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Tag: ambiguous endings

Flash fiction story: “Praying to the God of Small Chances”

“Praying to the God of Small Chances,” by L Chan

From Arsenika, Issue 1, Spring 2017online here

961 words

A thoughtful and well-written piece. It appears to me that the main character (spoilers) never goes in to see their father, seemingly content with just a glimpse of him—a curious lack of resolution.

I like the knockoff Adventure Time shirt.

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Short story: “Love Like Monkeys”

“Love Like Monkeys,” by Jess Zimmerman

Appeared in Terraform, January 13th, 2017

2822 words

This story raises a bunch of creepy possibilities and refuses to fully resolve them. Not my cup of tea, although I can see it’s well done.

An interesting review: “What I liked about this story is that it’s a ‘gotcha’ story without a moral. It has the form of one of those irritating stories that the coffeehouse nerd in the brown cardigan writes to try to ‘wake people up.’ […] This story is happy to let it lie.”

Short story: “The Wretched and the Beautiful”

“The Wretched and the Beautiful,” by E. Lily Yu

Appeared in Terraform, February 6th, 2017

2559 words

An elegant story. While I have no doubt about the author’s politics, the story itself makes its point with delicacy, almost ambiguity.

A nice touch: “For this special edition of Terraform, the writer, award-winning E. Lily Yu, artist, Jason Arias, and me, the editor, will be donating our fees to the International Rescue Committee, a group founded at the behest of Albert Einstein, which assists refugees around the world.”

Short story: “The Interruption”

“The Interruption,” by Debbie Urbanski

Appeared in Terraform (on Vice‘s Motherboard), September 22nd, 2017

1915 words

I like this one. Good evocation of the main character’s rather unhappy life and (subtly, towards the end) the sense of freedom she finds in being lost. Wouldn’t feel out of place in a literary fiction publication.

I like how Terraform embraces stories that, while only science fiction in a loose sense if at all, use technology or science in interesting ways.

Short story: “When the Lady Speaks”

“When the Lady Speaks,” by Damien Angelica Walters

First appeared in the anthology What Fates Impose, August 15th, 2013, by Alliteration Ink (on Goodreads); subsequently online here in Gamut

3333 words

Cool piece.

I think Marian changes her name to Marina to play her fortune teller role, but later the fortune teller is called Marian too. Probably a copy editor’s error.

Short story: “What’s Not There Can’t Hurt You”

“What’s Not There Can’t Hurt You,” by Sara Taylor

Appeared in Granta, October 28th, 2016

1915 words

Creepy. I’m pleased to see Granta publishing something that wouldn’t feel out of place in Nightmare or Pseudopod—they’re genre-flexible when the writing is good.

I can’t decide if I’m satisfied with the ending. The reveal that refuses to resolve anything reminds me of “Suzanne Delage.”

Short story: “Owl Eyes”

“Owl Eyes,” by Joyce Carol Oates

Appeared (PDF) in The Yale Review, Vol. 104 No. 3, July 2016

Around 17.5 pages, 6501 words

I’m not sure how to feel about the ending of this story. Jerald has discovered a new place in himself, a new capacity for action, but it’s hard to know what his adventure will cost him. I’m also not completely sure I buy the suddenness of his change.

I found myself slightly jarred—irrationally—by the mention of an iPad. Something about the language or the setting feels to me like that of an earlier era. Or it might be that the language sounds so very Joyce Carol Oates (I was reading her work before iPads were around) that I’m automatically taken back in time.

Short story: “Double Time”

“Double Time,” by John Chu

First appeared in Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories (Twelve Planet Press), edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (buy the ebook); reprinted in Mothership Zeta issue 0 (September 21st, 2015)

Roughly 4,478 words

A touching story, but I found the ending sad in a way I’m not sure was intended or not. What a terrible fate, to get the pride and approval you need only by cheating time and eavesdropping.

Short story: “The Authorized Biography”

“The Authorized Biography,” by Michael G. Ryan

Appeared in episodes 197 and 198 of Cast of Wonders, February 14th and 21st, 2016; text here

7,539 words, taking up two episodes/25 pages

Good, gripping fun. The ending was a bit unresolved for my taste, but that’s forgivable—I have a hard time imagining another ending that would fit the story.

The main character’s marriage strikes me as pretty pathetic until the point when he actually starts communicating with his wife. I don’t know how people can live like that.

Short story: “The Influence of Thomas Glittio”

“The Influence of Thomas Glittio,” by Arthur Staaz

Featured in Pseudopod episode 432, April 4th, 2015

Uncertain of word count

I went into this story a bit skeptical. The name Thomas Glittio is kind of obvious, and stories about writers trying to write are … well. But this works. The description of how it feels to copy/channel Glittio is exactly what I want writing to feel like (and it does, sometimes, a little bit). Reading, too.