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Tag: major character deaths

Short story: “The Plutonian Drug”

“The Plutonian Drug,” by Clark Ashton Smith

First published in Amazing Stories, September 1934; appeared in PseudoPod 591, April 20th, 2018, and replayed July 27th of the same year; also online here

4,072 words

Clever. The initial dialogue infodump is a bit clumsy, but maybe that was a common convention at the time. (Or does it count as infodump if it’s mainly for worldbuilding rather than having much effect on the plot?)

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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.

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.

 

 

Short story: “Moon-Face”

“Moon-Face: A Story of Mortal Antipathy,” by Jack London

Appeared in the newspaper The Argonaut July 21st in either 1902 or 1906; read as part of PseudoPod 589: Flash On The Borderlands XLII: Misanthropes, April 6th, 2018; also online here

2,253 words

A good creepy yarn. Reminds me of Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” where the narrator wants to kill the old man for no reason except that there’s something about his eye.

Short story: “Some Days the Bees Are Melancholic”

“Some Days the Bees Are Melancholic,” by Melissa Goodrich and Dana Diehl

Appeared in The Offing, April 2nd, 2018

3,242 words

I’m sure plenty of teachers have felt like this when a student (or forty-one students) fail(s) to thrive in the classroom. And when the teachers themselves fail the student(s), or feel like they have—not even managing to learn their name(s). (I don’t usually like author bios, but I notice both authors have experience as teachers.)

I wonder how two authors collaborate on this type of piece.

Edited to add: Can you really tap on a tablet with a toothpick?

Edited again to add: I guess the tablet has one of those attached keyboards.

Short story: “Clap Your Hands”

“Clap Your Hands,” by Andrew F. Kooy

Appeared in issue 107 of Apex Magazine (online here April 3rd, 2018) and read very well on the podcast by Christopher Soren Kelly

3,300 words, according to the magazine

(Spoilers ahead.) A good story, if rather bleak. I didn’t get the ending at first—apparently it’s obvious to the stranger that there shouldn’t be any water here, and the hole was meant for a mass grave.

Flash fiction story: “Death Rides Shotgun”

“Death Rides Shotgun,” by Michael Haynes

Appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, Issue Thirty-One: March 2018 (I think you can read the whole issue on the website)

937 words

A sweet, gentle, understated story.

Flash fiction story: “On Top of the World”

“On Top of the World,” by Len Kuntz

Appeared in Wigleaf, January 2018

219 words

A charming fantasy. I like the tension between the first two lines and what follows. That seems like a dumb obvious thing to say, but it’s true.

Short story: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor

First published in The Avon Book of Modern Writing (Avon Books, 1953); anthologized in The House of Fiction (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1960); collected in A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955); anthologized all over the place; online hereread by the author here

6,463 words

I like this story without really knowing what it means. I love the grandmother. She’s so annoying, so unwittingly ridiculous, it’s actually cute.

Wikipedia offers several interpretations of the story. J. Stillwell Powers, on the Ploughshares blog, subscribes to the “moment of grace” one, which I like:

“The grandmother experiences her own dismantling as her family is executed. Her attempts to reason with the Misfit prove futile, and she is forced to confront the failure of her worldview as a means for salvation. Stripped of the perspectives she has clung to, she turns inward for redemption, and, in this moment, sees clearly for the first time. Here lies her moment of grace. Beneath the muzzle of the Misfit’s gun, she suddenly perceives the Misfit’s humanity, recognizing it as her own.”

This seems like the interpretation O’Connor most likely intended. Not to imply that the author’s intention is the last word.

Now Bessie Smith’s great rendition of the song of the same title is stuck in my head.