Tag: unknown word count

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.

Short stories: “Alien Treaties”

“Alien Treaties,” by Randal Doering

Appeared in Stupefying Stories: March 2014

Not sure how many words

Gripping. I kind of think it should have ended with the main character’s decision; the reveal that the Sleen are real isn’t really a twist.

Novel: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

Published in 1962 by Viking Press

160 pages in the Penguin Classics Deluxe paperback


This book feels like the purest and most beautifully executed piece of wish fulfillment I’ve ever read. (The thing that comes closest to it is The Talented Mr. Ripley.) When I say wish fulfillment, I guess I mean that Merricat never has to grow up, never has to learn her lesson. Constance never has to grow up either, and after the brief temptation of adulthood passes, she returns happily (?) and with relief to the safety of Merricat’s little world. They win. They triumph. And the twistedness of their triumph is a pleasure in itself, which is only enhanced by the cruelty of the outside world—it’s as though Merricat’s madness is a reaction to that cruelty (though of course it needs no justification beyond itself) and a taunt to throw back against the taunts of the hostile neighbors.

Narrative hypertext game: “Horse Master”

“Horse Master” (version 2.01), written in Twine 1.4.2 by Tom McHenry

Copyright 2013, playable at the creator’s website

I can’t find an easy way to do a word count on a Twine game, but the file is 179 kilobytes; if it were a straight-up prose piece, my guess is that it would run to 4,000 words

I haven’t written much about games and game writing before now. This one is worth playing/reading. The ending varies, but (spoilers!) it is consistently bleak and painful.

Short story: “A Strange Loop”

“A Strange Loop,” by T. R. Napper

Appeared in Interzone, issue 262, JanuaryFebruary 2016

About 12 and 1/3 pages, no idea how many words

A clever and sadly believable story.

I don’t really see what the Douglas Hofstadter epigraph adds to it (though I adore Hofstadter).