Tag: twenty-first century

Short story: “Lam”

“Lam,” by Ralph Robert Moore

Appeared in Crimewave 13: Bad Light, May 11th, 2018

23.5 pages, some thousands of words

I really enjoyed the laconic, matter-of-fact voice and the way the mystery got drawn out, with that little detail of the hole drilled in the wall serving as a sharp reminder, near the end, that we still don’t know the protagonist’s motivations.


If this is true I’m doomed

“My very first writing teacher, Max Steele, once told our class that we would never be the writers we were meant to be until we had dealt with our mother issues. I heard this as an eighteen year old and it is something I have thought about ever since. In fact, in my own writing classes, I refer to it as: if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother and have been both surprised and delighted over the years to see how often a character’s mother, or the absent mother, ends up being the key to whatever is missing.”

—Jill McCorkle (x)

More (untitled) microfictions from Nanoism

“on a card written in crayon:”, by Cynthia Day

Appeared in Nanoism, June 6th, 2018

22 words

I adore this. (Spoilers….) At first I took it for the love note of a rather daffy adult. It was only on a reread that I got who the writer of the card was.

“I wouldn’t wash her handprint off the window,” by Shane Olivieri

Appeared in Nanoism, June 27th, 2018

24 words

I like the implication that the narrator is deep in denial—or rather, was. Perhaps this is about a child who refuses to visit her noncustodial parent after the divorce.

“Today was okay,” by Daniel Galef

Appeared in Nanoism, January 8th, 2014

28 words


I like the filename.

Short story: “Minor Thefts”

“Minor Thefts,” by Louise Marburg

Appeared in Ploughshares Summer 2018, guest-edited by Jill McCorkle

A few thousand words

A fine story of adolescence.

So far I’m very impressed with McCorkle’s issue.

Short story: “Mamiwata”

“Mamiwata,” by Randall Kenan

Appeared in Ploughshares Summer 2018, guest-edited by Jill McCorkle

A few thousand words

This ended sooner than I wanted it to, but I think I get it—the ambiguity of the man’s motives never resolved, Mandy/Amanda poised between two terrible dangers and choosing the lesser one, the one she seems to be too young to recognize.

Short story: “Four Walls Around Me to Hold My Life”

“Four Walls Around Me to Hold My Life,” by Lee Clay Johnson

Appeared in Ploughshares Summer 2018, guest-edited by Jill McCorkle

Several thousand words

I started writing this entry after reading the first paragraph. It’s that good. Having read the whole thing, I have to say it lived up to my expectations. You can see all the traps the protagonist is stepping into, and has stepped into, and you understand why he keeps doing it.

I’d like to try imitating this type of voice—the voice of this particular type of male character. If it can be imitated. How much does a good voice come from the depths of an authentic, inimitable character and how much from stylistic tricks?

Short story: “Cookie Jar”

“Cookie Jar,” by Stephen King

Appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), apparently in spring of 2016, online here


Really enjoyed this.

Interesting to see a literary-type magazine publishing a speculative piece by a well-known genre writer. Their submissions page says they’re generally not interested in genre.

Short story: “Stuck in the Past”

“Stuck in the Past,” by Mike Donoghue

Appeared in Abyss & Apex, issue 54, March 2015; made the 2016 Sunburst Award Shortlist

4,310 words

A fun, fast-paced story.

Short story: “Day One”

“Day One,” by Ashlee Crews

Appeared in Ploughshares Summer 2018, guest-edited by Jill McCorkle

A few thousand words

This is really good. The slow reveal of who Charles is and what he did is riveting, and Mavis’s cognitive dissonance, as her doctor calls it, is very believable. It’s for the best that we never find out the whole of what happened that night—the details would inevitably be lurid, sensationalistic, irrelevant.

I’m not sure what the title means. I say that a lot; titles often perplex me. This isn’t day one of Charles’ sentence, is it?

Short story: “The Day the World Broke”

“The Day the World Broke,” by Autumn Owens

Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, August 7th, 2018

760 words

I like the atmosphere of this piece, and the ambiguity around the character’s final confession.