Tag: short stories

Flash fiction story: “Hurt and Be Hurt”

“Hurt and Be Hurt,” by Geoff Schmidt

Appeared in Zone 3, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2018

A little under three pages, maybe a thousand words?

A wonderfully compact story of losing love. I didn’t really get the reindeer symbolism. Something he shares with his kids and not with his wife and lover? A place in his life where somebody else might fit someday? Maybe.


Short story: “So Sorry You’re Going Extinct!”

“So Sorry You’re Going Extinct!”, by Paul R Hardy

One of the second-place winners of Escape Pod‘s 2018 Flash Fiction Contest, read in episode 641

477 words

A delightfully bleak story. If you read the initial letter alone, it would be funny, but as a whole it’s more like horror fiction.

Short story: “An Open Letter to the Family”

“An Open Letter to the Family,” by Jennifer Brozek

Appeared in Uncanny Magazine Issue Twenty-Four, September/October 2018, the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue

1,474 words

A thoughtful piece, though there’s not enough plot movement or conflict for my taste. I also don’t sense the nervousness/apprehension that I imagine the narrator is surely feeling despite knowing she’s making the right choice. Could be just me, though.

Flash fiction story: “Ndakusuwa”

“Ndakusuwa,” by Blaize Kaye

Appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination #237, November/December 2016 (the magazine would appear to be defunct now); nominated for a 2017 Nommo Award by the African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS); later appeared in Strange Horizons, September 3rd, 2018 (read/listen)

857 words

A simple and effective form.

I would have liked the last line better if I’d known “ndakusuwa” means “I miss you” in the ChiShona language. But perhaps that line isn’t aimed at a monolingual person like me.

Short story: “New York Girl”

“New York Girl,” by John Updike

Appeared in the New Yorker, April 1st, 1996 (subscribers can read here, I think); read by Tessa Hadley on the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, September 3rd, 2018 (listen here)

Several thousand words, I imagine

I haven’t read much Updike. I rather like this, especially the last few lines, where—as Hadley and Treisman point out—the dream the protagonist cherished, represented by this sometime lover, is gently obliterated. Though I personally never got a strong sense of what that dream was—too subtle for me maybe.

Short story: “Definitely Maybe”

“Definitely Maybe,” by Allee Richards

Appeared in The Lifted Brow, issue 38, June 2018 (buy the issue or read an excerpt of the story)

Several thousand words; I’m getting lazy about word count

A story about being in a bad relationship and very aware of it, and the desperate inadequacy of nineties-style “Girl Power.” Perhaps the inadequacy of more contemporary feminist thinking, too? I like the character bragging about how she used to grow out her underarm hair, to prove she’s better than this.

I can’t get over how much this magazine costs to ship to the U.S. Not sure it contains enough fiction to be worth it, but at least the fiction is good.

Short story: “Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe”

“Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe,” by Ramsey Shehadeh

First published in Strange Horizons, June 30th, 2008; appeared in Drabblecast 249, July 12th, 2012, and in one of Drabblecast‘s Director’s Cut Specials, August 16th, 2018

4,348 words

What an excellent story. The slightly distant point of view (Is it omniscient? Seems like we get a tiny glimpse into Patrick’s mind when he blurts out that line about cigarettes) works well, letting us understand Jimmy’s motivations without hammering us over the head. The first sentence is also great, opening with a bombshell and tapering off, deadpan, into the minor details of the cafe’s location.

Short story: “Audition”

“Audition,” by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Appeared in the September 10th, 2018 issue of the New Yorker; read by the author on The Writer’s Voice: New Fiction from the New Yorker, September 4th

6,708 words

An engrossing story. At the end I worry that the main character is lost, that he will go on smoking crack (quite possible, and the author implies in an interview that he’s doomed) and never move to LA (almost certain). And I don’t want him to move to LA, because that way lies a miserable disillusionment—at least in my mind.

Sayrafiezadeh has, of course, been published in the New Yorker, which makes him the kind of success in his field that the main character dreams of being. I wonder what it’s like writing such a character from such a vantage point.

Short story: “Yukui!”

“Yukui!”, by James Patrick Kelly

Originally published in the author’s collection The Promise of Space and Other Stories (Prime Books, July 10th, 2018); reprinted in Clarkesworld issue 143, August 2018

3,608 words

Interesting philosophical piece. What they do to Sprite/Yukui strikes me as cruel, to be honest, and even more so because they put her in a body they presumably know she’s going to hate.

I don’t buy that she recovers from the trauma as quickly as she does. In fact, I think this story might appeal to me more if it dwelt on the pain the lifeguide inflicts on her. Freedom from such a powerful psychological prison shouldn’t come cheap.

I listened to the podcast and didn’t realize there were so many exclamation points!

Short story: “Flying on the Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog”

“Flying on the Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog,” by Shaenon Garrity

According to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, this appeared in Drabblecast 298 (October 3rd, 2013) and a Drabblecast Director’s Cut episode (August 7th, 2018) and in Funny Science Fiction (UFO Publishing, August 29th, 2015, edited by Alex Shvartsman)

3,917 words

A really charming story. Seems like it should be difficult to write a lighthearted story about hate.

I’ve been a fan of Garrity since I read her great webcomic Narbonic. Well worth checking out.