Tag: short stories

Short story: “Gephyrophobia”

“Gephyrophobia,” by Rykie Belles

Appeared here in Strange Horizons, June 10th, 2019, and on the podcast

1,544 words

(Spoilers.) (I don’t always warn for spoilers but this one is subtle.) Love the slow, tantalizing, delightfully incomplete reveal. I find the story satisfying despite its fragment-like quality and inconclusiveness.


Novelette: “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change”

“The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change,” by Kij Johnson

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales (Viking Press, 2007, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling); anthologized in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: 21st Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin J. Grant); shortlisted for the 2007 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and the 2008 World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction; read for Drabblecast 407, June 4th, 2019

8,583 words

Wittgenstein said, “If a lion could talk, we would not understand him.” This story explores the idea that if a dog could talk, we would not be able to love her. A little tragedy and perhaps an allegory for oppressors’ inability to connect with the oppressed. Or for parents’ inability to let their children be their own people?

Kij Johnson is always thought-provoking.

Short story: “Hysteria”

“Hysteria,” by Liz Breazeale

Appeared here in The Collagist, Issue One Hundred and Two, April 2019

1,367 words

A marvelous nightmare. Great title too.

What I just learned is a novel excerpt but I think is also a short story but I’m not sure: “Ross Perot and China”

“Ross Perot and China,” by Ben Lerner

To appear in the New Yorker May 27th, 2019, and read for The Writer’s Voice (both online here)

A few thousand words

I really like Adam’s panicky journey, and the suspense over Amber’s fate right up until he makes to leave the scene. And Amber’s rambling monologue too. I’m trying to piece together the themes. Amber’s contempt for her stepfather, her contempt for her boyfriend; Adam’s mistake regarding the house, his inability to connect with Amber, his pointless attempt to make her see what he sees behind his eyelids. Is Amber to blame for their failed relationship? Or is it that Adam is, like the stepfather, a bit of a blowhard, a bit of a phony, his efforts to communicate insincere? That’s certainly what the title suggests: Amber doesn’t care about Ross Perot and China because she understands that it’s just talk.

Ross Perot. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

Short story: “The Presentation on Egypt”

“The Presentation on Egypt,” by Camille Bordas

To appear in the New Yorker on May 20th, 2019; online here and read on The Writer’s Voice

Several thousand words

I find each of the three (I think three) points of view absorbing. I would expect to be in suspense about whether and how the daughter would learn the truth about her father’s death, but I felt no such suspense. What kept me listening so intently, then? Maybe seeing how her father’s biological/personal legacy played out in her? The mystery of what precipitated his suicide isn’t what kept me listening either—I think it’s exactly as it seems.

Flash fiction story: “Haunt”

“Haunt,” by Carmen Maria Machado

Appeared in issue 72 (Nocturnals) of Conjunctions, spring 2019; online here

About 2.25 pages; 1,011 words (rounding down to call this flash)

Really good. I love the premise. An unlikely and seemingly successful human connection. At least, I hope, really hope it’s successful at the end—that Elsie accepts her. How heartbreaking it would be to be rejected at that point.

It appears I’ve read something by Machado once before, and been struck by it.

Short story: “In Dreams”

“In Dreams,” by Brian Evenson

Appeared in issue 72 (Nocturnals) of Conjunctions, spring 2019

About 4.5 pages, which I calculate to be 2,021 words

A fine, intriguing piece of literary science fiction. I would have liked more, perhaps interaction with the character’s children when they were awake, but maybe the chilling ending is enough. Some parts in the middle verge on infodump.

Always cool to see speculative fiction in a lit mag. (Same goes for literary fiction in a genre publication.)

Flash fiction story: “Boys with Feelings”

“Boys with Feelings,” by Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice

Appeared in Wigleaf, May 11th, 2019

607 words

A perceptive dive into a seemingly slight incident.

I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of long, breathless sentences lately. Adding a “one-sentence stories” tag.

The author is editor-in-chief of Split Lip Magazine.

Short story: “Confessions of a Con Girl”

“Confessions of a Con Girl,” by Nick Wolven

Ran in Asimov’s, November/December 2017 (PDF here); later in Clarkesworld, issue 151, April 2019 (read and listen)

7,402 words

A stressful and infuriating story to listen to (I heard it on the Clarkesworld podcast). I recommend it highly.

As an aside, I’ll admit I spent an absurdly long time waiting impatiently for the main character to become a con artist before figuring out what a Con girl was.

Short story: “Curse Like a Savior”

“Curse Like a Savior,” by Russell Nichols

Appeared in Apex issue 118, March 2019 (read online), and on the podcast

3,900 words, according to Apex

Didn’t see that coming! I was atheistically pleased that the main character didn’t get (legitimately) converted at the end, that the religious side of things turned out to be more sinister than it seemed. But I felt the twist was too abrupt.