Day 85: March 24, 2019
DROWNED IN A SEA OF DREAMS by Donald Olson
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July 2012
Crime – 6 Pages
This one is a touch softer than my normal crime interests, but the layers really had it pulling good duty. At no time did I see what was coming, but I should’ve—the ingredients were all there—which is the right way of the crime/mystery tale. Quick, smart, and surprising. Well-written and wholly entertaining.
Day 86: March 25, 2019
TRESPASS by Richard Matheson (story originally appeared in Fantastic, 1953)
Duel – 2003
Science Fiction – 43 Pages
This one had a fun premise, but going in knowing it’s a Matheson story from the fifties, I pretty well figured I knew where it would land, but I had hope. Unfortunately, with Matheson, he didn’t push that far from the obvious, like when he started a story—woman pregnant mysteriously by Martian baby—he didn’t get to that reveal point and say but what if it’s something else completely? No explanation as to how the embryo got in the woman, nor was there any suspenseful finale. The middle was engaging, but the end was wildly tepid.
Day 87: March 26, 2019
WE’RE NEVER INVITING AMBER AGAIN by S.P. Miskowski
Haunted Nights – 2017
Horror – 19 Pages
This one has a pretty fun set-up, building up expectations only to subvert them. That said, the build-up reads like there was a specific word count or page count to meet and instead of building the expectations, in order to meet the higher word/page count, the expectations were pounded home so aggressively that it became obvious something of the opposite was going to happen. That said, I didn’t see exactly what did happen coming beforehand and it gave that often sought, but usually missed, shiver moment. I’m guessing at maybe five pages shorter, I’d label this a five-star horror. Engaging (mostly). Fun. Thrilling finale.
Day 88: March 27, 2019
COLLECTORS by Raymond Carver
Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in Esquire, 1975)
General – 7 Pages
This is an odd one, even for Carver. Dude is sitting around when a vacuum salesman weasels his way in and starts showing his stuff to a guy stuck waiting on a letter to get the fuck out of that shithole apartment. Then it feels like he shouldn’t have been there at all and he’s so afraid of bill collectors that he’s squatting at a neighbor’s place or something, listening to steps. I don’t think that’s what it actually is, but I kind of wish it was...guess I’ll never know for sure what this one means and I’ll be damned if I click on another MFA student analysis of a Carver story because Jesus tap dancing Christ there are a lot of idiots puffing bubble pipes looking to explain all the supposed layers of a Carver story.
Day 89: March 28, 2019
TASTING GOMOA by Chinelo Onwualu
The Humanity of Monsters – 2015
Erotic (?) – 15 Pages (about, digital)
So I went into this anthology blind after recognizing a several names attached to it and a $1.99 price tag. Maybe it’s just this first one, but it seems I’ve stumbled onto something erotic rather than the horror I expected. Anyway, it was engaging and at times, you truly feel for the old girl past her prime (twenty-four). The sex comes along quickly, and twice (the first being preamble). Rating something like this is tough since I have no backdrop of comparisons. So, good writing. Engaging.
Day 90: March 29, 2019
ON THE ANTLER by Annie Proulx
Heart Songs and Other Stories – 1988 (story originally appeared in Gray’s Sporting Journal, 1983)
General – 21 Pages
Annie Proulx is easily in my top five list of short story writers. Though this wasn’t one of her best, the writing was clear and strong with palpable atmosphere and realistic humans. The situation in this one is along her norm, which I guess is something like country rough. I suppose my only beef was how it ended. I understand hooking from the obvious is a fine way to conclude any story, but if you don’t, at least hook into something, I mean old dude been pining all his life about getting back at other old dude and then just half-assed burns himself instead... Still, engaging and mighty in style. So mighty, I’m sure bits will stick with me for weeks, how they do with Proulx stories.
Day 91: March 30, 2019
THE GLASS FLOOR by Stephen King
Cemetery Dance Magazine – 2013 (story originally published in Startling Mystery Stories, 1967)
Horror – 8 Pages (about, digital)
So I hadn’t had a five-star read for my morning efforts yet this week and decided to dip into the old Cemetery Dance issues on my Kindle. I remember really liking The Glass Floor, being amazed that King wrote it so young. Perhaps my rose-tinted glasses have lost some of their lustre, because after reading this one again, I still do not have a five-star read for the week. From a historic sense, this one is fascinating, but in reading it as a story, the opening is too long-winded and the pacing is uneven and...there sure are a lot of adverbs used to describe dialogue tags, the reader said disappointedly. That noted, the ending is so fucking much fun and the idea so strange, it really shines a favorable light. Bonus note, he used this room in Rose Red.
Favorite of the week was ON THE ANTLER by Annie Proulx.