Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recommended Short Stories Online

Since I'm focusing on writing short stories this year, I am also dedicating myself to (mostly) reading short stories. The plan is to go beyond a quick, consuming read and study the ones I appreciate the most so that I can see how they work. I'm talking about taking notes, even. I'm that serious. It's hard for short stories to get any attention at all, let alone the attention they deserve, so I also intend to periodically let people know about the recent ones I think are outstanding. I'd be grateful for any recommendations you can throw me in return!

Here's my first list:

"The Art Disease" - Dennis Danvers, Electric Velocipede, Issue 23: A strange and funny look at the artistic life and the outer limits of creativity. I laughed out loud at some of the lines in this one, and I want to read it again, and it also made me want to read more by this author.

"All the Painted Stars" - Gwendolyn Clare, Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 64: Alien contact in the far future, seen through the alien's mind. There are so many great ideas in this story! I especially like the way it explores coping with isolation, and finding a purpose in life.

"The Five Elements of the Heart Mind" - Ken Liu, Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 20: A far-future love story about factors that affect human personality. Afterward, there's a note about the current science that inspired it. Ken Liu has gotten my attention recently as an author whose work I like enough to buy a whole magazine to read his story.

"Sweetheart Showdown" - Sarah Dalton, Apex Magazine, Issue 32: Welcome to the future of competitive beauty! Where the cute must be brutal to survive! This story reveals what beauty pageants will inevitably become.


  1. Hey there, I took the challenge and read them. Wonderful selection.

  2. Hi, I've been listening to a lot of short stories via podcasts this year. Some of my favorites included "The Judge's Right Hand," by J.S. Bangs on Beneath Ceaseless skies; "The Cartogrpaher Wasps and the Anarchist Bees," by E. Lily Yu and "The Book of Pheonix Excerpted from The Great Book," By Nnedi Okorafor on Clarkesworld; "You Have Been Turned into a Zombie by a Friend," by Jeramiah Tolbert; "Her Husband's Hands," Adam Troycastro (SP?) by on Lightspeed; Lastly, "A Hunter's Ode to His Bait" by Carrie Vaughn on PodCastle

  3. I saw your tweet about my post today--thanks so much. How's it going with the short story writing? Do you agree that the world sometimes seems so insular--like all of us wanting to publish there and the editors or anything involved in the lit journals are a tiny world sort of talking to ourselves? It's a negative take, but I can't help feeling that way.

    Maybe I'm just crabby today.

  4. Hi Nina! The short story writing keeps leading me back to novel writing. I get an idea, work on figuring it out for a while, and whoops! It turns into something too long for a short story. So now I feel like I SHOULD write a post about that, but I'm on the other side of the fiction v. blogging decision, feeling like I need more time for fiction.

    I often feel like the writers online are all talking over the same writing-oriented material again and again, so I go through phases of tuning it out for a while until I can get enthusiastic about it again. Seems to help!

    I love reading your blog, btw. You come up with some really thoughtful posts, and I appreciate looking at things through your worldview.

  5. First, thank you! I rarely write about "writing" actually and when I do it's more of a "here's what I'm struggling with" thing and not a how to. I agree, there are many blogs out there discussing the same things over and over. I read your post on that too, I believe.

    I think it's a great "problem" to have when the stories are too big for stories. I always had the opposite problem. In the past few years I wrote four 25,000 WIPs that sort of died a natural death at that point. Even an outline couldn't push them to a good enough plot that merited anyone reading 80,000 words. I have written two full novels, but they're terrible. Just need a fiction break, I guess!

    Luckily there are genres and readers for all kinds of writers.

    So glad to be getting to you know you a bit more off of Twitter. This is the "stuff" that I love about blogging.


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