Daily Short Story Diary - Week 5

February 2, 2019

Day 29: January 27, 2019

SO PERFECT by Stephen Graham Jones

The Ones That Got Away – 2010 (story originally published in Grok, 2008)

Horror – 22 Pages

This one almost seemed like a straight crime story until blamo! Here comes the ghosties. The idea of evil teenage girls really works with me (which is good, a lot on the subject is available). The awfulness and short sightedness and cattiness, I don’t know why, but I find it a ton of fun. So this story carries on in regular evil teen girl format until shit goes completely haywire and the blood and gore begin spilling and flowing.

****

 

Day 30: January 28, 2019

SHATTER by Tia Travis

Fear Itself – 1995

Horror – 8 Pages

This story relies completely on pacing and subject matter. One character is obsessed with death on highways and friend is unnerved by idea. The obsession ultimately leads to death and blah blah blah, nothing original. Bonus star because the pacing was very well done.

**

 

Day 31: January 29, 2019

LION MAN by J.S. Breukelaar

Collision: Stories – 2018 (story originally published in Women Writing Weird, 2011)

Fantasy – 18 Pages (about, digital)

Dog bites child’s hand off and shit gets weird. This is one of the strangest stories I’ve read this year: a talking dog, ghosts, old folks asking to be killed, physical degradation. It’s wholly endearing and comes together in a wicked, impossible to predict conclusion. This one is a bag of what in the fuck did I just read.

*****

 

Day 32: January 30, 2019

HAIRCUT by Ring Lardner

100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in Liberty, 1925)

General – 10 Pages

A fun idea, told in second person while you’re getting a haircut. A barber rambles out a cast and then into a story about how a deserving man gets shot, accidentally. Essentially, this is a bit of gossip in a town you’ve never lived in. Fun idea, not a great deal of depth, pretty quick.

***

 

Day 33: January 31, 2019

TUMBLEBUSH by Darby Harn

Interzone #276 – 2018

Science Fiction – 12 Pages (about, digital)

After the ice caps have melted, New York City is underwater. Fun setting for a P.I. style missing person story. We’ve all seen a ton of rundown apocalypse potential-future-footage, which makes too much description feel weighty, and when it’s not there, it’s easy to overlook, but for me, this story was as good as it was because I wasn’t bombarded by physical descriptions. Also, the short story is the perfect setting for an unravelling mystery. There’s no time to ponder and guess, no time to figure things out before the reveal.

*****

 

Day 34: February 1, 2019

THE STUDENT’S WIFE by Raymond Carver

Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in Carolina Quarterly, 1964)

General – 9 Pages

As is often the case, Carver takes the mundane and explores it honestly and thoroughly in a way that is engaging and thoughtful. That said, for me, he was at his best in the warmer climates of mood, or in the outright dark reaches of the hidden figure behind the skin. The melancholy Carver doesn’t grab me in the same way and I can’t quite say why.

***

 

Day 35: February 2, 2019

ONCE UPON A DARKNESS by Stephen Gresham

Fear Itself – 1995

Horror – 8 Pages

Not entirely the same, but it’s like a shrunken down Secret Window, Secret Garden—does that Jekyll and Hyde thing. Writer builds a monster with words and those words spark a monster within. It’s been explored plenty, but it’s usually pretty fun and this one was fun enough...though this one played out exactly as I’d anticipated.

***

 

Favorite of the week was LION MAN by J.S. Breukelaar.

 

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