Tag: unknown word count

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: “In the Shadow of Man”

“In the Shadow of Man,” by Belle Boggs

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

Several thousand words 

Really good story about the relationship between these parents, the way their trust in each other breaks down shockingly fast the moment they start fearing for their children.

Not sure what the title means. The author’s blog mentions In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall, as a favorite book, so maybe it’s meant to cast the panicky parents as chimpanzees.

Short story: “Jack’s Garden”

“Jack’s Garden,” by V. S. Naipaul

Appeared in the New Yorker October 6th, 1986 (online to subscribers here); read by Karl Ove Knausgaard for the New Yorker Fiction Podcast episode released June 1st, 2016

A lot of words

I was barely able to follow this story on the podcast. I have to agree with Knausgaard that it’s “boring,” but unfortunately I didn’t recognize the redeeming quality he sees in it. At the end it did feel like there was a small, meaningful revelation—too late to capture my attention.

Short story: “The Girls”

“The Girls,” by Megan Taylor

Appeared in Neon Issue Forty-Six, May 29th, 2018

A few thousand words

A good nightmare, as are many Neon stories. I can sympathize with that adult fear of teenagers, those menacing no-longer-children, too-cool-for-grownups aliens.

Short story: “Sweetness”

“Sweetness,” by B. C. Edwards

First appeared in 2010 in the anthology Zombiality: A Queer Bent on the Undead (edited by Bill Tucker); collected in The Aversive Clause; read by Sam Ferree in Pseudopod 445, July 3rd, 2015

No idea how many words; the Pseudopod episode is 30:12

This is the second time I’ve listened to this story. It’s poignant—”lovers at the end of the world” poignant. The narrator does a good job with the repetitions.

Short story or maybe novelette: “For Jeromé—with Love and Kisses”

“For Jeromé—with Love and Kisses,” by Gordon Lish

Apparently orginally came out in 1983; appeared in The Antioch Review, Vol. 68, No. 3, Annual All Fiction Issue (Summer 2010), pp. 546–588—JSTOR link here

43 pages, no idea how many words

I had a hard time with this story because it just goes on and on. It’s clever, but it’s not clever enough to hold up all the way through. I had no idea Lish could get so verbose, based on his work on Carver.

The title, with its play on “For Esmé,” falls flat for me. Maybe that’s deliberate—the narrator read “For Esmé” and its subtlety was completely lost on him.

Thomas Pynchon was apparently not really born Pinkowitz, but I can see why the joke was too good to give up.

Short story: “The Angel in the Marble”

“The Angel in the Marble,” by B. T. Joy

Read by Simon Meddings in PseudoPod 468, released December 11th, 2015

No idea how many words; the episode is 49:52

An elegantly written story of repression. I didn’t catch all the backstory about Matty, partly, perhaps, because I had trouble with the reader’s accent. (Good reading though.)

Short story: “Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes”

“Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes,” by Thomas Ligotti

First appeared in Nyctalops #17 in 1982; featured in Pseudopod 434, April 17th, 2015

No idea how many words

An effective story.

The title is a pun on a poem/song that, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the story. I would have titled it “The Hypnotist,” banal as that is.

Short story: “Again”

“Again,” by Ramsey Campbell

Originally appeared in Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine (which ran from 1981 to 1989); featured in PseudoPod 550, July 7th, 2017; apparently anthologized all over the place, including in Vile Things from Comet Press

Maybe 5000 words?

A truly creepy story, repellent and fascinating. It gets a lot of its force, I can’t help but feel, from the reader’s discomfort with kinky sex and with old people having sex lives at all.

Short story: “A Decent Place to Shit”

“A Decent Place to Shit,” by Paul Carlucci

Appeared in Grain Volume 43, Number 4 (Summer 2016)

About five pages, maybe 2500 words?

A good piece about somebody who’s lost.