Short story: “Flat Diane”

by look i have opinions

“Flat Diane,” by Daniel Abraham

Appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2004; nominated for the 2006 Nebula Award; won the 2005 International Horror Guild Award; read beautifully by Stephen Eley for episode 26 of Pseudopod, February 23rd, 2007

Novelette length, so 7,500 to 17,500 words

This story stands out because of its painfully believable depiction of a traumatized child. The average horror story would make Diane cuter and more obvious; it would make her father nobler and less conflicted; it would end either happily or horrifically, instead of with the mundane realism of recovering from trauma. Genre fiction doesn’t need this much subtlety and integrity to be entertaining, but what a delight it is.