“The Chex Gambit,” by Jon Lasser
Read for Toasted Cake 184, May 13th, 2018
Not sure how many words
“The Good Mothers’ Home for Wayward Girls,” by Izzy Wasserstein
Read by Tatiana Grey for PseudoPod 588 as part of ARTEMIS RISING 4, March 30th, 2018
A good creepy story.
I like the way Grey gives each of the girls a distinct voice.
“Columbia Market,” by Paul Beckman
Appeared in Bartleby Snopes and winner of their December 2016 Story of the Month poll
I didn’t really get this, it felt more like a fictional essay than a story. The experiences of this impoverished thirteen-year-old are certainly interesting, but there’s no plot movement.
“The Two of Us,” by Jeff Bakkensen
Appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, August 31st, 2016
Only 331 words!
A moment of awakening, seems like. Maybe even a coming of age (though I sort of dislike that term/concept). I definitely feel like this kid is a child, not a teenager.
“Smelling Static,” by Steffan Triplett
Appeared in The Offing, December 13th, 2017
A mere 94 words
A powerful glimpse into a boy’s life. Perhaps a coming of age, even? Wouldn’t have been possible without Degrassi.
Not sure what the title means. Did old-fashioned TV screens smell of static sometimes?
“Everyone Will Want One,” by Kelly Sandoval
Appeared in Asimov’s #464, September 2014, edited by Sheila Williams; read by Erin Bardua for episode 498 of Escape Pod, July 6th, 2015
(Spoilers.) An interesting artificial intelligence story, as well as a subtle, economical high school drama. (Or are they in middle school?) I like the note of hope at the end.
“Leopard,” by Wells Tower
Maybe 4,000 words? Feels rather concise
I wanted this story to keep going. I was startled when it ended where it did.
I take the leopard to be a symbol of the boy’s inner life, his (justified) anger at his stepfather, and the power he wants to wield in the world. It’s scrawny and half-tame, much like a typical eleven-year-old boy.
When a story is in the second person, inevitably, that’s the first thing reviewers pounce on. Why is it in second person, does it place you more fully in the character’s shoes, does it demand too much identification from the reader, et cetera. I don’t usually care if a story is in second person or not. But I did notice that parts of this story were in the imperative mood, and they stuck out slightly. I feel like it works, overall.