KeskusteluClub Read 2024

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joulukuu 17, 2023, 3:45 am

Last year I named this thread Short Stories And Microfiction, but then I learned that there are many different flavours of short fiction: short stories of course, microfiction, which is a subset of flash fiction, dribbles, drabbles and I'm sure I forgot some. This is the thread where we can discuss all of this in 2024.

Short novels (novellas, novelettes, are there other denominations?) are not to my mind short fiction, but who am I to judge if you want to discuss them here too ;-)

Welcome to the 2024 short fiction thread!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 27, 2023, 5:47 am

Will try to stop in from time to time. All my fiction is "short fiction" these days. Not sure there is much to say about the length of our choice, but I'll give it try :-)

"How Many Words Are in a Novel? Word Count by Genre & More
Word Count: Novel vs. Novella

Novel: 40,000+ words (though you're better off above 50,000 words)
Novella: 17,500-40,000 words.
Novelette: 7,500-20,000 words.
Short story: 1,000-10,000 words.
Flash fiction: 1-1,000 words."

tammikuu 1, 3:48 pm

I have been using Serial Reader to read some short stories. So far I have been wowed by three stories by Anton Chekhov: "The Darling", "The Bet", and "The Lady with a Dog".

tammikuu 3, 3:43 pm

Starting the year with a weird short story. I found this because several people here mentioned The Time Traveller’s Almanac, I went to look for it but didn't find a digital edition, but I found this instead. I think I missed a lot of references in this one, but I liked it.

Errata by Jeff VanderMeer

tammikuu 4, 6:29 am

Reading Paul Yoon's latest short fictionin The Hive and the Honey: Stories. His output is spare but oh, what great stuff.

tammikuu 4, 9:31 am

>5 avaland: I read a bit into that one for LJ's Best Short Stories, and really liked what I saw—I want to finish it at some point.

tammikuu 4, 12:03 pm

>4 FlorenceArt: It's weird that you weren't able to find a copy of The time traveller's almanac, I see it on kobo:

Maybe you were tricked (as was I) by the difference of US/UK spelling, traveller vs. traveler?

I'll have a look at Errata, this seems intriguing.

tammikuu 4, 1:24 pm

>7 chlorine: Oh great, thank you! I’ve been having difficulties with the search at Kobo, but in this case I may simply have used the French spelling almanach. Or maybe it’s the spelling of traveller as you say.

tammikuu 6, 9:06 am

>8 FlorenceArt: I used the French spelling also! I remember the trap of UK vs. US English from when I bought the book and I was careful to do two searches, one for "Time traveler's almanach" and the other for "Time traveller's almanach". I wasn't finding anything and I headed back to Calibre to see in which format I had purchased the book and notice that almanac is not spellt as I thought in English! :D

tammikuu 10, 6:53 pm

My first 2 2024 books fit here: Stand-in Companion is about 6K words and The Sixth Day and Other Stories contains 23 stories. Reviews in the works and in my thread.

>2 avaland: I tend to use the 7.5K/17K/40K split (the way the Hugos do it) simply because this was the only one that ever made sense to me and is unambiguous (as long as you stay in English anyway), with 1K for micro and flash fiction if I want to cut it even more. But your overlapping categories work as well - and 10K is a common place to cut the short stories in the literary world it seems.

tammikuu 10, 8:50 pm

>4 FlorenceArt: I like the authors work very much and love time travel; I was able to get it on kindle, so it must be out there somewhere!

Per my usual start of the year, I have best american short stories and best american science fiction, I suspect Ill find something interesting as I read to share with you all!

tammikuu 11, 12:25 am

I’m looking forward to the recently published Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I have it on hold at NYPL - 14 week wait.

tammikuu 11, 8:21 am

>11 cindydavid4: I'm part-way through the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019, myself. I'm reading it as a between book, a la rocketjk, so it'll be a while before I finish.

I originally planned on saving all of my individual story reviews for when I was finished and ready to review the volume as a whole, but I think I'll post my story reviews here as I go, too. Then, when I'm done, I'll put them all in one post on my thread to go with the volume review.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 8:55 am

yeah it will be a while for me too! and that how I review as well lots easier .

ETA oh thought you were talking about the 2024 edition; I might just have the 2019, will have to look,

tammikuu 11, 10:17 am

I’m having difficulties keeping track of the short stories I read, I have quite a few books under way, plus the ones I read online…

Roman Stories has come up several times around here, it sounds interesting.

tammikuu 11, 12:25 pm

"Pitcher Plant" by Adam-Troy Castro: 4 stars. 2nd person worked really well for me. I realized what was going on fairly early – as I suspect that readers are meant to do – and that only enhanced my enjoyment. Reminded me a little of volume 1 of The Sandman. Weird but in a good way. I enjoyed it.

"What Everyone Knows" by Seanan McGuire: 3.5 stars. well written, but not my particular subgenre.

"The Storyteller’s Replacement" by N. K. Jemisin: 3.5 stars. great up until the end with the second bit of the frame narrative. Not sure why the storyteller’s replacement was having sex with their audience. Not sure why the audience was only one person. I had assumed a group setting. Would have worked better for me without the second part of the frame. I liked the folktale vibe.

"Poor Unfortunate Fools" by Silvia Park: 3.5 stars. The ending is too ambiguous for me me. Interesting. Love all the color detail and the in-universe document with footnotes format.

"Six Hangings in the Land of Unkillable Women" by Theodore McCombs: 4 stars. Intriguing concept. Great characterization and prose. Made me think. Ending felt right.

"Hard Mary" by Sofia Samatar: 4 stars. Very readable prose. I like the use of language, especially in regard to sensory detail, description, and metaphor. The way that Samatar conveys culture and character through dialogue is impressive, as well. More tension than I’d personally prefer right now, but Samatar handles it expertly. I’m not sure I completely get it, but it definitely made me think, and I enjoyed the reading process, so 4 stars.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 8:55 am

>16 Julie_in_the_Library: Love Jemisin! is that a short story or part of a new novel? I read city we becameloved it been meaning to read the sequel (tho I think Im two behind!)

ETA misread the date of the collection. nvm

tammikuu 12, 8:24 am

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 8:56 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

tammikuu 12, 12:11 pm

>17 cindydavid4: If you like N. K. Jemisin, by the way, you should try her Broken Earth trilogy. It absolutely blew me away.

It also occurs to me now, re "The Storyteller's Replacement," that there might have been a Scheherazade connection that I didn't pick up on, which would explain the bit at the end.

tammikuu 12, 12:58 pm

>20 Julie_in_the_Library: oh yes that was my first read of hers and indeed blew me away. What an incredible master work. I did try to read her Inheritance trilogy but didn't get far, may have try again later. just realized I did read storytellers replacement, and recognized it in her dreamblood duology which was quite exceptional and and an introduction into the killing moon

also in that same collection, there is a short story that is the base of Broken earth

and finaly speaking of short stories, you must read her collection How Long 'Til Black Future Month? which has more excellent pieces as well. Happy reading!

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 12, 9:52 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

tammikuu 18, 7:28 am

Did any of you read the Machine of Death stories that came out in 2010? It was a contest of sorts. People were invited to submit a story all containing a machine that could predict how someone would die. The stories were published online and later collected into books. The stories ranged widely in plot, style, and level of writing, but some were fascinating.

Premise from Wikipedia: "All of the stories featured in Machine of Death center around a device which, when provided with a blood sample, can identify the way a person will die. The machine relays this information by printing a short word or phrase, which serves as the title of each story, on a small card. The machine is never wrong, but often vague or cryptic."

I listened to the stories on the Machine of Death podcast. The stories were read by the authors, not professionals, but I thought they were interesting.

tammikuu 18, 7:52 am

>23 labfs39: Oh that is interesting! I hadn't heard of that before. Thanks for sharing!

tammikuu 18, 2:15 pm

>23 labfs39: I loved those books!

tammikuu 18, 3:43 pm

>23 labfs39: That sounds familiar.

tammikuu 22, 5:36 pm

Two more reviews from 2019's Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy:

"Variations on a Theme from Turandot" by Ada Hoffmann: 4.5 stars. I loved it. I loved how meta it is. I loved the themes of stories and choice and agency. I loved the format. The prose is very well written. Absolutely beautiful.

"Through the Flash" by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: 4.5 stars. I was sucked in from the very beginning. Highly readable prose. Definite narrative transport. Beautiful. Loved the ending. Breathtaking. Interesting parallels with the last book I read, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle → time loops, the ways that they effect the people in them, what people do and become on a day with no consequences. That there are, in fact, consequences. Also, a more communal take on the usual time-loop narrative, which is very individual.

tammikuu 23, 4:29 am

>27 Julie_in_the_Library: These two sound great. I have the 2017 edition of this series, haven’t started reading it yet.

tammikuu 23, 8:00 am

>28 FlorenceArt: They were excellent. So far, every story I've read in this collection has been at the very least good, and most of them have been very good. I'm impressed, and looking forward to the 2023 edition, which is on deck for when I finish the 2019. (I shouldn't be surprised, I supposed, given that the whole premise is that these are the best of the best for each year, rather than themed or author-based collections, but still).

I'm interested to hear about the 2017 edition when you get to it.

tammikuu 23, 4:40 pm

Finished The Hive and the Honey: Stories by Paul Yoon. Another excellent (slim) collection. I have Paui Yoon's four previous collections -- such excellent stories and he writes with empathy for his characters... (similar to Claire Keegen in that respect).

tammikuu 23, 6:40 pm

Dearborn is a short story collection by Ghassan Zeineddine that is phenomenal -- all the stories are centered on the Arab American community in that city and there's not a single weak story in the collection.

>27 Julie_in_the_Library: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's debut story collection, Friday Black, is superlatively good.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 3:35 pm

I am so excited to finally get a stroke of the pen for my birthday and loving these stories. my fav so far is the fossil beach, this will be fun reading

tammikuu 24, 8:09 am

>31 RidgewayGirl: I had already added it to my tbr on the strength of that one story alone. It is, in fact, from Friday Black, according to my anthology.

>32 cindydavid4: First of all, I didn't know about that collection, and now I am very interested. Second of all, your touchstone for "The Fossil Beach" goes to an unrelated police procedural, just fyi. A lot of short stories aren't in LT as their own works.

tammikuu 24, 3:35 pm

I am so excited to finally get a stroke of the pen for my birthday and loving these stories. my fav so far is the fossil beach, by terry pratchett. this will be fun reading

tammikuu 24, 3:35 pm

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 26, 3:14 pm

Terry Pratchetts' new' collection of stories a stroke of the pen were good; certainly shows the beginnings of his talent, dry humor, fun plots and unusal characters, but none of the really grabbed me, tho I got a good chuckle from "wanted a fat jolly man in a red wooly hat" and" how scrooge saw the spectral light and went happily back to humbug" But the origial story that started the search "the quest for the key" is my fav Loved the forward by Neil Gaiman and the intro by Colin Smith with background of how the stories were discovered.
well worth reading if you are a fan

tammikuu 26, 8:13 pm

I liked the machine of death stories! I still think about them from time to time.

Good idea to post reviews of short stories as you get to them rather than waiting to finish the whole book - I might steal that idea!

tammikuu 30, 1:32 pm

>27 Julie_in_the_Library: I'm not surprised that this is a strong collection—the editor, Carmen Maria Machado, is such an outside-the-box literary fiction writer, so I'd expect it to be good. I don't have that one, but my library does—I'll check it out.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 6:59 pm

What do people think of Lydia Davis? I keep reading that she is the master of the short form.

helmikuu 1, 1:21 pm

>39 dianeham: I’ve been reading through a collection of hers. I like it, though I wouldn’t call it riveting. They are mostly very short, it’s a form I like.

helmikuu 3, 10:49 am

Why Don't We Just Kill the Kid In the Omelas Hole by Isabel J. Kim at Clarke's World Magazine: 4 stars

I happened to see a post linking to this story on social media, so I clicked and gave it a read. I'm glad that I did.

This story is, as the title signals, a response - or perhaps more accurately a continuation of, or a riff on - Ursula K. Le Guin's 1793 original, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." Without having read the original, this story would be not just meaningless, but incomprehensible. This is not a weakness of Kim's story; it is just an inescapable fact. This story is, inherently, intertextual.

I like that sort of thing, so that wasn't a problem for me. But if that's offputting for you, you're going to have trouble with this one.

The story kept my attention from start to finish. The length was just right, not too long or too short. Kim nails the cadence and narrative voice of the original, while also situating the world of Omelas in the world we live in today. Like Le Guin, she poses lots of questions and provides no easy answers. This is a story designed to make you think, and it does that job well.

There are, as in the original, no individual characters with names and backstories. The plot is loose and open ended. This is very much philosophical fiction, and as such, it's much more concerned with the questions it's raising than the specifics of the narrative it uses to frame them.

Why Don't We Just Kill the Kid In the Omelas Hole is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but it does what it sets out to do very well, indeed. I enjoyed reading it, and I'm still thinking about it days later. 4 stars.

helmikuu 3, 10:59 am

N K Jemison has a similar riff on the Omela story in her collection How long 'til black future month "the ones who stay to fight" which i liked quite a lot.

helmikuu 3, 11:03 am

>41 Julie_in_the_Library: Sounds interesting! I read LeGuin’s story only recently. I think I will read this one.

helmikuu 3, 11:06 am

>42 cindydavid4: Omelas is something of a staple in (certain sections of) the speculative fiction world - and a staple of quite a lot of curricula at the high school and college level, at least in the US - so there's a fair number of stories riffing on it. I'll be interested to see Jemisin's take when I get to it - as I'm sure I will eventually.

>43 FlorenceArt: I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

helmikuu 3, 3:28 pm

>44 Julie_in_the_Library: "a fair number of stories riffing on it"

Sounds like a great idea for an anthology.

helmikuu 3, 3:32 pm

>41 Julie_in_the_Library: Should one be _very_ familiar with the original Le Guin story before reading the Kim one? I read the Le Guin story but only remember the outline, would that be enough to tackle the Kim story?

helmikuu 3, 5:36 pm

For those who are interested, the Le Guin story is available online at for free. It's only four pages, so quick enough reading. (I think it's complete.)

helmikuu 3, 6:23 pm

Here’s a link to the N.K. Jemisin story that Cindy mentioned.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 3, 8:32 pm

thx diane I reread it and still am amazed at how wonderful it is, esp when you know the story of the Omalas

helmikuu 4, 5:08 am

Since I am the one going on and on about podcasts, here's some recommendations for podcasts that have audio narrations of short stories.

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast: This has authors published in the New Yorker, choosing, reading out, and commenting on a short story previously published in The New Yorker by another author. The quality varies: not all writers are good at speaking, or narrating, but sometimes it can be very good. I recently listened to and enjoyed a story by Colm Toibin read by Hisham Matar, and one by Margaret Atwood reading Alice Munro.

Levar Burton Reads: Actor Levar Burton has a huge catalogue of mostly sci-fi fiction that he chooses and reads aloud. He's an excellent narrator, and will add a few comments of his own at the end of the story. Some of the stories mentioned on this thread have appeared on his podcast. He recently did Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu which was very good.

Selected Shorts: These are audio recordings of live performances of short stories by actors, hosted by the writer Meg Wolitzer. There's usually several stories, each narrated by a different person. They recently did a Ray Bradbury special with Neil Gaiman, who introduced three short stories by Bradbury, performed by actors: There Will Come Soft Rains,” read by Yetide Badaki; “The Fog Horn,” read by Javier Muñoz, and “Embroidery,” read by Kirsten Vangsness

helmikuu 4, 11:17 am

>50 rv1988: Since I've stalled in my audiobook listening, I wonder if I should try some podcasts? Perhaps a shorter form would work better and help train my listening ability. Thanks for the recommendations, they all look interesting.

helmikuu 5, 2:47 am

>51 labfs39: I like these, because it works well when I have less time to give (an audiobook is a whole commitment). Also, sorry, I just realised I wrote 'sci fi fiction'.

helmikuu 5, 7:53 am

>52 rv1988: Since I only listen sporadically, usually when I happen to be in the car alone which is rare, I think podcasts might work well for me. I subscribed to all three and will dabble next time I have the opportunity. I used to listen to Books on the Nightstand and a couple of others that were about books, not works in and of themselves.

helmikuu 5, 8:02 am

Podcasts are great! I have tons that I love if anyone is ever looking for recs.

>46 chlorine: I think remembering the premise and basic idea is enough.

>45 KeithChaffee: It would be a great premise for an anothology. Not all of the riffs I've encountered are officially published works, but I'd guess there are enough that are to put together an anothology, if all the authors agreed.

helmikuu 5, 8:07 am

This member has been suspended from the site.

helmikuu 5, 8:45 am

>54 Julie_in_the_Library: If you wanted to make a list, Julie, I would certainly bookmark it for future reference.

helmikuu 7, 12:27 pm

>54 Julie_in_the_Library: That's good to know about the Kim story, thanks! I'll get to it at some point, but not right now, because:

I'm reading the finalists for Clarkesworld magazine to be able to vote. The novelettes are out of the topic of this thread so I won't mention them, but the first short story I read, Better living through algorithms by Naomi Kritzer was really good!

It's about a phone app that goes viral whose advertised goal is to make users happy. The story was original and very well written.

helmikuu 10, 2:08 am

I have read two other of the Clarkesworld short story finalists and they seem to be all better than each other.
The Mub by Thomas Ha was a really good, disquiting story reminiscent of older fantastic stories, and Zeta-Epsilon by Isabel J. Kim was a gem that is difficult to describe without spoiling because the way the construction is original and reveals the story in a very interesting way. It's about spaceships and AI and free will and ethics but also so more than that.

Some people in my online circles have been raving about Isabel J. Kim as the new emerging talent to follow in SFF short stories. I had read one of her stories, The Narrative Implications of your untimely Death, and was not swept away. Now with this story I finally understand what the fuss is about.

helmikuu 10, 7:36 am

>58 chlorine: Ooh, adding those to my TBR! (By which I mean opening them in tabs to sit on my laptop until I remember to get to them...)

helmikuu 10, 10:41 am

reading Kate Atkinsons collection of shorts normal rules dont apply. The first story, the void started out good, a touch of sci fi , but then it ended and I am not sure what the point of it was. Read the second one, another downer. Not sure whats going on, I have always loved her work but she seems to have taken a different turn now

helmikuu 10, 1:38 pm

>58 chlorine: Thanks for the links! I have saved them to my pocket account so they should be available on my Kobo. Now all I have to do is read them……….

helmikuu 10, 2:25 pm

>59 Julie_in_the_Library: >61 FlorenceArt: If either of you have an ebook reader (obviously Florence does :), are you aware of the dotepub browser extension? It transforms a webpage into an epub (or kindle ebook) that you can then upload to your reader. It is smart about it as well by removing the clutter like things that are in the side bar etc. and focusing on the main text.

helmikuu 10, 6:31 pm

>62 chlorine: Thanks! I just tried dotepub with a short story and it worked like a charm. Great tool

helmikuu 11, 1:46 am

>63 labfs39: Glad it worked well for you! There's also another extension called epubPress that will convert several pages opened in different tabs in a single epub.

helmikuu 11, 9:54 am

>62 chlorine: I didn't know about that. Thanks! I don't have an ereader, but it's still good to know.

helmikuu 11, 10:10 am

>64 chlorine: Thanks, I'll note it. I'm still fairly new to e-readers, only having taken the plunge last year.

helmikuu 11, 12:03 pm

>62 chlorine: Thanks! My preferred method to get articles on my reader is via Pocket (IMO the main selling point for the Kobo, apart from the fact that it’s not Amazon), but that doesn’t always work, so it’s good to have an alternative.

helmikuu 11, 12:14 pm

>67 FlorenceArt: This sounds like a good selling point for kobo indeed. :)

helmikuu 13, 9:30 am

I've read three short stories so far this year: Jokester by Isaac Asimov, an excerpt from The Song of Roland (55 pages), and The Jilting of Granny Weatherall by Katherine Anne Porter. I found Jokester on the Internet Archive - another good source for short stories.

helmikuu 16, 12:44 am

The Paris Review has unpaywalled a story by Junichiro Tanizaki titled The Victim, translated by Ivan Morris, and also released an audio reading of the story by actor George Takei. I took the opportunity to re-read it, and am dropping the links here for anyone else who wants to.

helmikuu 17, 7:38 am

This might be interesting to some.
I don't understand the website Rocket Stack Rank well yet, but they seem to propose lists of short stories while keeping track of which stories have been recommended by various reviewers.
Here is a list that is the compilation of the Locus 2023 recommended reading list as well as Rocket Stack Ranks's most recommanded stories:

The stories highlighted in yellow are the ones that are freely available online. From what I understand the stories are given points if they are recommended by different sources, and the stories in the list are ranked by decreasing total number of points.

helmikuu 17, 11:36 am

>60 cindydavid4: I really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s earlier novels, but went off her last one about the nightclub people. She was riding on a wave that has flattened.

helmikuu 17, 6:21 pm

>71 chlorine: well, I’m intrigued looking at the site, but a bit overwhelmed too.

helmikuu 18, 8:56 am

>73 dchaikin: On top of the complexity of the site and ranking system, what I feel overwhelmed by is that the commentary says the list contains 245 stories by 208 authors. I have started reading many more short stories since a year or so in the hope of becoming somewhat well read in the speculative fiction short fiction scene, but these numbers show that the quantity of works is so huge that my goal seems hopeless.
This being said, since I started keeping track of the stories I read last April, I read 228 short stories by 146 different authors, which seems enormous to me. But I really don't feel like I have any command of the field.

helmikuu 18, 9:07 am

>74 chlorine: You might want to start with a series like the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and other award lists. That'll give you a nice survey of high quality stories, enough to at least break into the field a little more, and give you an idea of trends, topics, etc.

helmikuu 19, 7:33 am

>75 Julie_in_the_Library: I do read Best of the Year anthologies. :) I was planning to buy Neil Clarke's for 2023. They are indeed a good starting point but I think the numbers simply show that at my reading rate I just can't hope to have a broad view of the field.
I think I'll focus on following editors I like in the future.I really wish Strahan's Best of the year antholgogies had kept coming out. I really loved the two I read.

helmikuu 19, 8:15 am

>76 chlorine: That's fair. I'd also say that speculative fiction is a very, very broad category. Keeping a wide-lens view of the entire spec fic short story world, even just in English, or just in America, might be a task too big for anyone who wants to also pursue other reading.

The Letters Regarding Jeeves book club has started with "Jeeves Takes Charge," from 1916. I thought that it was fine, but not actually funny. 3 stars. Hopefully, they get better. Though given the reactions of others doing the group read, this may be a problem of audience, rather than text, so to speak.

helmikuu 26, 10:04 am

>70 rv1988: Thanks to Rasdhar, I read "The Victim" by Junichiro Tanizaki, which has some interesting connotations about women reclaiming power. And thanks to Avatiakh, I read a graphic adaptation of a short story by Giacomo Debenedetti called Rome 16 October 1943. The adaptation is by Sarah Laing. It's about the roundup of Italian Jews in Rome on that date. Very moving.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 4:20 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

helmikuu 26, 4:20 pm

Oops, wrong thread!

helmikuu 26, 5:28 pm

"Oops, wrong thread!" look a micro story!

helmikuu 27, 3:13 am


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 11:39 am

I read Obasute, by Yasushi Inoue last Saturday. It's in the collection The Izu Dancer and other Stories. The writing is spare, stripped of excessive description. I suppose it could be a story about people who want out of their lives, and includes a couple of examples from the narrator's family who have left what would be considered successful lives for new lives that aren't really successful, but where they have more freedom to be themselves. On the surface, it's about a man's obsession with an ancient Japanese legend where people who reach the age of 70 are taken to a mountain, Obasute, and abandoned. Overall, the story evokes a feeling of loneliness and abandonment.

I want to point out that the short story collection in this case has only one story, the Izu Dancer, by Kawabata, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. The other three stories are by Inoue, who was a prominent Japanese writer, but not well known outside of Japan. I purchased the book in 1974 in Japan.

helmikuu 27, 10:03 pm

>83 janoorani24: how interesting. Also, you’ve had that book 50 years! Wow.

helmikuu 27, 10:35 pm

>83 janoorani24: I’m reading Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata.

As far as short fiction goes - I am reading Samuel Johnson Is Indignant: Stories by Lydia Davis. First thing I’ve read by her. Liking it so far.

helmikuu 28, 9:00 am

>85 dianeham: I'm looking forward to your impressions of Thousand Cranes. I like Kawabata's writing.

helmikuu 28, 10:48 am

I read The Izu Dancer some years ago, after I visited the spa at Izu with Japanese friends. I think I felt a little disappointed by the story, though I don’t remember why. Maybe I was expecting too much.

A very long time ago I loved The Hunting Gun by Inoue. It’s probably more a novella than a short story though. Maybe I should revisit it.

helmikuu 29, 8:39 am

I finished Isaac Asimov's Gold - a collection of short stories, and essays that were unpublished at the time of his death. Some good ones there, including the titular story, Gold, which won him a Hugo Award.

maaliskuu 4, 8:16 am

I started reading the greatest stories of Edith Wharton last fall, but put it aside due to many books I needed to ready over the holidays. So this morning insomnia made me look for a diversion, happened upon it, and started reading though the morning. My goodness these are good . Includes his fathers son, the reckoning,the fullness of life, the descent of man. my favorite of all is a venitian nights entertainment Very fun reading.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 8:08 pm

I read one short story from The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel, Mama, Rimma, and Alla last week.

The story covers day in the life of a mother and her two daughters in Moscow. It's hard to be precise as to the time of the story, but it was first published in a Russian literary journal in 1916, and three of the characters are students, and no mention of the war is made, so I think it may be set sometime shortly before the start of the World War One. Hardly anything happens in this one short day, but there is still a lot of detail. The maid "had begun putting on airs and walked out," the electric bill came...two of three student borders announce they are leaving and want their rent money of the students is Polish, resents the mother, lusts after the older daughter...the father is a magistrate in faraway Kamchatka and powerless to assist. The two daughters have their own difficulties, the youngest is seventeen and loves someone who doesn't love her, and the oldest wants freedom from her mother.

The translation (by Peter Constantine) seems excellent to me. I got the sense of a largish, messy house with many rooms but no privacy. All of the words are perfectly placed and barren of excess emotion. I feel so sorry for this long ago imaginary family with their money woes, personal sorrows, and the father thousands of miles away.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 6, 9:10 pm

>90 janoorani24: The story sounds terrific

maaliskuu 6, 10:24 pm

>89 cindydavid4: never mind. Just read the introduction to the book and not only tells you wbat will happen in each story, she maked Edith a very sorrowful person which I dont think she isl I may come back to it, but for now reading four lost cities for the non fiction challenge theme this mont:forensics

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 8, 10:10 pm

dnf’d Samuel Johnson Is Indignant: Stories by Lydia Davis. I was very unimpressed and just didn’t want to read any more.

maaliskuu 8, 6:48 pm

>87 FlorenceArt: Lilisin and I just took the "Odoriko" (dancing girl) train down the Izu peninsula last month - there is a statue of the girl at the station where we got off (for a cherry blossom festival) and in the station, a shelf of copies of the book for you to borrow and post back when you are done.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 12, 9:24 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

maaliskuu 8, 9:25 pm

>94 wandering_star: that sounds like so much fun

maaliskuu 9, 9:25 am

>94 wandering_star: I love LT meetups! Even when I'm not there, it's fun to read about them.

maaliskuu 10, 9:41 pm

I see now why so many lovedladies lunch Loved these stories of close life long friends and their stories. I think my favorites Dandelion, Making Good When Lottie Lost Bessie and Ladies Zoom, but there is not a bad one in the bunch

So this my first experience with this writer, I see she has written some fiction and other work. can anyone suggest where I should start?

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 11:19 am

I like her sense of humor.
“She called Henry and said ‘can you remember exactly why we got divorced?’
You always think things can be explained exactly, said Henry.
Oh really she said. Is this one of those things I always think?
If you want to argue you’ll have to call back after I’ve had my coffee, said Henry.
Anything else I have to do? she said and hung up.”

I can’t find anything other than short stories by her in my library. I think Ladies’ Lunch is her most recent work.

maaliskuu 11, 8:10 am

I've also read two more Jeeves stories: "Extricating Young Gussie" from 1915, and "Leave it to Jeeves" from 1916.

"Extricating Young Gussie" by P.G. Wodehouse: 3 stars. fun enough, though not actually funny.

"Leave it to Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse: 3.5 stars. fun, entertaining, and enjoyable, though not laugh out loud funny

maaliskuu 11, 9:21 am

>99 kjuliff: That is funny!

maaliskuu 11, 10:34 am

>99 kjuliff: Lol, I can relate.

maaliskuu 11, 11:08 am

>99 kjuliff: yes that got me laughing; lots of similar relationship stuff I could relate to and smiled.

maaliskuu 17, 11:46 pm

Crossposting from the lists thread. Here are the novelettes and short stories longlisted for the 2023 Nebula Awards. With one exception, all are available online for free.

Best Novelette
A Short Biography of a Conscious Chair”, Renan Bernardo (Samovar 2/23)
I Am AI, Ai Jiang (Shortwave)
“The Year Without Sunshine”, Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny 11-12/23)
“Imagine: Purple-Haired Girl Shooting Down The Moon”, Angela Liu (Clarkesworld 6/23)
“Saturday’s Song”, Wole Talabi (Lightspeed 5/23)
“Six Versions of My Brother Found Under the Bridge”, Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny 9-10/23)

Best Short Story
“Once Upon a Time at The Oakmont”, P.A. Cornell (Fantasy 10/23)
“Tantie Merle and the Farmhand 4200”, R.S.A Garcia (Uncanny 7-8/23)
“Window Boy”, Thomas Ha (Clarkesworld 8/23)
“The Sound of Children Screaming”, Rachael K. Jones (Nightmare 10/23)
“Better Living Through Algorithms”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 5/23)
“Bad Doors”, John Wiswell (Uncanny 1-2/23)

maaliskuu 18, 7:28 am

Thank you for this. I will definitely try some.

maaliskuu 18, 8:00 am

>104 rv1988: Thanks for sharing.

maaliskuu 20, 5:01 pm

>104 rv1988: Thanks for the list!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 21, 9:02 am

Better Living Through Algorithms by Naomi Kritzer
I had this on my reader following a mention by Clémence/Chlorine I think, and was reminded of it when >104 rv1988: posted the longlist for the Nebula awards. I was a little disappointed. It's cute and very naive.

On The Fox Roads by Nghi Vo
I don't remember why this one was on my reader. I liked it. It's weird and poetic and rather moving. And weird.

maaliskuu 21, 7:51 am

>108 FlorenceArt: I loved On the Fox Roads when I read it.

maaliskuu 21, 8:27 pm

Congrats, Florence, this thread was called out by Tim in the State of the Thing!

maaliskuu 28, 6:09 pm

>2 avaland: Is there a table of how these work out into pages anywhere?

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 6:38 pm

>111 robnbrwn: That will depend on the publisher, the format of the book and how they handle spaces between chapters (and even for the same publisher, they change fonts and what's not).

So you can have a 15,000 words novelette taking 150 pages, a 60K words novel at 120 pages (especially the very old mass market paperbacks... but some modern POD renditions as well) and a 39K words novella taking 288 pages (all of those are actual books I had seen).

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 2, 10:37 am

>111 robnbrwn: roughly 280 words per page for fiction (with a wide variations)


Novel: 40,000+ words = roughly >140 chlorine: pages
Novella: 17,500-40,000 words. ~60 to 140 pages
Novelette: 7,500-20,000 words. ~25 to 70 pages
Short story: 1,000-10,000 words. ~3-35 pages
Flash fiction: 1-1,000 words. - less than 3 pages

huhtikuu 2, 11:21 pm

Levar Burton (the actor who hosted Reading Rainbow on PBS, for Americans here) has a podcast where he selects and reads out short fiction. Recently he read Percival Everett's story, 'The Appropriation of Cultures'. We've been talking about Everett on several threads, so here are some links.

Link to the story text (you need JSTOR access - your library might have it)

Link to the audio, read by Levar Burton
Apple podcasts
it's on Pandora too, but I don't have access to Pandora in my country

huhtikuu 17, 10:09 am

I read a strange short story by Balzac because it was mentioned in the catalog of the Gilles Aillaud exhibition I saw a few weeks ago. Une passion dans le désert (A Passion in the Desert) is the weird story of a passion between a soldier of Napoleon lost in the desert and… a leopard. I’m still not sure what to make of that ☺️

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 8, 6:34 pm

Have been reading Born Into This stories by Adam Thompson. The young author is an Aboriginal from Tasmania. The stories, which I'm enjoying, are about 6-8 pages, published in the US by Two Dollar Radio

toukokuu 5, 5:21 pm

>116 avaland: Ooh, that sounds really interesting, and I've never read anything from Tasmania.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 5, 6:17 pm

now reading The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF which have many interesting takes on time travel, one of my faves is the truth about weena a sequel to Well's time Machine others includeThe Catch by Kage Baker ,Time Gypsy by Ellen Klages,try and change the past by Fritz leiber and Red Letter Day by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. but my fav is Molly Brown - Women on the Brink of a Cataclysm a take on the SF meme of finding yourself while time traveling. written by a comedian, its interesting and hilarious. if you are in to the subject, think youd find this collection a good read

toukokuu 6, 11:30 am

>116 avaland: Born Into This does sound interesting (your touchstone is wrong btw). Unfortunately it’s not available as ebook, which is weird and frustrating as it seems to be a recent release.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 6, 11:54 am

>119 FlorenceArt: It is but not as a Kindle book - had to get it as a epub one and read it on my tablet instead. Or at least I managed to get it from the library as an ebook 2.5 years ago (in the University of Queensland Press edition - I wonder if the US edition did not cause this one to become unavailable).

toukokuu 6, 2:10 pm

>120 AnnieMod: OK, thanks, good to know there is probably an epub available somewhere, just not to me. Even the university of Queensland didn’t show me that option. I guess I could get it by using a VPN, if I’m ever motivated enough ☺️

toukokuu 6, 3:21 pm

>121 FlorenceArt: I just looked, it still can be borrowed from my library (as OverDrive Read or EPUB ebook). Not sure why the publisher site does not have it (anymore?) but if you have access to a US library, it may have it. And it looks like Two Dollar Radio also have an ebook:

Maybe try the US publisher site: ? Not sure what you will see from outside the States?

I suspect it is one of those copyright issues - they do not have distribution rights outside of certain areas... Worth reading if you decide to jump through some hoops to get it :)

toukokuu 6, 4:04 pm

>122 AnnieMod: I finally found it through a web search, on the Australian Kobo store,
and it turns out it’s available with my Kobo Plus subscription, even though I couldn’t find it on the French store. Kobo can be so frustrating sometimes. But well, I have it now though I’m not sure when I will get to it.

toukokuu 8, 6:36 pm

>119 FlorenceArt: Touchstone corrected!

toukokuu 23, 9:13 am

A quick, quirky and fun story from Reactor Mag (formerly
The Three O'Clock Dragon by John Wiswell.

kesäkuu 3, 4:30 am

Apparently May was National Short Story month in the US (who knew) so the website LitHub has recommended a whole bunch of short stories that are available online to read for free.

kesäkuu 3, 8:12 am

>126 rv1988: Thanks for sharing! And yeah, they need to publicize that more. April being National Poetry Month is fairly well known, I think, but I didn't even know we had a national short story month, let alone which month it is.

kesäkuu 4, 7:04 am

Now reading Kaleidoscope by Meenakshi Kumar. Short stories set in
India and themes (so far) which elucidate Indian culture .

Also dipping into Paul Yoon's stories in Run me to Earth. Yoon has been a favorite author....

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 7:30 am

new yorker has a short by Lore Segal beyond imagining (Touchstone wrong ) about a group of elderly woman who have lunched together for 50 years. about aging. really loved it. I recognized the name of the author, and looking at her work Im sure Ive read her before. she was born in 1928, still alive. Not sure if this is an old piece or something recently written, but I think I want to read some m ore by her

ETA oh duh just saw this Ladies' Lunch and other stories that I know I read and loved. Speaking of getting older....... Ill like to read more by her

kesäkuu 8, 10:16 am

I finished the Summer 2023 Short Fiction bundle.

The link above will take you to the Reactor Mag (’s new name) page with links to each of the stories.

“The Star-Bear” by Michael Swanwick
“After the Animal Flesh Beings” by Brian Evenson
“Ceffo” by Jonathan Carroll
“Detonation Boulevard” by Alastair Reynolds
“What It Means To Be A Car” James Patrick Kelly
“Headhunting” by Rich Larson
“The Three O’Clock Dragon” by John Wiswell
“The Job at the End of the World” by Ray Nayler

I’m afraid that I don’t have much to say about those, I’d say none of them was bad, but they didn’t leave a lasting impression.

kesäkuu 8, 1:55 pm

And while I was on the Reactor web site, I checked out the latest Judge Dee story. I quite like these.

Judge Dee and the Executioner of Epinal

kesäkuu 15, 11:03 am

Tous nos corps
Géorgui Gospodinov
Translated from Bulgarian to French by Marie Vrinat (no English translation?)

I downloaded this collection of very short stories (free with my kobo plus subscription) because I read several reviews of Time Shelter by the same author, but I was reluctant to commit to buying the book. I like the format of very short stories (between one and three pages), and I liked this book, but maybe not as much as I wanted to. Some of the stories were funny, although the humor didn’t always work for me. Some were poetic, and some left me indifferent. I bookmarked 8 out of 104, so not a huge success for me, but nice enough for short breaks while reading other books.

kesäkuu 15, 11:06 am

Here's a fun one (audio and written text):
Yo, Rapunzel!

kesäkuu 15, 12:14 pm

>133 FlorenceArt:
Thanks for the link. Liked that one!

kesäkuu 22, 1:06 am

>130 FlorenceArt: I usually quite like stories by Evenson and Swanwick. Too bad these ones didn't deliver for you

>131 FlorenceArt: I quite like the Judge Dee stories as well! I've only read four of them so far so I still have three that I keep for rainy days. :)

kesäkuu 22, 4:54 pm

Browsing through stories in various short fiction volumes ...some newer, some not...

We Live in water:Stories by Jess Walters
The Hive and the Honey by Paul Yoon
The Granta Book of the African Short Story ed. Helon Habila
Normal Rules Don't Apply, Short Stories by Kate Atkinson
When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson, ed Ellen Datlow
Butter Novellas, Stories, and Fragments by Gayl Jones

kesäkuu 23, 2:11 am

>136 avaland: Anything interesting in there? I have The Granta Book of African Short Stories but haven’t read from it yet. I’m not reading much from the collections I own right now.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 23, 2:49 am

The Tale of the Mother and the Hexed VCR

By Nika Murphy
Luna Station Quarterly (June 2023; issue 54)

Unfortunately this no longer seems to be available online. It was on my Pocket feed at the recommendation of Alex Brown in Must Read Short Speculative Fiction: June 2023.

This story was not at all what I expected. It was very unsettling in its depiction of the difficulties of motherhood. I can't really say I enjoyed it, but still it felt worth reading.

ETA: just found out that the magazine is available on Kobo Plus, so I downloaded it so it can join my other not-really-reading collections. It’s also available on Kindle but maybe not on the Kindle equivalent of Kobo Plus.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 23, 4:48 am

The Ultimate Safari
Nadine Gordimer
In 10 Years of the Caine Prize for African Writing

A story of refugees. I didn’t care much for the writing, the voice of the narrator (a little girl) felt fake. The story itself was moving and, sadly, very much relevant today.

kesäkuu 23, 4:58 am

I was really impressed by Without lungs or Limbs to Stay by Shauna O'Meara, featured in the anthology The Best science fiction of the year Volume 7 edited by Neil Clarke.

It's about a colony ship gone awry and beautifully written.

kesäkuu 23, 8:52 am

>139 FlorenceArt: I read that collection last year. My favorite stories were The Museum and "Love Poems".

kesäkuu 23, 9:02 am

>141 labfs39: I must have bought it after reading your review.

kesäkuu 23, 3:56 pm

I've been attempting to read from some of the short story and anthology collections I have. Some are collections by a single author, some are anthologies with a single theme, such as crime stories, some are writings from general anthologies such as World Masterpieces Since the Renaissance, etc. I set aside Fridays for reading shorter works, but don't always manage to find the time to finish on the day I start. Here is the first short story I read this year (January 24th):

Jokester by Isaac Asimov
Short Story, 14 pages
Original Language: English
Original Publication: 1956 (unknown for this edition)
Series: Multivac Stories
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Facsimile - read on Kindle - saved to Kindle from Internet Archive -- it had been sitting around on my Kindle for years.
Publisher: Infinity Science Fiction Magazine
Reading dates: 1/22/24 - 1/24/2024
Rating: 2.5 stars

Interesting concept, it could even be considered an early version of an artificial intelligence story. It's about a future Earth where a giant, world-encompassing computer, called Multivac, solves problems, "early in the history of Multivac, it had become apparent that there was one big bottleneck: the questioning procedure. Multivac could answer the problems of humanity, all the problems, if -- if it were asked meaningful questions. But as knowledge accumulated at an ever-faster rate, it became ever more difficult to locate those meaningful questions." So the world came up with the concept of Grand Masters, like chess Grand Masters, they possess a "rare type of intuition," and there are only twelve in the world.

The ending is creepy, and unusual for Asimov since it involves alien intelligence, and most of his stories don't since he didn't believe in the possibility of other intelligent life-forms in the galaxy.

kesäkuu 24, 9:48 am

>143 janoorani24: This sounds interesting, and also familiar.
I see that it was published in an Asimov collection published in French, and I probably read that back in high school when I was reading all the science-fiction I could find. :)

kesäkuu 24, 12:44 pm

I found the story Lena, by author qntm, really striking:

It's about the future usage of scanned brain images. I found it really original (though not quite believable). It's quite short so don't hesitate to give it a go!

kesäkuu 25, 4:37 pm

>145 chlorine: Very interesting indeed!

kesäkuu 28, 4:29 pm

We Will Teach You How to Read | We Will Teach You How to Read
Recommended by Alex Brown on Reactor Mag. I'm sure there is deep meaning in there, but it passed me by entirely. Maybe I should have read it in one go, it's not that long. But I interrupted my reading for no good reason, and when I took it up again I couldn't bring myself to be interested and skimmed rather than read to the end.

kesäkuu 29, 11:56 am

AITA for Using My Side Hustle to Help My Boyfriend Escape the Clutches of Death? by Aimee Picchi, available here

For once I read flash fiction and liked it. :)
For those who are not aware of AITA, it is a subreddit forum whose acronym stands for Am I the A**hole where people ask for opinion on situations in which they felt they acted right but were told they were jerks and are now wondering. You can find it here if interested.
I admit to being sometimes fascinated by the situations described.

kesäkuu 29, 1:30 pm

>148 chlorine: Excellent!

And this reminds me of this article I had on my Pocket feed and have now read 😉

Philosophers are studying Reddit's "Am I the Asshole?"

kesäkuu 29, 4:09 pm

The Magician and Laplace’s Demon
Tom Crosshill
In The Long List Anthology

Not sure what to think about this. It felt full of clichés about AI and quantum physics, but, thinking back, the treatment was different. More subtle. And the end is… deliciously ambiguous. So I like it more in retrospect than I did while reading.

kesäkuu 30, 4:11 am

>149 FlorenceArt: That article was so interesting!

Glad you liked the story. Aimee Picchi is an author I want to follow. I've loved her Notes to version of myself, Hidden in Symphonie Fantastique Scores Throughout the Multiverse that was published in Apex Magazine, then proceeded to read For Sale: One Unicorn Saddle, Mostly Disenchanted (which is available online and is quite short) which was not breathtaking but very cute and heartwarming and cleverly constructed.
I intend to keep reading the stories of hers that are easily available.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 6, 11:54 pm

oh my, I am reading table for two which is a collection of shorts. Without any spoilers I must direct you all to the story once you get to the book the ballad of timothy toulett Ill just say that it is pure genius. enjoy

ETA warning about reviews if you decide to check them out spoilers everywhere!

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 4, 9:34 pm

heinäkuu 5, 4:24 am

"Aishwarya Rai" by Sanjana Thakur
winner of the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

heinäkuu 6, 3:39 pm

Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by Xia Jia
In Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 96
From The Long List Anthology

A few short slices of ordinary lives set in a strange future where technology has even more power on people than it does today. I thought the writing felt a bit naive, or is it the translation? Or maybe it's because Chinese writing is so different from ours. It doesn't seem to follow the same rules. The author's note at the end clarifies what she was trying to do with this: show that whatever the technology is, people keep living "lives as meaningful as they're ordinary". This made me appreciate the story more.

Tänään, 8:47 pm

Finished table for two and liked it well enough. the novella wasnt as good but I can recommend the rest