Daily Short Story Diary - Week 33

August 17, 2019

Day 225 Aug 11, 2019

BLEED by Joyce Carol Oates

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

Crime – 20 Pages

This is one of those sideways suspense stories, the heart of the matter is internal and bubbling over a long period of time before opportunity and confusion come together to destroy. This one had a literary edge and slow burn unravel. Once the picture cleared, the outcome shined a nasty and hard light. Good stuff.

****

 

Day 226 Aug 12, 2019

CRAZY by Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance Issue #77 – 2019

Crime – 2 Pages

This is a quick, strange little unfolding of a man. He’s explaining to a doctor that he’s nuts and eventually offers definitive proof. Nothing really surprising, but this is one of those fun tales where you’re getting what you ordered even if you’ve eaten it a hundred times before.

****

 

Day 227 Aug 13, 2019

SNOW MONSTERS by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Juked, 2010)

Fantasy – 13 Pages

This one’s a grim little piece about a man making a decision and the implications of that decision are dire and yet lifesaving. It’s well-written and engaging, but it’s been done plenty in this quiet way and this didn’t really add much beyond a fun logic being played out in the man’s head.

***

 

Day 228 Aug 14, 2019

A WIND FROM THE SOUTH by Denis Etchison

Borderlands – 1994

Horror – 10 Pages

I really dig this kind of story, an uncanny sense of displacement that eventually takes over the situation and turns the characters’ world upside down. It’s the sense of ownership and entitlement that really gets removed from this, but in simple, relatable circumstances. This could be any of us (the readers I mean) and we maybe wouldn’t act differently and then it’s too late. Much fun. Very Shirley Jackson.

*****

 

Day 229 Aug 15, 2019

THREE LITTLE OWLS by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

General – 3 Pages

Ah, another well-done flash from this collection of well-done flash. It’s engaging, fun, and has little punch at the end to round out the finale.

*****

 

Day 230 Aug 16, 2019

THE HEART’S FILTHY LESSON by Elizabeth Bear

Old Venus – 2015

Science Fiction – 30 Pages

This one digs pretty hard into the science, so from the beginning I was zoning out some, which really is my fault, given this is a sci-fi story. It has a pretty big piece of world building too, both these things do a bit of info dumping. Once the suspense started hitting, it was quiet and lackluster. The character wasn’t worried and her suit was super-duper up to the change of a couple beasties…so, no real danger. Mostly, this one was swim through a character’s insecurities and jealousy. Kind of entertaining, well-written, and imaginative.

***

 

Day 231 Aug 17, 2019

HOUSE OF COOL AIR by William F. Wu

Borderlands – 1994

Horror – 20 Pages

This is an odd one, like a Children in the Attic sort of situation, but with a singled-out boy, who is naked and often punished. It unravels fairly slowly, but makes good use of pain to build a sense of urgency that even the character doesn’t express, leaving it to the reader, so it made use of the pacing. Wholly engaging. Strange in all the good ways. The only beef I had is that the end followed a pretty straight and narrow path.

 

Favorites of the week were THREE LITTLE OWLS by Fredric Brown and A WIND FROM THE SOUTH by Denis Etchison.

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