amysisson's (belated) short story reading list for 2014

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amysisson's (belated) short story reading list for 2014

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Editado: Ago 26, 2014, 4:54 am

I can't believe I didn't remember to start a thread for this year. Better late than never, I guess!

1. "The Verger" by W. Somerset Maugham, in More Stories to Remember: Volume 1, stories selected by Thomas B. Costain and John Beecroft. Read on 8/25/14.

The actual story is copyright 1929. It's about a verger who is turned out of his church position of sixteen years standing when the new vicar learns that he cannot read or write.

Ago 26, 2014, 5:08 am

This is a lovely story. You can read it online at

Ago 26, 2014, 7:29 pm

>2 MarthaJeanne:

Thanks for the link!

Ago 27, 2014, 1:31 am

It sounded so interesting that I 'had' to read it, so I thought I would save others the search.

Editado: Ago 28, 2014, 2:36 pm

2. "Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They are Terrifying" by Alice Sola Kim. Read online in Tin House.

Interesting story, but I had some issues with the POV. It was deliberate and slightly experimental, but did not wholly work for me. This is about Korean-American adoptees who perform a spell to look for their birth mothers.

Although this link is current as of this posting, the generic URL means it may not lead to this same story later:

Set 8, 2014, 11:36 am

3. "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" by Claire Humphrey. Read online in Strange Horizons.

I was interested in the premise (parents starting putting "safekeepers" on teens' wrists to monitor their safety, but it ends up monitoring their behavior as well) but felt the story didn't really go anywhere.

Out 20, 2014, 11:42 am

4. "The Great Detective" by Sarah Brooks. Read online in Strange Horizons.

Lovely, atmospheric story about a young Japanese woman whose grandmother claims her powers of detection were given to her by an alien.

Out 20, 2014, 2:14 pm

>7 amysisson: Sarah Brooks' "The Great Detective"

A lovely story. The colourful ribbons put me in mind of the mysterious time travel "tunnels" in Donnie Darko, though they serve a different function.

I really liked how the story was told in snippets. Difficult to do, I imagine, but this story flows very smoothly despite the jump cuts across time and between different characters.

Nov 3, 2014, 2:10 am

5. "Letting Go" by Alex Shvartsman. Read online in Daily Science Fiction.

Lovely little story; great use of second person POV. Time travel/time dilation, both favorite SFnal topics of mine.

Nov 3, 2014, 10:14 am

Nov 3, 2014, 10:30 am

Ah, short but packs a punch. I'm terrible at forecasting endings so maybe it's obvious to other readers. Not to me.

In retrospect, the idea of combining both time travel and time dilation seems so obvious, but I've never read it combined that way before.

I also found the narrative voice effective. There's a distance to it that aligns with the emotional register of the character, as though we're the confidante of the time traveler. Nice touch.

Nov 3, 2014, 3:49 pm

>10 elenchus:
>11 elenchus:

Thanks for the link! I don't know why I never remember to post those.....

Yes, your comments on the story match my thoughts exactly! I didn't see it coming either.

Nov 6, 2014, 12:38 pm

6. Since these are so short, I'm only going to count them as one, but I just read the five winners of Apex's Halloween microfiction (max 250 words each) contest. There was one winner in each category: hellhounds, demons, banshees, sea monsters, and science experiments gone wrong:

"Stone Woman" by Robin Wyatt Dunn (Banshee)
"When a Crossroads is a Corner" by M.J. Starling (Hellhounds)
"Whispering Waters" by Jessica Walsh (Sea Monsters)
"The Fitzpatrick Solution" by Loreen Heneghan (Science Gone Wrong)
"Guided Breathing Exercise: Being Mindful of the Succubus in Your Bedroom" by Christine Purcell (Demons)

I liked the writing style of "Guided Breathing Exercise" and "Whispering Waters". The other three didn't work as well for me.

Issue table of contents with links here:

Nov 6, 2014, 1:18 pm

I liked the ideas at the core of each story, but actually liked the writing of "Crossroads" best. As one commenter posted, lots of secrets in that sparse prose.

Nov 24, 2014, 6:28 pm

7. End of the World Community College by Sandra McDonald. Read in the July/August 2014 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

This is a clever and humorous story about a community college that not only teaches survival skills after a series of apocalyptic events, it also pretty much rules the town.

Dez 5, 2014, 11:42 am

8. "The October Witch" by Francesca Forrest. Read in the Winter 2013 issue of Kaleidotrope.

Lovely atmospheric and dark folk tale story. I wish I'd read it in October!

Found here:

Dez 5, 2014, 11:43 am

8. "October Witch" by Francesca Forrest.

Lovely atmosphere and dark folk tale. Wish I'd read it in October!

Found here:

Dez 17, 2014, 7:42 pm

9. "Letter to the Editor" by David D. Levine. Read in a PDF e-book version of The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination.

This was a cute story written from the POV of a criminal mastermind, who explains that his years of work against Ultraman (read: Superman) were really meant to save the world, not to destroy the superhero.

Dez 18, 2014, 1:24 am

10. "A Sky Too Full of Stars" by Briane Pagel. Read online in Daily Science Fiction here:

I liked this quite a bit. It's extremely short -- under 300 words, in fact. But evocative. Not quite perfect in its word choice, but it appealed to me. It reminded me a bit of the novel The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

Dez 21, 2014, 1:16 am

11. "Midnights" by Rainbow Rowell, read in print in the anthology My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins.

(I'm going to be posting several of the stories from this book in a row, as I'm reading it through.)

This first story in the collection is by Rainbow Rowell, whose Fangirl and Eleanor & Park I loved. She certainly knows how to write teen/young adult characters! In this story, Mags (Margaret) is hiding out from Noel just before midnight on New Year's Eve, 2014. The story then jumps back to midnight on the same date in 2011, 2012, and 2013 before bringing us back to when we started in 2014. We see the evolution of Mags and Noel's relationship over the years. No surprises here, but very satisfying nonetheless.