Tag: twenty-first century

Flash fiction story: “Eight Tips for Living with the Monster Under Your Bed”

“Eight Tips for Living with the Monster Under Your Bed,” by Derek Heckman

Appeared here in Wigleaf, December 12th, 2018

1,002 words (I’m rounding down to count it as flash fiction)

This seems to be—pardon my literal-mindedness—a story of childhood schizophrenia, and how it gradually becomes unbearable. The last line, the bit in italics, is surely spoken by an imaginary version of the boy’s brother.

The use of second person imparts a sense of intimacy. Perhaps second person is a good substitute for first when the character is incapable of narrating (in this case because of his age).


Novelette: “Stone Animals”

“Stone Animals,” by Kelly Link

Published in Conjunctions: 43, Fall 2004 (order here); collected in Magic For Beginners; anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2005; also appeared here in Electric Literature‘s Recommended Reading, prefaced by Lincoln Michel, February 4th, 2015

16,530 words, 41 pages in BASS

The development of the atmosphere and characters is top notch, but I feel it goes on too long, repeating the same themes over and over without having any kind of cumulative effect (like an obsessive feel, for example), and then it stops inconclusively on the same note. Why isn’t this a 5,000-word short story?

Edited to add that while reading this I kept thinking about the fact that New World rabbits don’t burrow. It’s not really relevant, but I couldn’t help thinking about it.

Short story: “STET”

“STET,” by Sarah Gailey

Appeared in Fireside Magazine, October 2018 (read here); recommended to me by a friend with good taste

1,434 words

I very much admire the use of the form, and the sense of barely restrained fury and grief. I’m reminded of the parents in “People Like That Are the Only People Here” (the coping mechanism feels similar even if the emotion is quite different) and “Incarnations of Burned Children.”

Nice work on Fireside‘s part, formatting this. I wonder how accessible it is to people using screen readers though? I imagine they probably figured something out.

Flash fiction story: “The Fridge of the Future”

“The Fridge of the Future,” by Jack Curran

Appeared here in Every Day Fiction, November 22nd, 2018

966 words

A charming story with a wonderfully hopeful ending. Though I found the switch from a magical hole in the fridge to the more mundane world to be puzzling. Somebody suggests in the comments that Peter is perhaps getting delusional in his old age.

Short story: “Time Bomb Time”

“Time Bomb Time,” by C. C. Finlay

Appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, issue 60, May 2015 (read online or buy the issue)

3,135 words

Marvelously clever, perhaps even better than “Crab Canon” in Gödel, Escher, Bach, because it weaves in the theme of time shenanigans so well. And I knew what was coming!—I just somehow didn’t realize each paragraph led backwards as well as forwards so neatly. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have much plot movement or action; it’s more like a tense prolonged moment.

Flash fiction story: “CVS”

“CVS,” by Sean Thor Conroe

Appeared here in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, December 7th, 2018

891 words (feels shorter, possibly because it’s one paragraph)

I really like the mood this captures.

Flash fiction story: “MORE MORE MORE”

“MORE MORE MORE,” by Neil Clark

Appeared here in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, December 4th, 2018

485 words

Neat. A commentary on the way corporate culture tries to worm its way into its employees’ personal lives?

Short story: “At a Party”

“At a Party,” by Line Kallmayer

Appeared here in AGNI Online, November 26th, 2018

1,465 words

I got so caught up in the breathless style of this story that I quickly forgot that it was taking place at a party, so the ending wasn’t as effective as it should have been. Could be I just read too hastily. Anyway, it’s a good piece. A small human connection. I thought it was flash fiction until I determined the word count.

Most of the comma’d phrases are connected to each other grammatically, but one or two are comma splices.

I wonder why the paragraphs aren’t indented? House style?

Flash fiction story cycle: “Dear 8B”

“Dear 8B,” by Matt Mikalatos

Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, September 16th, 2015, (read here) and Toasted Cake 193, September 30th, 2018 (listen here)

591 words

A fun piece. Good to know Daily SF and Toasted Cake enjoy this sort of format. I wonder why “8B” though? Is the columnist a robot?

Flash fiction story: “Annalise (Avoids Her Problems and) Is Perfectly Fine”

“Annalise (Avoids Her Problems and) Is Perfectly Fine,” by M. J. Ryan

Published here in Every Day Fiction, November 6th, 2018

876 words

I liked this one. I think the constant parentheticals probably work best in a short piece like this. Would be gimmicky if it went on much longer.

The comments are harsh! Every Day Fiction readers evidently have exacting taste.