Daily Short Story Diary - Week 21

May 25, 2019

Day 141: May 19, 2019

THE SUN, POPULATION:1 by Brent Michael Kelley

Doomsday Furnace – 2019

Horror – 6 Pages (about, digital)

Sinister grin-inducing, this one’s a comedic apocalypse story. A man hijacks a space station designed to harness and narrow the power of the sun as the truth of his insanity unravels on the page. It’s quick and fun.

***

 

Day 142: May 20, 2019

THE HOUSE by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Horror – 3 Pages

This one is especially atmospheric for a Fredric Brown flash story, but it’s a man and fantastical house, so what else? It’s spooky and foreboding, but lulling at the same time, and then WHAM!

****

 

Day 143: May 21, 2019

NEGATIVES by Annie Proulx

Heart Songs and Other Stories – 1988 (story included in updated version, 1995)

General – 13 Pages

This one maybe works two ways, the one character is taking pictures and developing them of this nasty, low-bred kind of woman, which is one way. The other way might be that every character was a horrid caricature, the rich prick, the rich prick’s pretend anthropologist friend, fascinated by the nasty creature, and the nasty creature herself, a filthy bumpkin with a parade of kids and the mental faculties of a ninth grader. It’s funny and strange, a pretty good choice on which to end a tremendous collection…because it’s not too sad or off-putting, a story like a good smirk.

****

 

Day 144: May 22, 2019

STEEL by Richard Matheson

Duel – 2003 (story originally published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1956)

Science Fiction – 27 Pages

Maaaaaaaan, I wish stories like this were the norm nowadays. I think it every time I read something that puts story miles before the flower petals it’s written with. Matheson was a master and this story was an absolute hoot. The characters are great, and garnered a real response. The situation is a bit silly, but you’re already sunk so deep by the time it happens you buy it, full price. Suspenseful, engaging, and mountains of fun.

*****

 

Day 145: May 23, 2019

COLLOQUY by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery and Other Stories – 1949

General – 3 Pages

This story reads like a strategic interlude with no purpose but to separate the preceding and forthcoming stories in the collection. A woman feels like she is going insane because the world has begun labeling everything with fanciful terms. Meh.

**

 

Day 146: May 24, 2019

GONE FISHING by Jim Davis

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine November 2012

Crime – 10 Pages

A noir tale about a P.I. looking for a criminal wanted for one of the few crimes he didn’t actually perpetrate. It’s fun and full of fisticuffs and pool cue bashing and gunplay. Not a great deal of substance, but it’s fast and engaging. The writing is accessible and as far as noir goes, leans to the lighter side of the razor’s edge prose.

****

 

Day 147: May 25, 2019

CRY HAVOC by Davis Grubb

The Mists From Beyond – 1993

Horror – 11 Pages

War is bad and stupid and the glory of war is the sales pitch the overlords use to convince the masses to kill themselves. That’s the point of this story and is made abundantly clear early on. That’s it, just keeps on belaboring the point as a father and son argue and the toy soldiers the kid has come to life. The illogic of the characters allows for zero suspension of disbelief and the ending is a punchline, I think, but it’s fucking in French. The only line in the whole story not in English.

*

 

Favorite of the week was STEEL by Richard Matheson.

 

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