Daily Short Story Diary - Week 28

July 13, 2019

Day 190 July 7, 2019

FLAME! By Norman Kaufman

The 13th Pan Book of Horror Stories – 1972

Horror – 5 Pages

No letting up on this one, it’s about a dude who snubs cigarettes against babies and kids. Seriously. It’s fast, which is to its benefit as the subject is thin as it gets, and has an okay twist ending. Perfectly serviceable writing and even a bit surprising.

****

 

Day 191 July 8, 2019

UNTIL GWEN by Dennis Lehane

Coronado – 2006 (story originally published in The Atlantic, 2004)

Crime – 26 Pages

Goddamn. Sometimes an author opens with the best story, and in this collection I thought Lehane had, but goddamn. This is wild and fun and pulpy in its extremes. There’s pain and anger and love and it all mingles into a hell of a short story, a fat-free short story. Great dialogue, great setting, great carry through.

*****

 

Day 192 July 9, 2019

WELCOME TO THE REPTILE HOUSE by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Strange Aeons, 2013)

Horror – 20 Pages

This one, I had no idea what was going on even three quarters of the way through. I was there for it, following along as the dude in the story lived his life. He was a fuck up and fuck ups resonate with me…no idea why…okay, maybe I do know why. The story is engaging, different, and closes with a bit of fun I didn’t see coming.

****

 

Day 193 July 10, 2019

SNAPSHOTS by Leo X. Robertson

Pulp Literature Issue #22 – 2019

Science Fiction – 20 Pages (about, digital)

Well now, this is not at all what I expected from Mr. Leo X. Robertson. This story is more serious and heartfelt and has zero body horror. Ha! It is engaging from the very beginning, and while the ending becomes a likelihood fairly early on, it’s still a rewarding journey. Impressed wholly.

*****

 

Day 194 July 11, 2019

TETANUS by Joyce Carol Oates

Give Me Your Heart – 2010 (story originally published in TriQuarterly, 2008)

Crime – 19 Pages

A thorough and involved look at the story running parallel to the story, if that makes sense. It’s a layered thing to do and focussing on the louder, though less meaningful to the protagonist, bit is an interesting way to write the thing. You see this sometimes, in writing and movies, usually the real story involves love and really, this one’s no different.

***

 

Day 195 July 12, 2019

AT NIGHT, WHEN THE DEMONS COME by Ray Cluley

Probably Monsters – 2015 (story originally published in Black Static, 2010)

Horror – 21 Pages

I’d read this one before, though hadn’t recognized it for a handful of pages. It had been a while, probably four or five years, and in one of those Datlow best of collections, so the stories kind of melt together because she pretty much likes different shades of the same kind of storytelling. Anyway, this one starts quick, lulls in the middle, breaks into action three-quarters the way through, and finally sizzles out a final burn. A big piece of this story is the dehumanization, not just the outwardly point of dehumanizing women for their gender, but also all the characters. Everyone is pretty much just someone to be killed by the demons. Still, good writing, good action, great conclusion.

****

 

Day 196 July 13, 2019

THE TWINS by Harry Turner

The 13th Pan Book of Horror Stories – 1972

Horror – 10 Pages

This one is all in the build-up and the expectations one develops as a horror reader. The comeuppance tale is a well-trodden path, so well that sometimes a story can slide in sideways and blindside your expectation with a red herring. This story had me saying, in the way I do when I’m surprised and amused, GOOOOH! The ending is so perfect, I didn’t see it coming an iota and it more than makes up for any downfalls in the writing and extensive telling rather than showing. Absolutely savage.

*****

 

Favorite of the week was SNAPSHOTS by Leo X. Robertson.

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