Tag: characters who are writers or artists

Short story: “A Little Off the Top”

“A Little Off the Top,” by Mark Crofton

Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, April 24th, 2018

662 words

A charming twist on a familiar plot.

Short story: “YouTube Comment 2 to Video of I Like America and America Likes Me by Joseph Beuys”

“YouTube Comment 2 to Video of I Like America and America Likes Me by Joseph Beuys,” by Yxta Maya Murray

Appeared in The Cincinnati Review: 14.2 Winter 2018; excerpt here

No idea how many words

A really interesting piece about the tension between the artistic drive and the life of a single mother.

See also the Review‘s commentary.

Novella: “The Critic”

“The Critic,” by Timothy Parrish

Ploughshares Solo 5.7, 2017, edited by Ladette Randolph

Maybe 10,000 words? Not sure

Ecstatically written.

You have to wonder about Markowitz’s wife. She’s surely younger than him. Her “loyalty” makes her appear unsuited to life on her own.

Parrish’s author photo is just a picture of an empty seat in front of shelves and shelves of records. Bless him and especially bless Ploughshares for that. Actually there’s also a cord attached to something on the seat, too small to be a record player.

Novelette: “Making Us Monsters”

“Making Us Monsters,” by Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly

Appeared in Uncanny Magazine Issue Nineteen, online here

10,893 words

I had trouble telling the two men’s voices apart, so at first I didn’t understand the letter/diary correspondence as intended. (Donnelly says in an interview, “One weird thing to add is that although we each took one man to write as, and I agree with Sam that we have very different voices and styles, during critiques we had several people ask who was who, or even if we had collaborated on each letter individually.”)

I like the comments about verbal clichés: “a pretty shroud for an ugly truth” and “Clichés do not make us animal; they prove the continuity of human connection. They are shared metaphors, shorthand communication.”


Short story: “Canopy”

“Canopy,” by Naben Ruthnum

Appeared in Granta 141: Canada | The Online Edition, November 16th, 2017

5,899 words

An enjoyable story. I liked observing the main character’s professional manner and trying to figure out whether there were chinks in it, flaws that brought his patients inappropriately close to him or pushed them inappropriately far away or passed inappropriate judgment. It seems like a delicate balance.

Novelette: “Isis in Darkness”

“Isis in Darkness,” by Margaret Atwood

Appeared in Granta 31: The General, April 26th, 1990 (online here); collected in Wilderness Tips, published in 1991 by McClelland & Stewart

8,056 words

A beautiful story. Bleak, but with a note of hope at the end, the hope that at least Richard can piece together some semblance of the thing he loved so much, hope in the very fact that amid the mess he’s made of his life, he can still love at all.

Here’s a good post about it.

Short story: “Revision”

“Revision,” by William Walsh

Collected in Pathologies (Keyhole Press); readable online here

518 words

So far, all the pieces in this collection are beautifully crafted and eerie in a literary way. (As with any beautifully crafted literary fiction, I can only stomach a bit at a time.) This piece depicts a peculiar state of mind, sort of emotionally simplified by physical exhaustion and narrow escape from death: “I belonged to them now.” Interesting, now that I think about it, that it’s in past tense—it has a very present-tense feel.

Short story: “Draft”


Appeared on Wigleaf in March 2016

163 words

True, true, true.

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.