Daily Short Story Diary - Week 36

September 7, 2019

Day 246 Sep 1, 2019

XEBICO by Stephen Graham Jones

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

Horror – 17 Pages

This one’s kind of interesting in style, a less SGJ flavor from the average SGJ tales. It kind of has a voice reminiscent of the period of the story the story’s about. Always with the layers. The SGJ is there, especially in the mounting dread. This is a creepy one where everything turns out to be not quite as expected, but what can a character do? Fun. Creepy. Well-written.

****

 

Day 247 Sep 2, 2019

LILY-WHITE & THE THIEF OF LESSER NIGHT by C.S.E. Cooney

Mad Hatters and March Hares – 2017

Fantasy – 22 Pages

I don’t know what the hell was going on. Too Alice-insidery I think. Like if I was a Wonderland scholar, maybe I’d get more of what was going on. I think it was a mystery, where a chesire-monkey hired these other beings, I don’t exactly know what, to get to the bottom of some doings in their neck of the woods. By the end, everything was happy and laughing and the deaths mattered none. Leaving me wondering why the story exists if nothing in it matters, it’s pretty well equivalent to it was all a dream. Star for the fact I was engrossed enough to wonder about the doings.

**

 

Day 248 Sep 3, 2019

A SIDE OF THE SEA by Ramsey Campbell

Borderlands 4 – 1994

Horror – 11 Pages

Once you read enough of an author, you begin to notice the traits. This one is very Ramsey Campbell in that normalcy in society is unreliable and desperation sets in for one person while all the rest seem to exist unnoticing of panic. I’ve read much better by this author, but this was okay, a bit of fun, off-putting, with a decent payoff in visuals and eventual unravel.

***

 

Day 249 Sep 4, 2019

FIRST PERSON SHOOTER by Wrath James White

Cemetery Dance Issue #77 – 2019

Horror – 6 Pages

I was a bit excited to get to this one. I’d heard of this author, but had never read any of his stuff. The story idea is okay, though well-trodden and obvious. Man oh man, the dialogue is bad. It reiterates just explained or preambles the lines following. There’s spots were the characters are supposedly known to each other and known to G-town but talk like cable TV commercial scripts. For real: “Let’s go hang out at that pizza joint on the Ave, you know, the one with all the arcade games. Crazy Cal’s place?” Like, Hey, what’s the super cool place where all the super cool kids hang out with all the super cool games? Crazy Cal’s place! You know, located at 1234 Fake Street across from the library, open from noon to eleven, closed for holidays, phone number… Shit, all the way through was this forced, spelling out kind of dialogue. Hopefully this story was the equivalent to an off-day.

*

 

Day 250 Sep 5, 2019

MUDER IN TEN EASY STEPS by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Crime – 9 Pages

I called it crime because, at its base, it’s a hardboiled noir of a story, but it does involve demons watching out, like guardian angels, but demons. Anyway, the follow through is on point here. You’re counting down a bit as you go, wondering when the main guy will get to the point when he’s learned enough about violence to murder. Fun conclusion. Engaging story. Fully accessible in its fantastical elements.

****

 

Day 251 Sep 6, 2019

EATING THE SUN by Beth Goder

Flash Fiction Online – 2019

Fantasy – 2 Pages (about, digital)

So a god wants to eat the sun, despite that it might be taking eventual life, but halfway through changes her mind and uses the sun instead. I guess this is about feelings or something—can’t help it, mostly a bit foreign to me.

**

 

Day 252 Sep 7, 2019

SECOND CHANCES by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014

Horror – 9 Pages

This freaky little tale is about loss, grief, and that moment in all the genetic engineering movies ever made where the scientist loses their mind and loves the fresh new mutant. Cue a happy montage followed by blood and attempts at control. Of course this one ceases before it ever gets to that, choose your own future terror.

****

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