Daily Short Story Diary - Week 42

October 19, 2019

Day 288 Oct 13, 2019

WHISPERS IN THE EAR OF A DREAMING APE by Joshua Chaplinsky

Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape – 2019 (story originally published in Pantheon, 2017)

General – 12 Pages (about, digital)

As with most other Chaplinsky stories I’ve read, this one relies on a jolting change in direction, like the punchline to a joke. Makes sense, as many of his stories are comedic. This one isn’t, it’s mostly serious with a side order of weird people. It’s quick, engaging, and well-written. That said, big hooks really nail me when the characters are realistic or at least have relatable qualities, and in the dance between having weirdly entertaining characters and boring people to death with everyday monotony, he mostly left out the humanity. Still enjoyable. Good pacing. Appreciate the lingering sentiment.

****

 

Day 289 Oct 14, 2019

WHOEVER WAS USING THIS BED by Raymond Carver

Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989

General – 18 Pages

Absolutely nothing happens in this story, it’s even a bit of a stretch for Carver how little happens. No wait, a telephone rings three separate sets and a couple sit in bed, smoking and talking about all the ways they’ll die—guess that’s something, though not really at all. The tone is paranoid and melodramatic. The people feel realistic to a point, but they just keep going and stay unnecessarily grave as a funeral despite a day passing.

***

 

Day 290 Oct 15, 2019

NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE by Joshua Chaplinsky

Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape – 2019 (story originally published in Dark Moon Digest, 2018)

Horror – 24 Pages (about, digital)

This was my favorite of the collection. It’s like if Stay Tuned met Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Outrageous and engrossing. Nasty, but not overly nasty in imagery. It’s pure horror fun, brimming with bad decisions and worse luck.

*****

 

Day 291 Oct 16, 2019

SKYLIGHT by Silvina Ocampo

The New Yorker – 2019

General – 2 Pages

This story was pretty redundant in structure, and not in a way that feels purposeful and with rhythm, for the first half anyway. A translation, so I guess that probably explains it. Story’s okay, nothing happens directly, demanding that all the foggy sights and sounds be wildly exaggerated and dramatic, which falls pretty much in line with a lot of so-called highbrow lit—mostly lost on a country ape like myself.

***

 

Day 292 Oct 18, 2019

SOME KIND OF WONDERLAND by Richard Bowes

Mad Hatters and March Hares – 2017

General – 17 Pages

This book is full of surprises. So far it’s been fantasy, mostly pretty goofball at that, but entertaining—given the subject matter, that’s befitting. This one’s none of that, it’s bleak but has heart. It’s about shooting a film and fifty years later the film’s having a resurgence. It’s full of texture and dimensional characters. The writing was accessible and the pacing was spot on. Stories that don’t stick to the linear telling, when done well, really do it for me. Excellent.

*****

 

Day 293 Oct 19, 2019

ME AND FLAPJACK AND THE MARTIANS by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Science Fiction – 8 Pages

This is a comedic little tale about a man telling the story of how his donkey saved the planet. Even writing that is giving away a joke that comes up about mid-way, but who’s reading these things anyhow? The story’s silly and fun and gave me a couple chuckles.

****

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