Recommended Reading – Short Fiction

Not that I’ve had all that much time for reading what with real life getting in the way of everything, but it’s probably a good idea to keep track of and share the work I loved reading lately, so here it is. Note: This list is woefully short and limited because of my sparse reading habits, so I’ve probably missed a library full of good fiction.


An Inventory of Ghosts by Natalia Theodoridou – Strange Horizons

This story is beautiful and well composed. I loved this piece and the language in it. On the note of ghosts and inventories, I’ve almost titled several pieces similarly, but they never came together. I always think it’s interesting to see how similar themes can result in such different end products between artists, writers, etc. I’m very interested in this idea of a history of ghosts, the origins of ghosts. And not the classical sense of ghosts, not the two dimensional supernatural myth. The word ghost has begun to mean something else, more reflective, more of self than of others. A ghost is less about the ones lost and more about the ones left behind, what imprints remain afterwards.

I also recommend The Ravens’ Sister in The Kenyon Review and The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul in Clarkesworld and actually, you should probably read all of her work.

Continue? Y/N by Kendra Fortmeyer – The Toast

I always love to see more video game fiction being published, and this was a wonderful short in that vein. As far as NPC’s go, I think there’s a lot of room to explore them in fiction (for more examples, see The Immersive Experience by Jacob Euteneuer in Cartridge Lit), but this was a very complete piece that reflected on both gaming culture, game mods, the real life people behind/in front of the game, and also the nature of existing within the confines of a intricately crafted world. Exploring, and breaking, the invisible walls of video games through fiction has always been very interesting to me, and this story addresses that idea in a way that feels complete, gives closure but is also very compelling.

The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado – Granta

Well, what is there left to say about this story? I probably have my thoughts scattered all around the internet by now. The use of narrative asides and guidance and their effect on your reading, the intermingling of urban legends to build this mythology in such a real and contemporary setting, the slow build and the suspense of gradually approaching the inevitable end. I just loved the placement of the unusual within a story that briskly moves along as if otherwise. Not much to say about this other than you should really read it if you haven’t yet.

Slow by Lia Swope Mitchell – Apex

I loved the leisurely pacing of this story, the way the narration is tactile, and sensory, and lingers on description, mimicking the slow progress of the act of sculpting. It also helps to establish a clear sense of setting and imagery that made this story very vivid and memorable. I also enjoyed the intermittent use of Greek mythology to build towards its ending. I loved that, for an inanimate object, I could still empathize with “Dan”. I’m quite fond of the parallel of how much we put into art, and how much it takes out of us, and the use of ambiguity. There is no clear evil, no malicious intent, it just is.

Ishq by Usman T. Malik in Nightmare Magazine

Haunting and vivid. I love the detailed storytelling, the rich setting and fable or fairy tale-like nature of this story. The story is told across generations and is steeped in family history and deals with themes like guilt, loss, and fear. The story is a mix of realism, fable, and the supernatural/slightly uncanny, that in addition to its vivide setting, makes for a really memorable read.  I also recommend you read everything by Usman, including “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” in Tor, and “Resurrection Points” in Strange Horizons.

Recommended Flash Fiction

Recommended Twine Games

September 2014 – March 2015 Update

In an attempt to indefinitely revive this blog, I’m going to post a quick writing update for everything that’s happened since my last post. Okay, here goes.

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

Forthcoming

Aaaand, that’s it for now. Bit of a writing hiatus going on with final projects and exams so March and April will likely be pretty quiet.

In particular, I’m quite happy with my piece over at Cartridge Lit, it puts into words a lot of ideas that interest me about video games, about exploring the existence of game characters and how they interact within their environments built for a specific purpose. How do they push the boundaries of the game map, how a glitch transfers over and builds onto a story, and all these things. I would love to write a bit more on these topics soon. Probably after exams. But for now, I’m just collecting a lot of ideas.

Gone Lawn

Gone Lawn’s Issue 15 came out today. I have a piece called Entomophobia up, you can read it here.

Otherwise, writing’s been on a little break lately, so there’s not much in the works save for another upcoming piece.

Story a Day in May: Progress Log (1-5)

So, the last time I tried this, it ended terribly. I was too busy to keep a constant writing schedule and accidentally broke my hard drive, so I was without a laptop until I could buy a new one and replace it. This year seems to be going slightly better… so far. Knock on wood.

Progress Log

Day 1 – Coming Home (incomplete)

“And even then she was only the echo of voices at night or the tiny wet footprints leading down the hall to her room.”

Day 2 – Entomophobia (complete)

“You hired an exterminator once to clear out the mites and roaches, and he soaked your head in mild poisons. All was silent, for a little while…”

Day 3 – Star Catcher (complete)

“I follow my sister to the edge of the field, bristling green with newly planted crops. Karin is standing on her toes, waving the net about her head and dancing.”

Day 4 – Whitewood (incomplete)

“The thorns are prickling again, stretching out my arteries and filling up veins. I can feel them growing, threatening to puncture flesh.”

Day 5 – The Drowned Ball (complete)

“The crystal goblets lay in fragments, knocked over and cracked across the ornate tabletops. You run your hands along the carved designs on the wood paneling, the smooth staircase railing, the tasseled velvet curtains hiding fractured windows.”