Daily Short Story Diary - Week 47

November 23, 2019

Day 322 Nov 17, 2019

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY by Richard Matheson

The Incredible Shrinking Man – 1994 (story originally published in Playboy, 1970)

Horror – 3 Pages

Apparently Voodoo dolls aren’t a real practice in any Voodoo, but instead are a British thing, but I only learned that recently and Richard Matheson wrote this story way before Google. It’s a fun little tale, one of those evil smirk kind of stories. Obvious, but held attention thanks to a great pace. Another nice thing, given its age, he didn’t default to white male, and described skin tone rather than saying the black barber and the black manicurist.

****

 

Day 323 Nov 18, 2019

THE LAST NIGHT OF THE WORLD by Ray Bradbury

The stories of Ray Bradbury – 1980 (story originally published in The Illustrated Man, 1951)

Horror – 3 Pages

Accidental re-read, but it’s been many years. This story is ominous as hell and the way the people react to the end of the world is the reason, not the end itself. Fucking chilling how cold and unbothered they are.

****

 

Day 324 Nov 19, 2019

ART LESSON by Judy Budnitz

Flying Leap – 1998

General – 6 Pages

Concise, active writing is always welcome, and this is exemplary, but what makes this author’s stories are the oddities mashed against the everyday. She so fully and simply describes a scene and once you’re in place, she exploits your sense of comfort with change and disquiet. So good.

*****

 

Day 325 Nov 20, 2019

DOLLHOUSE by Adam Troy-Castro

Nightmare Magazine – 2019

Horror – 5 Pages (about, digital)

At no time was I settled into this one, meaning it was impossible to unsettle. Nothing that happened to the characters mattered because they were one-dimensional. Totally lacked any sense of humanity, humanity necessary to care about the characters. At least it was short and put together well enough. And free to read.

**

 

Day 326 Nov 21, 2019

WINGS by Jessica Brown

Best New Zombie Tales – 2010

Horror – 5 Pages (about, digital)

This one has a fun twist to the zombie trope, despite that it’s pretty well mapped at the start and carried on a straight line through to the end. Still, fun. A nice change and definitely compelling enough to carry the story from beginning to end.

****

 

Day 327 Nov 22, 2019

SHINE LIKE THE SEA’S DEEPEST SECRETS by Kathryn McMahon

Pirates &Ghosts Short Stories – 2017

Fantasy – 10 Pages

I’ve enjoyed this author’s work in the past, but this one was rambling and confusing. And repetitive. It relied on the telling of an emotion; over and over, the lead is sad and in sadness must sadly take retribution on their father for making them sad.

**

 

Day 328 Nov 23, 2019

NIGHT LAUGHTER by Ellen Kushner

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women – 2001

Horror – 6 Pages

That was a fun one. Textured and atmospheric, a vampire takes her prey, but she wants it a specific way, in a good headspace. It touches on the trouble and mental health aspects of the long-run in a way that most vampire stories don’t bother with…I mean, living forever sounds fucking boring, so little games make sense, becoming a wino, maybe, makes a little sense too. Packed a few layers in this wee tale.

****

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