Day 343 Dec 8, 2019
AVERAGE JOE by Judy Budnitz
Flying Leap – 1998
General – 16 Pages
Meep moop, first middle of the road story in this otherwise incredible collection. It’s an absurdist tale about everybody needing this guy’s opinions because he’s so perfectly average. No great punchline, mostly it’s just one-upping who’s coming to dinner to ask questions. Funny at times and well written, but just didn’t have the big kick.
Day 344 Dec 9, 2019
MANTAGE by Richard Matheson
The Incredible Shrinking Man (story originally published in Science Fiction Showcase, 1959)
General – 20 Pages
This is a fun little experimental style tale. It’s a man’s life told like a movie montage. Every line becomes important as years pass between. It takes a bit to get into, but it’s a pretty fun idea and has a good finale blow.
Day 345 Dec 10, 2019
WHO ARE YOU? by Ryan C. Thomas
In Darkness Delight, Masters of Midnight – 2019
Horror – 18 Pages
The voice in this one was all over the place, like it was written with construction laborer’s lunch pail in one and a thesaurus in the other. Also, it was a bit overwritten, like adding the one unnecessary phrase onto the sentence…he sat getting wet as the rain overhead poured bucket loads from the sky (I made that up, but there was one overcooked sentence involving rain). As for the story, I liked the teeth people, but the ending where someone’s crazy is a bit like it was just a dream. It’s been done to hell.
Day 346 Dec 11, 2019
A DECOMPOSITION OF A CONVERSATION by Stephen Graham Jones
States of Grace – 2014
General – 3 Pages
Some fun imagery, great writing, but a little too much of nothing going on in this one to bump it to where SGJ’s stories usually sit for me.
Day 347 Dec 12, 2019
MOON, AND MEMORY, AND MUCHNESS by Katherine Vaz
Mad Hatters and March Hares – 2017
Crime – 20 Pages
This one’s a story about grief that sends a woman into a moment of insanity. The story really picked up there, but the pounding home that she was sad was excessive; felt as if it could’ve been trimmed five or so pages and still had the same impact. That said the characters were good, the dialogue was good, and the double bits of shock worked.
Day 348 Dec 13, 2019
FLIGHT by Judy Budnitz
Flying Leap – 1998 (story originally appeared in Story, 199?)
General – 3 Pages
This one whipped by, but packed a pretty good punch. I’m not exactly certain the complete underlying message, I am certain, however, that there was one. It had to do with the state of women in the world, today versus yesterday. It’s fun and strange and wonderfully quick.
Day 349 Dec 14, 2019
I ALWAYS GET THE CUTIES by John D. MacDonald
Tricks and Treats – 1976, 2019
Crime – 10 Pages
They called this one a howdunnit and that’s perfect. I’ve read a few howdunnits in my life, but this was the best one. Totally clever and fun, with a dash of irritating human repetition. The facts of the case were great. The follow through was fantastic. The finale was *chef’s kiss*