Daily Short Story Diary - Week 4
Day 22: January 20, 2019
FONTAINE HOUSE by Terrie Farley Moran
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2012
Mystery – 10 Pages
There’s been a murder over a risqué piece of history surrounding the absurdly wealthy Bellefontaine family. This story was obvious from beginning to end, but was set up as a mystery...so, I suppose it’s a fail. Everything wrapped up too neatly, too quickly. The bad guy rolled over like a well-trained dog when confronted. Though, the writing was nicely accessible, something that can be taken for granted, so, not horrid.
Day 23: January 21, 2019
EXPRESS DELIVERY by Sarah Pinborough
Waiting for October – 2007 (story originally published in Dark Rising Vol. 2, 2001)
Horror – 12 Pages
A man receives a perfect replica of his foot in the mail. What a fantastic opening and premise. The story has moments when it feels predictable, but it continues on and a sinister grin begins to spread. Ha! This one was pure fun. And it was Sarah Pinborough’s first published story, that’s a fine way to open a career. Fast, suspenseful, twisted.
Day 24: January 22, 2019
MY OLD MAN by Ernest Hemmingway
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway in 1925)
General – 10 Pages
I’d only read one Hemmingway story before this. Really thinking and looking at it, I’d guess some of my favorite writers were pretty influenced by Hemmingway. His style is straightforward and simple, he wrote how folks speak, and that’s really something given how much that’s beaten out of people in place of what’s right and proper and blah blah fucking blah. Anyhow, this one’s about a jockey’s son who loves his dad. It’s touching and thorough, a bit meandering in the sense of A to B, and has an abrupt ending (don’t know if that’s good, bad, or simply is).
Day 25: January 23, 2019
THE BOX by J.S. Breukelaar
Collision: Stories – 2019 (story originally published in Juked, 2012)
Science Fiction – 10 Pages (about, digital)
After an accident, a dude hooks his wife up to a machine so while a vegetative state they can still be together. Man, that’s a fun idea. Dude trying to keep up and misunderstanding at times, that really made this one work. The end felt a bit abrupt (that’s two mornings in a row), but in the case of this story, my guess, the story could keep circling the same drain forever and always reach the same conclusion. Quick, intriguing, well-written.
Day 26: January 24, 2019
HERE THERE BE SPYDERS by Graham Watkins
Fear Itself – 1995
Horror – 12 Pages
Hooo shit! Fantastic premise here, pure terror even before explaining all the elements. Woman trapped down a cave shaft and outside assistance is just too far away. There’s so many ways to build on this...nasty, horrible, fantastical ways. So, spelunker dude goes down another tunnel to meet up with the underside of the shaft to help push the woman up, nice plan, but guess what’s there! Eight-legged baddies, oh yes. Good, clean writing (rare enough in some of these old-ish anthos), suspenseful, scary.
Day 27: January 25, 2019
SITTING UP WITH THE UNDEAD by Bev Vincent
Appalachian Undead – 2013
Horror – 8 Pages
There seems to be two predominant ways to tell a zombie short: one, everybody is running and shooting, or two, the author builds up what’s lost and dwells before it reaches the hero’s backyard. This one is told in the latter and was a bit too heavy on painting the backstory as an old man remembers, if it were sci-fi, you might call it an info dump—explaining all the bits and panels, but instead explaining life before with its people and TV coverage. It seems, much of the time authors look at the action of a zombie story as lower brow writing, and it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. For me, action has to be the main purpose of the zombie, everything else just sprinkles in along the way. That said, though the ending was predictable, it entertaining enough (for some reason, my favorite zombie is the crawling zombie and this has one).
Day 28: January 26, 2019
DEATH SHIP by Richard Matheson
Duel – 2003 (story originally published in Fantastic Story Magazine, 1953)
Science Fiction – 23 Pages
If anyone reading this is one of the authors who keep sending me sci-fi for the magazine, read this story for the kind of sci-fi that tickles me. Three men land on a foreign planet, happen upon a ship, and recognize the figures within, despite the impossibility of it. This is a twisted tale and wickedly suspenseful.
Favorite of the week was probably DEATH SHIP, a real surprise to like a sci-fi story that takes place in space that much.