Daily Short Story Diary - Week 30

July 27, 2019

Day 204 July 21, 2019

THE WINDOW WATCHER by Dulcie Gray

The 13th Pan Book of Horror Stories – 1972

Horror – 8 Pages

This one has a pretty great premise, but for a horror story, it’s a bit thin. A girl puppeteers her neighbors with misinformation that boils and then becomes the truth before violence breaks out. It had the same kind of flavor as the some of other stories in this book, the outsider or lesser person needs some kind of revenge against the whole world. Readable, engaging, not really satisfying.

***

 

Day 205 July 22, 2019

THIS IS LOVE by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Icarus, 2012)

Horror – 13 Pages

This one’s haunting right from the opening. It has that kind of vague, you fill in the blanks use of language that once you begin filling in the blanks with a picture it’s vivid and you’re all sucked in. This thing unravels into thrills and heavy sense of dread that boils into a finale, ready or not. Engaging, ominous, and fantastically written.

*****

 

Day 206 July 23, 2019

THE DEATH DRIVE OF RITA, NEE CARINA by Ray Cluley

Probably Monsters – 2015 (story originally published in Black Static, 2013)

Horror – 16 Pages

The broken, avenging sort of mother is a tried, tested, and functional sub-trope of horror, and this one kind of follows along that, but the mother is a little more broken and the avenging is transformed into sacrifices. It’s good, imaginative fun, if you’re into people smeared on roadways, into windshields, and around trees…which I am. Cool, original tactic to cause the accidents. Good visuals. Good speed.

*****

 

Day 207 July 24, 2019

BEAR POSSIBILITY by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Humor – 3 Pages

A man knows a real life magic trick and uses it save his wife, but at what cost. This story is absurd and outrageous and utterly fantastic. The punchline is perfect and so much possibility is opened in very few pages.

*****

 

Day 208 July 25, 2019

THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM by Stanley Elkin

100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in American Review, 1978)

General – 23 Pages

This one might be a comedy, but it’s so wry and has a fun, empowering ending that it kind of crosses into general fiction, I think. It opens like a crime story and you see what’s coming and you feel for the guy and then the big IT happens and this story is flipped onto its head. This thing is outrageous and engaging and totally up my alley as far as temperament and feelings toward the Christian afterlife mythology and the fickle Christian God’s need for ego stroking. Totally entertaining story.

*****

 

Day 209 July 26, 2019

CROCODILE LOVE MACHINE by Mackenzie Suess

Flash Fiction Online – 2019

Fantasy – 4 Pages (about, digital)

The writing was fun and in theory, a crocodile, a cat, and a snake in a love triangle sounds like it could be funny, or fun, but mostly I couldn’t get over that these beasts should be eating each other and not be fucking. There’s no room, suspension of disbelief is demanded from the first sentence and not really earned by the characters throughout.

**

 

Day 210 July 27, 2019

HELLO FROM GARBAGE ISLAND! By E.F. Sweetman

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 10 – 2019

Humor – 8 Pages (about, digital)

Dude jumps into a dumpster while fleeing a sticky situation and winds up on the garbage island floating in the Pacific. Absurd. It’s like Waterworld meets Thunderdome meets, I don’t know, Joe Dirt. It’s funny and silly and wonderfully nasty in its textures. Super fun idea and executed well.

****

 

Favorite of the week was THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM by Stanley Elkin.

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