Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Short Review of a Very Short Story: "Fantasy Nights" by Mary Soon Lee

[Image from Pixabay; used under Creative Commons license CC0 1.0 Universal]

Lately I've made two mistakes: waiting until I have something "big" to talk about before writing a review, and not reading or discussing enough short fiction. Today I'm going to fix that, by posting a 378-word review of a 469-word story.

If you aren't already familiar with Daily Science Fiction, it's a little gem of a short fiction magazine, which every weekday publishes a short story that you can read on the website or have delivered to your inbox. Stories are officially limited to 1,500 words, but most clock in under 1,000, which means that most of these stories take only a scant few moments to read.

Writers already know this, of course, but not all readers may realize just how much story can be packed into so few words. And not just gimmicky stories either (such as a story told in a single tweet), but stories with plot, characters, setting, metaphor, meaning, heart, and soul.

But enough build-up: today's DSF story is "Fantasy Nights" by Mary Soon Lee, which I found it to be perfectly lovely and just what I was in the mood for today. Some will likely argue that it's not "story" per se; it's really a series of tiny vignettes linked together like beads on a string. But here's where the reader can be the one to bring "story" to a piece of fiction, for I choose to read "Fantasy Nights" as a search for lust and adventure and finally an enduring love. What's funny, though (no pun intended), is that the author's story comments indicate that much of her efforts were an attempt to write humor. And while there are some very witty plays on words and twists of trope, I found much more than humor here. In fact, what I liked best about the piece was its language and imagery, such as when the hero describes his carnal encounters with a unicorn as having "a taste like iced white wine."

Naturally, I don't want to say too much about a story so short, so I invite you to read "Fantasy Nights" for yourself. In the meantime, I'm going to myself more frequently to just write reviews as I find things I like, instead of waiting for something big and important to say.

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