Everything Is Always Perfect

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
119 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2023
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Author Biography


    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Everything Is Always Perfect by Ivan Paganacci is a captivating collection of eleven short stories that put characters in extraordinary situations. The book opens with the story "California," where a caretaker wakes up to find the world on the brink of collapse. When people start disappearing in a small town, a young man stumbles upon the mysterious culprit in "Croaker." "Dungeon" follows a woman who travels back to a medieval past in search of an ancient manuscript, only to be held captive in a dungeon after their little group is unexpectedly ambushed. "Hot Shower" is the story of a man who feels alienated in his body, finally realizing the hazards of his occupation. In "The Marionette's Ball," a marionette group deals with losing one of its members and welcoming another into the fold.

Surreal with a dash of the supernatural, Everything Is Always Perfect is an absorbing short story collection that provides thrills galore. Ivan Paganacci's tales reflect ordinary people and their behavior when they face absurd circumstances they have no control over. These stories seamlessly traverse the sci-fi and fantasy genres, giving an added mystique to the tales that make them all the more enthralling to read. Paganacci draws the reader's attention and curiosity with a compelling mystery at the beginning of each story and, without fail, takes you by surprise with an ending you never see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who loves sci-fi or fantasy.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Everything is Always Perfect by Ivan Paganacci is a collection of stories covering the apocalypse, science fiction, and magical realism. The eleven stories are told in first- and third-person points-of-view and some appear linked, like “California” and “Hole in the World.” The stories, at least those that don’t stretch into space, are set in the Western United States, and some endings leave you to draw your own conclusions.

In a book that rivals The Twilight Zone, Ivan Paganacci has delivered intriguing tales guaranteed to make readers think more intensely about aliens and other supernatural wonders. In “Lost in the Land,” Paganacci changes the meaning of characters “speaking” to him as he writes about a fictional character’s intervention, and the open-ended finale of “Hole in the World” will leave readers wondering if a divine power interceded or it was the trick of a hungry extraterrestrial force. “A New World Odor” is a spoof on Harry Potter, and it appears whimsical, while “Hot Shower” requires deeper thought.

Some characters experience light horror, but the author is a master at crafting it in a way that winds fluidly into the narratives. The stories are fully formed but easily enjoyed by busy readers searching for easily digestible tales. The author shows depth in his storytelling abilities and is destined to have hungry readers eagerly awaiting more of his work. Everything Is Always Perfect is great for readers who enjoy imaginative speculative fiction.

Mimie Odigwe

Ivan Paganacci’s Everything Is Always Perfect is a collection of eleven mind-boggling short stories that are as disturbing as they are humorous. This anthology is dark and unsettling, with tales ranging from eerie and morbid to apocalyptic and dystopian. In the first story, California, a young man describes the world as it draws to its end. In Hole In The World, a boy and his dog discover a secret portal that leads to “paradise” but ends morbidly. When the cat is away, the rat will play; in The Marionette’s Ball, a group of puppets bemoans their maltreatment at the hands of their Master’s son while the family is away.

Ivan Paganacci’s Everything Is Always Perfect is imaginative and exciting. Paganacci writes relatable stories and spins them off into horror and sci-fi. In Door, a man realizes he can leave his sad life and an unfulfilling job by passing through a door into an alternative existence. The story that struck me the most is Croaker. As people begin to disappear in a small town, a curious young man discovers the cause. This story was particularly vivid in my imagination; I could imagine the fog and feel the dampness, and I love the tiny twist at the end. The Marionette’s Ball’s cute ending was a surprise, especially when placed against the humorous or dark notes most of the stories end with. This excellent collection of stories will appeal to fans of the genre and newcomers alike. Rife with alien inventions, time travel, and portals, Everything Is Always Perfect is well-crafted, with a curated choice of stories that makes picking this book worth it all.

Doreen Chombu

Everything Is Always Perfect is a collection of stories by Ivan Paganacci. The first story is about a man reminiscing about a chaotic night, and the second is about people going missing in a town experiencing foggy weather. The other stories are about Bryan, a man who wishes to escape reality because he broke up with his girlfriend and might be losing his job, and a woman searching for an ancient manuscript. The book also contains stories about magicians, aliens, a man suffering from depersonalization disorder, dinosaurs, and many more. Each tale will take you on an unforgettable adventure. Therefore, get yourself a copy and enjoy the ride.

What if we are living in an alternative reality? Are there monsters in the woods? The stories in Everything Is Always Perfect will make you question what you already know. They all have a realistic feel with relatable everyday characters. The stories cover a range of genres and have plot twists that will leave you shocked. Some stories are connected, while others are standalone. Ivan Paganacci is an engaging writer that brings all the characters to life and makes you feel their anxiety and fear. One of the stories has a funny fourth-wall scene that caught me off guard and made me laugh. From family adventures to a lonely man in space, I promise you will enjoy these stories and fall in love with their characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves reading spooky yet realistic stories. Great work.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Everything is Always Perfect is a collection of eleven short stories by Ivan Paganacci. The first piece is a note from the sole survivor of a cataclysmic explosion, describing the last day before a dreaded mushroom cloud appeared in the sky. In Croaker, Donny was the only person privy to the secret behind the recent disappearances in the neighborhood. Lost in the Land revealed a mysterious hole that appeared out of nowhere and provided a portal to a new world. In A New World Order, an aging wizard wreaked havoc by revealing the magical world to everyone with his dying spell. In Tim Bland’s Bland Adventure, Tim was rescued from a group of aliens and offered a desirable life. Hot Shower introduces us to an ordinary guy suffering from depersonalization disorder.

Each of the eleven stories in this anthology provided a short yet quirky read. The themes varied from science fiction involving time travel and extraterrestrial beings to fantasy featuring wizards, magic lessons, and animated dolls. Despite having similar themes, no two stories were alike, each rich with its particular nuances. I loved that Ivan Paganacci’s collection lacked any predictability. The characters always had more to them than met the eye, and the storyline took unforeseeable turns. Many pieces seemed whimsical, where the characters could come alive or stop the story’s progress by imploring Paganacci to give them a breather. Some stories had such unexpectedly twisted endings that they left me reeling long after I read them. I recommend Everything is Always Perfect to anyone who loves science fiction.