Short stories are important. For readers and writers. The “short” part allows for risk taking and experimentation. It allows both the writer and the reader to try something new with a much smaller investment in time. On the writer’s end, it has the additional benefit of being a great way to learn. The act of finishing a story, feeling that, doing it over and over is very important.
As a reader, short stories are valuable to me because I get to experience a greater diversity of worlds, ideas, writers, and styles. They let me dip briefly into another world and get back to my day. A well-crafted short story can be very satisfying and the “short” nature lets you experience more.
As a writer, short stories are important to me because they are a great way to play and learn and grow. They let me take chances, try different things, and experiment.
When I started out, I was only going to write short stories for a good long while. My first novel, Shuffled Off, was a complete accident. The story kept growing, so I kept writing, and it grew into a novel–and terrified me in the process, I didn’t think I was ready. To this day, many of my novels are kind of accidental–the stories just get too long (and yes, this is the happy sort of accident).
Enough rumination, let’s get to March’s stories!
Stories read in March: 42
Words read in March: about 165,000
Stories read this year, so far: 116
Words read this year, so far: 367,000
OMG I So Love These Stories!
These are what I consider “must read” stories. As in you MUST read them! Now!
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Asimov’s Science Fiction, $2.99 per e-issue, approx 18,000 words
So this is not a short story, it’s a novella and much longer than the other stories I’ve read for this challenge. That said, it’s an engrossing story with only three characters and two locations and one rather thorny problem. It’s gripping and a master class in character development. Kris has won a lot of awards and rightly so.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to buy individual copies of Asimov’s, but on the plus side, it’s worth the subscription.
The Case of the Passionless Bees
Lightspeed Issue #49: Women Destroy Science Fiction, free, approx 5,600 words
A robotic steampunk version of Sherlock Holmes in a surprising mystery. Enough said, because if that doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will.
Ghosts of Mars
Kevin J. Anderson
Daily Science Fiction, free, approx 1,000 words
This is a lovely ode to the power of human imagination, our eternal need to explore, and how fiction plays a role in that.
By the Mother’s Trunk
Lisa M. Bradley
Fireside Fiction, free, approx 1,900 words
This is a short piece of historical fiction told from the point of view of an elephant. Very unique and very well done.
Other Stories I Love
I love these stories too, just with a bit less passion. It’s okay, I can love some stories more than others.
The Ball Busters Summer Club
Fiction River: Justice: An Original Anthology Magazine, $6.99 for the anthology ebook, approx 6,000 words
I’m a sucker for stories about kids on bikes having adventures, getting in over their heads, and trying to make the world a better place.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Flash Fiction Online, free, approx 1,000 words
This is a gorgeous, atmospheric piece of flash fiction about two teenage girls thinking and talking about the future
Hopefully this isn’t unseemly, but I had two stories land in March, and I do love them, so here they are!
The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes
Robert J. McCarter
The Saturday Evening Post, free, approx 2,500 words
I wrote this one last year during my short story marathon last year. The story is about a middle-aged woman going through some very difficult times when she notices something special about Hoshi, the Korean woman that does her nails (more about this one over here)
The Kraken’s Story
Robert J. McCarter
Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath, $6.99 for anthology, approx 5,000 words
This story takes a monster’s eye view of an ancient conflict, the story is told from the point of view of a young Kraken (more about it and a sample of the story here).
If you are interested in more frequent updates about the stories I love, I’m posting some of the free ones throughout the month over on my facebook group.