Daily Short Story Diary - Week 41

October 13, 2019

Day 281 Oct 6, 2019

UNION DUES by Gary Braunbeck

Borderlands 4 – 1994

Horror – 26 Pages

This one’s good and creepy, and fantastically layered. Labor as a destiny, man built to feed the machines, man accepting this to feed his family. This is the kind of story that might someday get lost to time as household paradigms have shifted and slaving to capitalism, trading life and happiness for a little piece of the atomic pie, has fallen out of popularity and even possibility. Great writing. Good layers. The ending was a little too subtle thanks to the visuals and buildup, and I guess the message. Still, quite good.

****

 

Day 282 Oct 7, 2019

TWICE AMPUTATET FOOT by Joshua Chaplinsky

Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape – 2019 (story originally published in Zetetic Record, 2015)

General – 10 Pages (about, digital)

This one’s strange and a wee bit funny. It unravels and the whole way it’s working toward what feels like it has to be a punchline. The punchline does come and lands pretty well, but you’re already feeling the what in the hell was that? by then. Quick and engaging.

****

 

Day 283 Oct 8, 2019

THE LITTLE LAMB by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Horror – 12 Pages

This is maybe a crime story, but the main character is going a bit Hitchcock-movie mad, so horror. The obsession in this one is palpable and all encompassing. The assertiveness of the main guy shows his will, long before the gun comes out, and that layer really added to the atmosphere. Great, accessible writing. The end was sort of obvious, but skewed enough to still offer the necessary thrill.

*****

 

Day 284 Oct 9, 2019

EARSHOT by Glenn Isaacson

Borderlands 4 – 1994

Horror – 4 Pages

The horror of the male gaze, then amplify it with an authoritative, professional relationship. These stories come up often, almost always written by men. A character fantasizes about a woman, belittling her to a value less than human, then raping her, then killing her, then eating her. There is a bunny in this story that leaves room for the fantastic and something different, but it’s a red herring and this is the same old same old.

**

 

Day 285 Oct 10, 2019

BOXES by Raymond Carver

Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989

General – 15 Pages

This is one of the previously uncollected shorts from this collection, and it doesn’t feel like filler exactly, or at least wouldn’t in somebody else’s collection, but it doesn’t harbor much of an impact. It’s fun though, these variably needy women around the sensitive, a-typical Carver-man. The man’s mother has packed and is ready to move, for months she’s had boxes sitting around, essentially waiting for her son to go with her. Good emotional scope and very, very realistic people.

****

 

Day 286 Oct 11, 2019

DOG DAYS by Judy Budnitz

Flying Leap – 1998 (story originally appeared in Paris Review, 1995)

General – 13 Pages

I don’t know that I’ve read a better apocalypse short story than that. Wow. Fantastic. The simple writing drags you in, at first all playful absurdity, but once you’re there, seriousness begins sinking teeth deeper and then blamo. What a finish. I am pretty excited about the rest of this collection.

*****

 

Day 287 Oct 12, 2019

THE CANNIBAL KING WANTS HIS DIN-DIN by Tom Robbins

Wild Ducks Flying Backward – 2005 (story originally published in The New York Times Magazine, 1986)

General – 4 Pages

Tom Robbins is like Kurt Vonnegut on mushrooms sometimes, other times, like this story, he’s pretty much a carbon copy, or at least brother from another mother. The story is fast, funny, and clever, in writing and storyline.

****

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