Sunday, August 7, 2016

Short Fiction - July 2016

[public domain image of Library of Congress building from]

Short Fiction - July 2016

I'm a little bit late in my post for my July short fiction reading, but I've been reading all along. Unusually for me, this month I read three novellas, one of them approximately 40K words long, balanced on the other ends by lots and lots of flash pieces and even microfiction, which I count as under 500 words. The two standouts for me this month fall on either end of that spectrum, with one flash piece and one novella.

I have to admit, my long fiction reading is suffering as a result of this story-a-day project. But I think I have become addicted to the short form, so that may be the way it has to be.

"Morning Sun"
by Edward Ashton

Length: 971 words
Category: Short story (mainstream)
Where Published: Every Day Fiction
When Published: 2016-07-13

This short mainstream piece is about a man who has both cancer and regrets. In that sense, it's not what I'd call an innovative story, but I felt as though every word in the story was the right choice. The author conveys so much in a few words.

"Combat Shopping"
by Elizabeth Moon

Length: 20,450 words (est. based on sample page count)
Category: Novella (science fiction)
Where Published: Escape from Earth (anthology), SFBC
When Published: 2006
Link: N/A

This novelette appears in the anthology Escape from Earth, in which editors Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois were charged with finding stories with a traditional juvenile sensibility of longing to "see what's happening out there." I haven't read all the stories in the anthology yet, but Elizabeth Moon's "Combat Shopping" certainly filled the bill. Twelve-year-old Andi Murchison longs to get her pilot's license as a possible means to escape her stifling life in a habitat on Jupiter's moon Ganymede. When she defies her adoptive mother's orders to take the test, it sets off a chain of events that reveal some unexpected secrets about her situation. I loved the way Andi takes charge of her own destiny, yet doesn't forget her responsibilities to others, particularly her adoptive siblings.

Other stories read in July 2016:

(alphabetical by author)

- "Vent Act" by Graham Brand (2016)
- "Companion Trilogy: Bareheaded" by Mike Buckley (2016)
- "Companion Trilogy: Companion" by Mike Buckley (2016)
- "Companion Trilogy: Companionless" by Mike Buckley (2016)
- "A Patch of Dirt in Paradise" by Lee Budar-Danoff (2016)
- "Interrogation Cupcakes" by Alexander Burns (2016)
- "Goosed" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks (2016)
- "Heroes Be Damned" by Jareb Collins (2016)
- "2 AM at a Motel in the City" by Cory Cone (2016)
- "Sunrise" by Madeline Curtis (2015)
- "The Big Blow-Up" by Dave D'Alessio (2016)
- "Momentum" by Kris Dinnison (2016)
- "A Study in Grey" by Sarah Doebereiner (2016)
- "The Redaction of Flight 5766" by Eric Gregory (2006)
- "Retirement Plan" by Jack Hillman (2016)
- "Choose Your Kid's Adventure" by Meghan Renee Jenkins (2016)
- "Stan" by Rosalie Kempthorne (2016)
- "Great Expectations" by M.E. Kerr (2001)
- "Frog Soup" by Floris M. Kleijne (2016)
- "Never Will I Ever" by Kaleigh Longe (2016)
- "Repeat One" by Andrew Neil McDonald (2016)
- "The Cost to Be Wise" by Maureen F. McHugh (1996)
- "GI Jesus" by Susan Palwick (1996)
- "On Impulse" by Rita A. Popp (2016)
- "Candle, Card and Mirror" by Stephen S. Power (2016)
- "Killing the Morrow" by Robert Reed (1996)
- "Slow Bullets" by Alistair Reynolds (2015)
- "I Blame the Kardashians" by Tess Riesmeyer (2016)
- "In the Depths of the Museum" by R. Rozakis (2016)
- "Lonesome" by Tarah Scalzo (2015)
- "Future Fragments, Six Seconds Long" by Alex Shvartsman (2016)
- "Strawberry Kisses" by Carl Steiger (2016)
- "Expendable" by Katherine Toran (2016)
- "The Happiest Place" by Carrie Vaughn (2009)
- "Drink Me" by H. Victory (2016)
- "A Piece of Her Self" by Liz Walker (2016)
- "The Passing of the Book" by Gerald Warfield (2016)
- "A Wrinkle Ironed Out" by Alison Wilgus (2016)
- "Insurrection" by Oscar Windsor-Smith (2016)
- "Blind Side" by Peter Wood (2016)

List of the sources from which these stories came:

(alphabetical by anthology title, magazine title, website name, etc.)

- Abyss & Apex, 3rd quarter 2016
- Daily Science Fiction, July 2016
- Diabolical Plots, July 2016
- Escape from Earth (anthology), edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, 2006
- Every Day Fiction, July 2016
- Mash Stories, August 2016
- On the Fringe (anthology), edited by Donald R. Gallo, 2001
- One Teen Story, Oct 2015; Dec 2015; June 2016
- Realms of Fantasy, Feb 2009
- Starlight 1 (anthology), edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, 1996
- Sybil's Garage, no. 3, 2006
- Trigger Warning: Short Fiction with Pictures, July 2016
- Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, June 2016

Read more!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 2016 Publications

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My 2007 story "Waterfall" appears as a reprint today in Expanded Horizons. Here's where to find that story as well as my other July publications:


In the future, art may take on forms we can't yet achieve. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Originally published in the September 2007 issue of Khimairal Ink, this story about an artist's muse also appears here in Expanded Horizons (free).

"Leeland and Dunce, On the Case"

Special Agent Leeland and Special Agent Dunce have gotten a tip that a very serious crime is in progress. Read it free here at Every Day Fiction.

"Suicide Club"

My short story "Suicide Club" has been reprinted in Trigger Warning: Short Fiction with Pictures, and is accompanied by a killer illustration (no pun intended) by artist John Skewes. Read it free here.

"Daisy, Cactus, Porcupine, Ghost"

Even brief encounters can make lasting, life-altering impressions. This 600-word short story appears in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, and is free to read here.

"The End of the World Is, Like, So Boring"

Originally published with a slightly different title in Perihelion in July 2015, this story is now available as part of Digital Fiction Pub's "QuickFic" feature here. Find out what a girl does when her friends have disappeared and, like, nobody is answering their cells!

Read more!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Morning Fun!

My story "Leeland and Dunce, on the Case" is out this morning from Every Day Fiction. A lot of my stories are on the serious side. This one? Not so much! Enjoy it free here.

Read more!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Short Fiction - June 2016

[An 1886 illustration of the kineograph, from Wikipedia]

Short Fiction - June 2016

Before I start talking about specific stories, here are some half-year stats. As of today, I've read 201 short works this year, ranging from microfiction to novelettes. I've also been keeping track of word counts this year (using sample page counts for print books when necessary), and have read more than 667,500 words of short fiction in the last six months.

Because I like to skip around so much in terms of story length and genre, I rarely read an entire anthology straight through, but I made an exception recently and was rewarded with two of my four favorite stories of the month. The anthology is Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, and is full of original young adult stories edited (and in one case written) by Stephanie Perkins. I chose this anthology on the strength of her earlier editorial effort, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, which I started last year and plan to finish during the upcoming holiday season.

Naturally, not every story in either anthology appeals to me. But overall, I really like what she's doing in these books.

"The Map of Tiny Perfect Things"
by Lev Grossman

Length: 13,200 words (est.)
Category: Novelette (YA / fantasy / science fiction)
Where Published: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (anthology), edited by Stephanie Perkins
When Published: 2016
Link (book purchase)

In this story, which I'm not sure whether to call fantasy or science fiction, high school student Mark realizes he's living August 4 over and over, ala Groundhog Day. He's coping fairly well for the most part, and then meets Margeret, a fellow repeater. They get to know each other slowly, and together make it their mission to find and map all of the perfect moments that they can find.

I really enjoyed this story. I give it extra points for openly referencing the movies Groundhog Day and The Edge of Tomorrow while not being too similar to either one. I also liked the way the Abbott's Flatland is referenced. But then again, Lev Grossman, who wrote the Magicians trilogy, is particularly good at incorporating formative popular culture into his fiction.

I got this book at the library, but I'm tempted to buy my own copy just so I'll own this particular story.

"A Thousand Ways This Could Go Wrong"
by Jennifer E. Smith

Length: 12,200 words (est.)
Category: Novelette (YA)
Where Published: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (anthology), edited by Stephanie Perkins
When Published: 2016
Link (book purchase)

In this story, Annie runs into Griffin, a shy boy she's had her eye on for a while, and asks him on a maybe-a-date/maybe-not-a-date outing to an arcade. {MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD} When Annie gets stuck late at the camp where she works while waiting for an autistic boy's mother to pick him up, Griffin comes by and gets along with the little boy remarkably well. It takes Annie longer than it does the reader to put two and two together, but Griffin finally tells her that he has Asperger's (which he notes they're now calling autism).

This is one of the better fictional treatments of the subject that I've seen. It's not played for laughs (ala Big Bang Theory), nor is it from the point of view of someone with more severe autism, like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It's just a thoughtful look at what it might be like to navigate the beginnings of a romantic relationship when one of the two people has a harder time with cues. I also thought the characters were very well developed for such a short story.

"One More Bite"
by Michelle Muenzler

Length: 800 words
Category: Short story (horror)
Where Published: Daily Science Fiction
When Published: 2016-06-09
Link (free)

There aren't many authors who can make me actually look forward, with pleasure, to reading a dark, creepy story. Michelle is one of those authors. This short story, at 800 words, is really all atmosphere, since we don't find out terribly much about how this ... let's call it a "process" ... works. But that atmosphere is so beautifully constructed that it's delightful (and delightfully creepy) to read.

by Caroline M. Yoachim

Length: 581 words
Category: Short story (science fiction)
Where Published: Daily Science Fiction
When Published: 2011-07-18
Link (free)

In this super short story, a woman keeps her husband company as he remembers his impending death, even though he doesn't seem to remember anything else about their life together. I'm not entirely sure what is happening in this story, but it's not simple Alzheimer's. Whatever is happening, the tone of the story is lovely and sad, and that's what mattered to me.

Other stories read in June 2016:

(alphabetical by author)

- "The Arrangements" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2016)
- "On Discovering a Ghost in the Five Star" by Peter M. Ball (2016)
- "Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail" by Leigh Bardugo (2016)
- "Sick Pleasure" by Francesca Lia Block (2016)
- "Last Stand at the Cinegore" by Libba Bray (2016)
- "Don't Read This Story" by K.T. Bryski (2016)
- "The Exterminator's Daughter" by Meg Cabot (2007)
- "Brand New Attraction" by Cassandra Clare (2016)
- "Good Luck and Farewell" by Brandy Colbert (2016)
- "Time and Space Died Yesterday" by Brandon Echter (2016)
- "Souvenirs" by Tim Federle (2016)
- "The Weight of Kanzashi" by Joshua Gage (2016)
- "Pencils, Rules, Bones, Heart" by JT Gill (2016)
- "Department of Truth" by Jennifer Rose Jorgensen
- "Going Deep" by James Patrick Kelly (original 2009; reprint 2011)
- "The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R." by Benjamin C. Kinney (2016)
- "The End of Love" by Nina LaCour (2016)
- "Turkey Shoot" by Tom Lavagnino (2015)
- "The Greyhound" by Dafydd Mckimm (2016)
- "Irma Splinkbottom’s Recipe For Cold Fusion" by Janene Murphy (2009)
- "The Job" by Bob Page (2016)
- "In Ninety Minutes, Turn North" by Stephanie Perkins (2016)
- "The Day the Future Invaded" by Beth Powers (2016)
- "Failed Interview with the International Convocation of the Damned" by Luc Reid (2016)
- "Inertia" by Veronica Roth (2016)
- "Useful Objects" by Erica L. Satifka (2014)
- "Little Dead Girl" by C.M. Saunders (2016)
- "Love is the Last Resort" by Jon Skovron (2016)
- "America, America" by Okafor Emmanuel Tochukwu (2016)
- "After the End" by Damien Angelica Walters (2016)
- "Created By..." by David Wardrop (2016)

List of the sources from which these stories came:

(alphabetical by anthology title, magazine title, website name, etc.)

- Daily Science Fiction, June 2016
- Diabolical Plots, June 2016
- Flash Fiction Online, Nov 2009; Jan 2016
- The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards: SF (anthology), edited by Kevin J. Anderson, 2011
- Nature, Oct 2014
- The New York Times Book Review, June 2014
- Prom Nights from Hell (anthology), 2007
- Strange Horizons, June 2016
- Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (anthology), edited by Stephanie Perkins, 2016
- Trigger Warning: Short Fiction with Pictures, 2015; 2016

Read more!