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Tag: form and genre distinctions confuse me

On the difference between fantasy and magical realism

“We are looking for realistic worlds that exhibit some sort of magical or supernatural element taken by the people in that world to be real. If fantasy shows us a world where ghosts exist, magical realism offers up a world where ghosts are pedestrian. In fantasy ghosts are the whole point. In magical realism ghosts are not the whole point.”

—the guidelines for the magazine doppelgänger, edited by James Hodgson

I’ve always struggled with the distinction, so this is helpful.

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Fictional essay or possibly short story: “Elemental Love”

“Elemental Love,” by Rachel Swirsky

Originally on the author’s Patreon; reprinted in Uncanny Magazine Issue Nineteen, November 7th, 2017

454 words

A charming monologue on artificial and natural intelligences, and love.

Short story: “Insurance”

“Insurance,” by Thomas Bolt

Appeared in n+1‘s online-only edition, September 1st, 2017

3024 words

Maybe more of a vignette, a slice of life, than a story. A family beset by small, everyday inconveniences that somehow seem bigger than they are.

Just so I have this straight

According to Wikipedia, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America says:

Novelette: “Lagomorph”

“Lagomorph,” by Alexander McLeod

Appeared in Granta 141: Canada, November 9th, 2017; available to subscribers here

7702 words

(Heavy spoilers lie ahead.) I was so relieved when the rabbit didn’t die. At the end, it seems to me that the couple is united by their familial love for this rabbit, but the main character rejects that bond—I’m not sure why—retreating to his private relationship with Gunther.

I learned a new word: “altricial.”

Short story or fictional essay: “Stillness”

“Stillness,” by Eoghan Walls

Appeared in Granta 140: State of Mind | The Online Edition, online here

3468 words

Maybe it’s my mood, but I seem to be less inclined today to accept a work of fiction as a short story. I like this one, though.

The URL seems to indicate that it was originally titled “Der Stiller.”

Short story or fictional essay: “M*rphed”

“M*rphed,” by Robert Coover

Appeared in Granta 140: State of Mind | The Online Edition, October 20th, 2017, online here

2106 words

Good to know Granta publishes speculative fiction now and then. The main character’s plight is reminiscent of “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” except it’s not malicious so much as absurd, indifferent to/amused by his suffering. Perhaps a satire on entertainment.

Short story (?): “Insufficient Funds, But Plenty of Tooth and Feather”

“Insufficient Funds, But Plenty of Tooth and Feather,” by Kate Barss

Appeared in Catapult, October 20th, 2017

215 words

A cool dream.

Novella: “Sell Out”

“Sell Out,” by Simon Rich

Appeared in the New Yorker under Shouts and Murmurs, January 28th, 2013 (online here)

18,683 words

A delight.

Short story cycle (or something): “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”

(A particular version of) “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” by David Foster Wallace

Appeared in Harper’s, October 1998 (PDF here, found here via this)

12013 words

Funny, but it suffers from comparison to “B.I. #20” and other more intense stories.

#42 (bathroom attendant) and #48 (chicken-sexing, finger flexion) are standouts.

Most of these stories are about men’s hostility towards women, which makes the ones that aren’t seem out of place.