Review: Ben Shapiro’s ‘What’s Fair: And Other Short Stories’


Ben Shapiro’s latest collection of short stories marks an impressive first-time foray into fiction for the New York Times bestselling author.

Shapiro’s new e-book, What’s Fair: And Other Short Stories, features three short original stories, each thematically and stylistically different than the last.

In the first, “What’s Fair,”  a tormented young man confronts his older brother when he feels he is not owed his due. In the sci-fi short “From the Pit,” an environmental worker shrunk down to microscopic size struggles to avoid his own murder after he is accidentally ingested into the stomach of his employer. The final story, “Utopia,” sees a man discover his humanity amid the stifling conformity of a dystopic society.

The stories work beautifully simply as pure fiction; Shapiro is adept both at constructing a compelling narrative, and, simultaneously, the larger worlds in which those narratives exist. This skill is particularly evident in the latter two stories, in which the reader is left wanting to further explore the strange environments surrounding the characters.

Anyone who has read the roughly half-dozen of Shapiro’s nonfiction books should be familiar with the author’s immediately accessible prose. It makes for brisk reading; it took just under an hour to consume the whole collection.

The stories all feature conservative-oriented allegories, some more difficult to suss out than others, depending on the story. “What’s Fair” deals with themes of entitlement and despair, while “From the Pit” concerns itself with the value of life and the callousness of excess. “Utopia” is the most contemplative of the three, asking readers to imagine the ultimate progressive society where equality trumps all and uniformity robs us of any chance at true happiness.

It would be a disservice to future readers to expound on the themes in the stories any further, simply because the stories are short, and part of the joy of reading them is in their discovery.

Suffice it to say that if this collection signals Shapiro’s entrance into fiction on a larger scale, both the author’s fans and fans of a good story are in for a treat.

What’s Fair: And Other Short Stories is available on Amazon here.