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.