August 9, 2018

Stories I Love: July 2018

Time has a way of changing the game on you. My initial goal for this challenge was not to read a story every day, but to read 365 short stories this year (subtle difference). But, through July, I managed to not miss any days and to read at least one story a day (I can be a bit of an overachiever). But, that goal, was carefully worded to give me wiggle room that I am now finding myself needing.

I won’t go into details, but life has gotten tough and I am feeling the need to step away from my regular patterns and regroup. That doesn’t affect what happened in July (I read 41 stories), but for the rest of the year I expect my short story reading to get sporadic.

I am still aiming for that 365 goal. I will still post monthly if there are stories I love.

For now, on to July.


Stories read in July: 41

Words read in July: about 126,000

Stories read this year, so far: 263

Words read this year, so far: 850,000

OMG I So Love These Stories!

These are what I consider “must read” stories. As in you MUST read them! Now!

Last Gods
Sam J. Miller
Clarkesworld, free, approx 5,700 words
A dark and fierce examination of the good and terrible in all of us. This story takes a hard look at the comfort and harm of religion. As my personal life darkened, my taste in stories did too. This one is powerful.

The Plagerist
Hugh Howey
Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories, $2.99 for the ebook, approx 11,000 words
Hugh is a thoughtful writer and, from what I’ve observed of him online, a thoughtful human being. This collection has a lot of good stories, but this one I loved. I have a thing for exploring what’s real and what makes a life worth living (I write about this kind of thing a lot) and this story dives right in.

Luitenant Tightass
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Asimov’s Science Fiction, $2.99 per e-issue, approx 12,000 words
Ok, so Kris is an amazing writer. She writes these stories that seem simple and straightforward, but in the end hit home with their themes and are so immersive. This story from her Diving Universe is no exception as it follows Lieutenant “Coop” Cooper on an early mission as he learns important lessons on being too by the book.

Select Character
Hugh Howey
Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories, $2.99 for the ebook, approx 3,500 words
I loved the themes of this absorbing story. It’s simple, subtle, and takes on a lot of stereotypes.

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 Rock of Kansas
Eric Kent Edstrom
Fiction River: Wishes, $6.99 for the ebook, approx 6,100 words
In interest of full disclosure, Eric and I are Facebook friends and run in some of the same writing circles, and I was happy to finally read some of his stuff. This anthology takes on the concept of the power of wishes, and Eric’s sweet story about a homeless kid and the alien rock that grants wishes is delightful.

From the Clay of His Heart
John D. Brown
Deep Magic, August 2016, $2.99 for the ebook, approx 11,500 words
I’ve grabbed a couple of older issues of Deep Magic when they’ve been on sale and was delighted to ready this lovely fantasy tale about a woman and a golem.

My Stories

I’m excited to say that a collection of my stories came out in July: Anomalous Readings: Thirteen Curious and Confounding Tales. As part of that we’ve started a new series called Saturday Stories, that will feature a story of mine once a month, in full, but only for a week.

The first story was “Connor Bright and the Case of the Purple Unicorn.” The full week is over, but an excerpt remains.  Don’t miss the free one week window of the next one, sign up for my email newsletter, join my facebook group, or follow me on twitter.


I’ve done this in the past a bit, but will do it a bit more formally going forward:

Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories by Hugh Howey. There are a lot of fine and thoughtful stories in this collection and as of this writing, it’s on sale for $2.99 for the ebook.

Clarkesworld. It’s free online, why aren’t you reading it already? I will admit I don’t love all of these stories, but when they hit… wow! (And as an aside, find a way to pay for it if you can, writers getting paid and all. I subscribe to it on my Kindle).

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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