Category: Uncategorized

Short story: “Friends”

“Friends,” by Laura van den Berg

Appeared in the anthology Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery & Murder, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto and published by Black Balloon, an imprint of Catapult; appeared in Catapult on June 1st, 2018

1,525 words

The part about the mother is fascinating.

“Am I a terrible person?” Sarah asked.

“Yes,” Holly said. “That’s what makes you perfect.”

Ah, friendship.


Short story: “The Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall”

“The Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall,” by Mat Coward

Appeared in Crimewave 13: Bad Light, May 11th, 2018

A few thousand words

This is pretty funny. The main point-of-view character (spoilers) dying off towards the end works nicely because the narration feels rather distant from him even as it’s third-person limited. I think it’s the way the humor of the situation goes over the characters’ heads that establishes that distance.

Flash fiction story: “One Night Stand”

“One Night Stand” (shouldn’t that be hyphenated?), by Cameron Bryce

Appeared in Neon Issue Forty-Six, May 29th, 2018

A few hundred words

A charmingly surreal piece with great pacing. Kind of in the tradition of “The Swimmer,” though what it really reminds me of is “Going for a Beer,” naturally enough—I mean, not just because of the beer.

Short story: “The Girls”

“The Girls,” by Megan Taylor

Appeared in Neon Issue Forty-Six, May 29th, 2018

A few thousand words

A good nightmare, as are many Neon stories. I can sympathize with that adult fear of teenagers, those menacing no-longer-children, too-cool-for-grownups aliens.

Short story: “Incorporated”

“Incorporated,” by Simon K. Brown

Appeared in Neon Issue Forty-Six, May 29th, 2018

A few thousand words

I like this. Neon fiction tends to have this distinctive style: darkly realistic details that persist through increasing surrealism.

The title seems to have a double meaning, referring to the way the main character and others get incorporated into their workplace. Maybe that’s obvious, but it took me a minute. (I was distracted by my association of the word with physical embodiment.)

Flash fiction story: “Greased Lightnin'”

“Greased Lightnin’,” by Meghan Phillips

Appeared in Pidgeonholes, June 2018

181 words

I like the line “Just like the real thing.”

And of course I like the erotic car imagery. Amazing how impressionable kids’ minds and sexualities seem to be.

Short story: “We Will Be All Right”

“We Will Be All Right,” by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Appeared in Lightspeed (read and listen), issue 96, May 2018

940 words

Another rather literary plot from Lightspeed. I like it. The whole thing takes place internally, with a lot of exposition, but never gets slow.

Short story: “Stitching Time”

“Stitching Time,” by Stephanie Burgis

Appeared in Grendelsong: Autumn 2015

Maybe 3,000 words?

Interesting. Mental health practitioners are always a rich vein for horror and creepiness, perhaps even more so than mental illness itself. Something about the intimacy of their authority over their patients.

Short story: “Bloodletting”

“Bloodletting,” by Melanie Rees

Appeared in Unnerving Magazine, issue #6

Maybe 2,000 words?

I liked this one.

Short story: “Birthday Boy”

“Birthday Boy,” by Amy Lukavics

Appeared in Unnerving Magazine, issue #6 (it’s the first story in the issue)

Maybe 3,000 words? I’m hopeless at estimating these things

Clever, and the mother’s emotional arc feels believable, at least to me. Of course, the story cheats by withholding information that the point-of-view character knows, but I think it gets away with it.