Story Time Reviews: Entanglement

Image of star-studded space with a red, whirling cloud whose center is a black hole.

Story Time Reviews is a blog series that offers reviews of stories both read and read aloud. Today’s Story Time, Reviews Entanglement. Eris (Ruari McDonnell) is the author of Entanglement ©2017. Astra (Jordan Scherer) is the narrator. The story first aired on the Bad Astra podcast on Spotify, January 28, 2021. (Also available on Apple, and many other platforms.) 

It first appeared on the Bad Astra YouTube channel on February 5, 2021. It is 24:12 minutes long.

The Story

This short story starts with an absolutely fascinating “what if” question in the narrator’s first line. 

“Falling into a black hole is always a violent death, but the pain levels vary.”

The narrator discusses the pain levels possible depending upon the size of the black hole and how fast you fall victim to spagettification. Spagettification is a word coined by Stephen Hawking as a joke, but now is an official term, she says. She tells us that in 2384, a witness saw a person sucked into a black hole. And gives us basic information about black holes, particularly entangled black holes.

Then the narrator tells us she “is essentially, a disembodied consciousness at the mercy of her new home, in an entangled set of black holes.” 

The Story Develops

We learn our narrator was an astrobiologist searching for intelligent life outside of humanity with her co-worker/employees. One night she gets talked into taking a night off to a karaoke bar with her co-workers. After a few too many drinks, a singularly beautiful woman walks in and the astrobiologist is smitten. She slurs through a pickup line which the beauty says was “really, really bad.” Still, there aren’t many people to talk to, so they talk. Just as the astrobiologist believes she is going to be invited to the young woman’s room, she blacks out. When she wakes, she thinks the pain she feels is from a hangover.

I’m hooked!

I won’t tell you anymore about the story so as not to spoil your enjoyment should you listen to it. There’s nothing ground breaking about the plot. But I will tell you it kept my attention all the way through, even when “editor-me” noticed an anachronism or two. 

The Author

Ruari McDonnell is a self-described “narcissist” who does not have a website. I found this photograph and a short bio on LinkedIn.

“I’m a writer with an absurdist sense of humor steeped in existential dread, but in the best way. My background in theater and film has resulted in an intimate understanding of production and engaging script development. While my parents ruined my dreams of being an astronaut, I’ve channeled my passion for STEM into my science communication career path and into the foundation of Bad Astra. I graduated DePaul University summa cum laude with a BA in English, so I am certifiably literate. I’m happy to chat about writing, content development, and baking. Let me tell your story.”

The Voice Talent

Photo of a young woman with long auburnish hair, Jordan Scherer, wearing a bright blue shirt and has a necklace with a large amber-looking stone.

Jordan Scherer (she/her) has an engaging voice with a nice range of tones and inflections. It’s the type of voice talent that allows you to immerse yourself in the story.

On ACX Ms. Scherer describes herself as “just a queer engineer living the dream in Chicago and moonlighting as a voice actress.” (Her photo is also from LinkedIn.)

“Bad Astra is a science comedy YouTube series which makes astronomy, physics, more accessible for adults through comedy, simple explanations, and more costume changes than math.”

“As Astra, the host, I research interesting scientific topics, co-write scripts with my business partner, film and perform those scripts, and edit videos for a YouTube audience. I also interview scientists about their research, with a focus on promoting representation of women and BIPOC scientists.”

from LinkedIn

On ACX her credits include: Women of Resistance (Audiobook-Poetry), The Revolution Bell (In Production; Audiobook-Poetry), Falling Gracefully (Audiobook-Romance), Amelia Earhart and Her Life (Audiobook-Kids), The Dancer series (Audiobook-Fantasy), Jolly Jokes for Kids series, books 1-10 (Audiobook-Kids), Billy Bear Runs Away (Audiobook-Kids), The German Girl (Audiobook-Kids), Magic and Fantasy (Audiobook-Kids), BCC (Audiobook-Romance), and The Kitten Who Didn’t Know How to Meow (Audiobook-Kids).

My Opinion

I loved this story. The point of view character’s voice is authentic, conversational, and relatable. She wonders if one of her coworker’s “goal in life was to fulfill all the classic space nerd stereotypes.” She finds fault in the karaoke bar’s name while admitting she understands that the bar’s name is a play on words and she doesn’t like bars. Her idea of a good time is “reading essays on quantum mechanics or Sudoku.” 

The author uses some great metaphors with strong story-themed words. Words like: “eyes like a solar prominence,” and a “cacophony of what sounded like a spacecraft being crushed by an intense gravitational field.”

The story made me laugh out loud several times. It’s a full-circle story that this listener found satisfying. If you like science fiction, appreciate some snark, and actual science in your fiction, you’ll like this story.


I’ve already said it, but it bears repeating. I love this story. It’s layered, has a few twists, and is a complete story. Could it be improved? Perhaps, but you don’t need perfection when the character, the plot, the narrator voice, and the scientific information all blend into an engaging story. 

If you liked this review, you might like other Story Time Reviews posts.

Did you listen to this story?

What did you think? 

Image Credit

Top image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

A Short Tale of Golden Consequences

In America, everyone claims to be a little bit Irish in March. They guzzle green beer and generally have a good time. They talk about shamrocks and rainbows, and leprechauns and pots of gold. Never once do they stop to think about the consequences of their actions. This is a short-short about consequences, golden consequences to be more specific. (Trigger warning: includes allusions to sex and violence and may not be appropriate for younger readers.)

Image is a a pair of beer mugs with heads of foam over a green round banner that reads St. Patrick's Day against a gold background that welcomes you to the story world of Golden Consequences by Lynette M. Burrows

Golden Consequences

I’m an American with Irish heritage and I tell you, I love St. Patrick’s Day in America. Green beer—whoever thought that one up was a genius. Of course, I serve nothing but green beer on the sainted day. Oh, didn’t I tell you? I am the proprietor and bartender at Shawn’s Tavern. 

Oh, yeah, it was a little shop, one people call a hole-in-the-wall. Ah, who am I kidding? It was a dive. I had my eye on this swank place off of Main Street, but I didn’t have the cash. St. Patrick’s Day was one of my biggest days. Until the day I met one particular lady..

It was the wee hours of the night after St. Patrick’s Day and I’d just tossed the last drunk out, locked the door, and counted my till. I hung up my apron and headed for the back door when I heard a wee sound. A tiny sob. It came from the back corner, the darkest corner in the place. I made my way back there and almost missed her, a wee girl sitting on a stool and a-crying her eyes out. I didn’t think she’d noticed me so I say, “There, there little lady, I don’t know why you’re a-crying but things can’t be so bad.” Taking my handkerchief out of my pocket, I offer it to her. “Her now,” I say, “wipe your tears and tell me what’s troubling you. I’ll help you, if I can.”

She looks up at me and I see the greenest, most emerald eyes I’ve ever seen in my life. She took my handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes that never left mine. “Oh, sir, how kind you are, unlike the scoundrel who took all my money and left me here all alone.”

Image of a cute leprechaun girl with big eyes and long blonde hair stepping out of a blue globe with a green bow behind it, she may end up as golden consequences.

“Someone robbed you?” I say, “Here, in my bar? Tell me who did this. I’ll make the sod pay.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket and swiped up.

“Who are you calling?” She asked in a voice that fell on my ears like a melody of violins.

“The cops, I’ve got to report this, you know,” I told her. “Got to keep my license and my bar clean of this kind of stuff.”

“Oh, sir, please don’t. You’ll besmirch my name in my Da’s eyes.” She gave me a look that pierced my heart.

I turned my phone off and put it back in my pocket. “Then, at least let me take you home. You live with your parents?” I offered her my hand.

“In a manner of speaking.” She took my hand and stood. All of three feet tall, she wore a wisp of a dress that didn’t reach her knees.

My shock must have shown on my face. 

“You’ve never seen a little person before?” 

“Never one so small and beautiful as you.”

“Would you like to make love?”

My heart and my manhood swell in answer.

She puts a delicate hand over her mouth and laughs a laugh that teases and arouses me at the same time. 

My brain and my manhood spar about what is right and what I want “I don’t want to hurt you,” I say. 

Her tiny hand pulls me with a surprising strength that should have made me wary, but the desire in her eyes drove away everything else.

Never has love-making on the floor of the bar left me so completed and depleted. She rolled off me and snuggled into the crook of my arm. Her sigh was a warm breath of spring. Tears shimmered in those emerald eyes.

“Oh, please don’t cry again,” I say. “It’d break my heart.”

“It always pains me when the kind ones are bound to me.”

I laugh, low and heavy, with the afterglow of sex. “Bound to you?”

“It is a rare thing for a lady leprechaun to be seen. Rarer still for her to share her passion with a human.”

I laugh again, not as low or as comfortable. “So, did I earn your pot-o-gold?”

“Oh, lad,” she says. “Haven’t you already done that?” She smiles. Her lips stretch against pointed, wicked-sharp teeth. 

Image of a green leprechaun's hat full of gold coins with two large shamrocks above the hat with a the same golden background--an illustration of the short-short story Golden Consequences by Lynette M Burrows

That was five years ago. Now, I know what you’re a thinking. There’s no such thing as a lady leprechaun. But I swear on my mother’s grave, she is… If you don’t believe me, you can see her for yourself. Just go through that door there. 

No sooner than the door closed behind him that the lights went out. I busy myself with putting away beer glasses, noisy-like, so I don’t hear his cry of surprise. A green glow strobes around the door. Long after I finish stacking the glasses, the pulse of emerald light slows to a flicker, then dims to a glimmer. I wait until the room inside goes dark again, then rap on the door. “That’s the last of the stragglers tonight,” I say. “Is it safe?”

“Come, get your pot of gold.”

Sometimes my writing surprises myself. This story was inspired by a post about how there have never been any myths about lady leprechauns. I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope that you haven’t suffered golden consequences or any other kind from your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

Story Time Reviews “The Night Librarian”

Story Time Reviews is a blog series that reviews short stories both read and read aloud. Today Story Time Reviews “The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago, read by Chris Herron on TallTaleTV. 

Working as the night librarian in a library full of magical books comes with its perks, but also its heaping spoonful of issues.

Duration: 22:51

The Story

This is definitely a story for adult ears. Some commenters complained about the lack of a content warning and wished there had been a hint of the content within the title or story description.

“The Night Librarian” is a complete short story (approx. 6000 words in length). The protagonist is the title character described as a dumpy girl with a determined chin. Her job is to re-shelve the magical books that don’t always want to stay in their places. It’s a tricky job, but she brooks no disorder.

After she re-shelves the last trolley full of books to the erotica stack, a multi-species band of magical creatures appeal to her for help. Something scary has slipped out of the pages of a book and hidden itself in the stacks. Scary enough that magical creatures who don’t normally get along huddle in the group asking for help.

Her first attempt puts an evil-sounding reptilian presence back in his place. But the magical creatures let her know he wasn’t the one they fear. She must banish the creature before sunrise or it will live in the librarian forever.

The Author

Jane Jago is a self-described genre-hopping maniac, who could no more stop reading than she could stop breathing.

She lives in “the beautiful west country with my big, silly dog and my big sensible husband.”

A self-published indie author, she is also a co-author of the Dia and Julia Mysteries. A complete list of Jago’s published stories is on Amazon.

Her brief bio at the end of the video is delightful. Be sure to listen to it.

A complete list of Jago’s published stories is on Amazon.

You also can find Jane Jago on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Voice Talent

The voice talent reading “The Night Librarian” is Chris Herron creator of TallTaleTV a podcast and YouTube channel.

In his bio, Herron tells us that his poorly controlled diabetes caused legal blindness in 2015. His doctors said he had an 80% chance of never seeing again.

It was a tough time for him. His wife took him to the library and read audiobook titles to him. He listened to books he had read and loved. Audiobooks helped him in ways he hadn’t imagined they would. 

Herron changed his lifestyle and beat the odds. His love of audiobooks led to a new goal: to become a narrator and help writers showcase their work. 

Tall Tale TV features sci-fi and fantasy short stories. He reads a new story every Monday and Friday.

My Opinion

The Story

“The Night Librarian” is interesting, with plenty of pleasing alliteration and interesting word choices. The first sentence places us solidly in the library.

It was very quiet in this area of the stacks.

“The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago
Photograph of a view of library stacks perhaps like the one where the night librarian works.

The second sentence hints that this library will not be like most.

So quiet that if you listened carefully enough you could hear the books breathing.

“The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago

Appearances by notable familiar fantasy creatures and persons were delightful. And there’s nice increasing tension in the build up to confrontations with the evil creatures.

The story voice is more distant than I prefer. It’s almost but not quite an omniscient viewpoint. That is a minor, personal preference.

However, the story was not quite satisfying. My dissatisfaction comes from the fact that the protagonist barely struggled and ultimately it was not her actions that defeated the villain.

The Narrator

While I didn’t care for the voice of the librarian, the rest of the narration was pleasing. I deeply enjoyed the voices of the evil creatures.

I’m guessing Herron is self-trained. His reading is not of a professional actor level, but he is consistent and has a unique voice for each character. Not of a professional actor level isn’t a criticism. It’s simply a statement that either production or voice or both have room to grow.

Professional or not, his almost 4K subscribers enjoy listening to him.

About Content Warnings

I want to add one more note. While there are reading and viewing topics that will trigger me, this story did not. My preference is to not give or read content warnings. The story title, description, and the first page or paragraphs should give a hint if the story includes sensitive issues. The erotica element was first mentioned in this story at 3:31 minutes. For me, the 15% mark is acceptable.

Was the erotica necessary to the story? Not entirely, but it added to the setting, character development, and the tone of the story. Therefore, I believe its inclusion is the author’s prerogative.


Story Time reviews “The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago as read by Chris Herron on TallTaleTV. The story held my interest and much of it delighted me. I give it four stars. If it had a more satisfying ending, I would have given it five. As always, your mileage may differ. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. Better yet, give the author and YouTube channel a review.