an excerpt from a longer one. Flash is its own form. Like any story, it has a beginning, middle, and end. It has characters, plot development, nuance, and twists. Flash fiction is an economy of words, stories that start fast
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing short stories is hard, because you need to get your point across pretty quickly, but at the same time provide enough details that the readers won’t get bored out of their brains because of your dry ass wall of text. Writing flash fiction is even harder, but not for Calvin Demmer. He pulled this one off like a boss. Each and every story punches you in the face with such precision that you have no idea just what hit you. Since the stories are barely three pages long, this collection of sto ...more
Janie C.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection of flash fiction packs a punch into small spaces. Entire stories are covered with a sparing yet fully expressed amount of words. Each piece feels complete. Dread, violence, psychological issues and strong emotions all find their places amongst the pages. Supernatural elements meld with everyday occurrences, and many of the stories reveal clever twists. The author has a strong imagination and a skill with language, creating stimulating images and believable emotions with a concise ...more
Tracy Robinson
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review now available here:

Man, that was a great read. I'll have a complete review up soon - for now here are my faves from this collection:

Restroom Finds
Revenge of the Myth
The Sea Was a Fair Master
The Guests

Hangman gets a special mention for tackling an "extreme English" class. Made my English teacher heart happy.

I want to read more from Denmer as soon as possible.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The sea is a fair master is a collection of short horror stories. Very short stories. They are like little bite size appetizers. Each one with a different twist or some shock value.

I’m very picky about horror, but this type of stories really appealed to me. There is some gore, but not excessively. I would say that it focuses on the human condition and how terrifying that can be.

Some of the stories I chuckled at (this review is written by someone with a dark sense of humour) and others required
Steve Stred
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seriously, if you haven't read this yet, please change that.

I snagged this some time ago, and it became my 'I'll read this next' book about twenty times. Why? God if I know.

Now, what you'll find in this collection is tale after tale of minimal words with maximum impact. It's ridiculous. Demmer makes you fill in the blanks in the best way possible and good grief does he do a good job of ensuring your mind terrifies you. I wish I could suggest a few stand out tales, but I can't. I think there was
Sunshine Somerville
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This author never disappoints in coming up with unique, impressively well-written shorts. This collection of 23 stories has a little bit of everything – from crime to love to androids to the worst English class imaginable. There’s a great balance of creepy, troubling, sometimes funny (in an “oh, that’s terrible” grinning kind of way), and heart-wrenching tales.

I also love that these stories aren’t straight horror aimed for gore and terror only. They feel more akin to the works of Poe – there’s a
Brian Steele
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Demmer has created a stunning collection of dark flash fiction, its horrors touching on sci-fi, noir, humor, and fantasy. Each tale is a glimpse into his fertile and macabre imagination, literary slivers that will keep you riveted. I highly recommend for fans of Richard Thomas or Harlan Ellison.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Calvin Demmer for sending me a copy of The Sea Was a Fair Master to review!

Flash Fiction (flash fic·tion), noun.: fiction that is extremely brief, typically only a few hundred words or fewer in its entirety. difficult to write & yet Calvin Demmer nailed the shit out of it.

When it comes to flash fiction, you have only a matter of seconds to grasp the reader, set up characters, & deliver a plot. Y'all, sometimes people can't even do that in a full-length novel, yet here's Calv
When I picked up this collection of 23 stories by the oh-so talented, Calvin Demmer, I thought I was about to read 23 short horror stories. Oh....people!! This is SO MUCH more than that!! In fact, these stories are the kind of stories that stick in your head and aren’t too quick to leave. I read a couple of stories here and there. I loved reading it like that!!! Every one is different, another person might choose to read it all in one go! But I liked having a couple of stories to carry around in ...more
Jeffrey S. Kuehn
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent first book! So reminiscent of King’s Night Shift and Barker’s Books of Blood! Loved the short fast paced burst of suspense, horror, and gore! A new gem in the world of horror!
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
The Sea Was a Fair Master was such a fun read. I want more!

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 flash fiction stories. I have been toting these stories around for a few weeks now reading them when I had just enough time for bite size chunks. I'm going to have withdrawals now that I have finished the last story.

I always feel like the shorter the story is, the harder it must have been to write. I'm really impressed that Calvin Demmer was able to intrigue me and entertain me with such sh
Morgan Tanner
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read my fair share of flash fiction stories over the years, but this was the first collection I’d read from a single author. Flash fiction isn’t for everyone, but I’m a big fan. It’s not just because I have an extremely short attention span, though.

There’s a skill to writing stories this short. Creating a beginning, middle, and end in such a limited number of words is very difficult. But Calvin Demmer has managed to do this 23 times here, which is some doing.

The stories on offer here are su
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Calvin Demmer is the author of The Sea Was a Fair Master and Dark Celebrations. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. ...more

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108 likes · 10 comments
“On these dark-blue waves, it is the sea who is judge, jury, and executioner. This is another realm, where forgiveness doesn’t exist as on land and where spirits do not find freedom among the clouds. Here, they ride the currents of forever.” 9 likes
“The sea was a fair master. The crew and I were like everyone else. We had our smokes and booze. We had our notebooks and harmonicas. We sang, we gossiped, and we dreamed.” 0 likes
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