Daily Short Story Diary - Week 27

July 6, 2019

Day 183 June 30, 2019

I HAVE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING by Ray Cluley

Probably Monsters – 2015 (story originally published in Black Static, 2011)

Magical Realism – 24 Pages

This one will fit into the situations Cluley mentioned to me on the podcast, about getting stuff out of places like National Geographic and building the story within that setting. It’s an immersive (haha, ‘cause underwater lots) tale that doesn’t have a great deal of horrific bits, by design, though could’ve gone full Jaws. It’s heavy and interesting and very well-written.

****

 

Day 184 July 1, 2019

BRUSHDOGS by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in The Children of Old Leech, 2014)

Horror – 13 Pages

The atmosphere is wicked in this one, heavy-duty, off-putting stuff. The core is a somewhat lost father and his lost son and what goes wrong in the chilled wilderness while hunting. So good. Oh the dread. The writing picks you up and takes you away and then it all appears before you to play out in a finale. Fantastic.

*****

 

Day 185 July 2, 2019

HURLED AT THE NIGHT by Katheryn McMahon

Press 53 – 2019

General – 2 Pages (about, digital)

Totally engaging and fast. I got to the end of this one not at all expecting to be there. It’s a human story with budding love/lust situations that fall a little more realistically than most stories involving romantic entanglements. I liked that a bunch. Wholly impressed by how it played out.

*****

 

Day 186 July 3, 2019

THE MAN WHOSE NOSE WAS TOO BIG by Alan Hillery

The 13th Pan Book of Horror Stories – 1972

Horror – 11 Pages

Told in the gothic hue, this one unravels in quick, double-tapping jolts of nastiness. It’s fast and engaging enough, in the plain and a bit stuffy was that was more common for way back when UK. Still, I’m highly entertained by quality gross outs in a stark contrast to the stiff prose.

****

 

Day 187 July 4, 2019

SMOTHER by Joyce Carol Oates

Give Me Your Heart – 2010 (story originally appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, 2005)

Crime – 36 Pages

The trick to this one is uncertainty. JCO offers up a sympathetic cast and then reveals the crime. Right to the end you’re not sure what’s going to happen and that in itself is a fantastic trick. This story unravels at a good pace and keeps you wondering without giving your mind time to wander.

****

 

Day 188 July 5, 2019

SPIN DOCTOR by Susan Pieters

Pulp Literature #22 – 2019

General – 7 Pages (about, digital)

This one has a fun idea. A man goes to a snake oil psychologist for a cure to his weight problem. The circular talking is a good bit of realism and fits the characters well (maybe the author had experienced some wallet lightening experience similar to this in real life?). In the end, however, not much is going on and any revelation dwells somewhere in the circular talking.

***

 

Day 189 July 6, 2019

THE SHORT HAPPY LIVES OF EUSTACHE WEAVER by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Science Fiction – 6 Pages

This is a silly little time travel tale that falls into three parts with a fun midway reveal, but a lackluster conclusion. It was a bit too obvious and simplistic…then again, this is three flash stories put together to tell a whole tale, so, has to be hurried.

***

 

Comparing flash stories to short stories is tough, so I again have double favorites for the week: BRUSHDOGS by Stephen Graham Jones and HURLED AT THE NIGHT by Katheryn McMahon.

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