“The Exemption Packet,” by Rose Eveleth
Appeared in Terraform, August 31st, 2016
Less than 2,000 words, several images
Interesting look at a kid who seems to have autism or ADHD, and how they struggle with new technology. I’d like to think future tech will actually benefit people with such conditions, but we’ve seen problems like this in the past, as when talkie movies came out and excluded the Deaf people who had been able to enjoy the silents.
“Mall School,” by Porpentine Charity Heartscape
Appeared in Terraform, September 7th, 2016
A day in the life of a kind of retrofuture world, a future as imagined by the 1990s. I like it.
I spent a good portion of this story waiting to see if the NeoHumanPet was going to get its Sparkle Mood Potion. Spoiler: It didn’t.
“Calling Your Girlfriend,” by Kristen Roupenian
Appeared on The Hairpin, February 22nd, 2012
Funny, but lightweight. I guess I was expecting a twist at the end or something.
“The Girl Who Lied,” by Uche Okonkwo
Published as Ploughshares Solo 5.5
Maybe 5,000 words? Not sure
This is a good short story (I checked the author’s blog and it is a short story, not a memoir—the narrator’s name should have tipped me off, I suppose). Of course, the ending shuts the door in our faces—the door of Kemi’s point of view, which is inaccessible to us as to our narrator—but there are hints we can piece together into a resolution.
Kemi’s story of the man in the night suggests sexual molestation to me, probably by the uncle.
“Cat Person,” by Kristen Roupenian
Appeared in the New Yorker‘s December 11th, 2017 issue (online here—apparently they release stuff ahead of the date of the issue)
7,201 words, although it goes by pretty fast and so feels shorter
A sad little story. Doesn’t feel like a typical New Yorker piece (not that there’s such a thing as a typical New Yorker piece anymore).
Edited to add: Wow, this story is getting a lot of attention on Twitter, evidently because it’s so relatable. (I mean #relatable.) It kind of feels more like something that would run in The Hairpin or Catapult than the New Yorker, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.
“Father’s Last Escape,” by Bruno Schulz, translated from the Polish by Celina Wieniewska
Probably 2,000 words or even less
I listened to this a long time ago and it never completely left me. It makes me think of a parent slowly giving way to Alzheimer’s or some similar mind-wasting disease, so that the survivors bid him goodbye a little bit at a time, first one memory, then another. (I’m not the first to make this comparison.)