10 Short Stories challenge – day 10

Today I read Weird Dinner by L. L. Heberlein. Two people share a meal of what are clearly their last remaining morsels of food, scrounged from somewhere.

The story is very simple, but one of those which has so many possibilities. I enjoyed the way the couple (I assume) are still treating each other the same way as they always would, even though they seem to be facing some kind of crisis.

5356408450_f1e7908cb4_b

I read Weird Dinner over on Flash Fiction MagazineGo and have a read and come back to tell me your thoughts in the comments.

So, that’s the end of my 10 Short Stories challenge! I’ve really enjoyed hunting down the different pieces and I think I’ll have to look in to most of the authors more. If you have any short story or flash fiction recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

10 Short Stories challenge – day 9

Today I read Palomino by Olivier De Beventine. I love everything about this story but I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to ruin the many surprises!

The story opens with two men discussing their unusual horse. I won’t say any more than that. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this story is sad, a social commentary, funny, a horror tale… it’s certainly unique anyway and it makes me want to read more stories by this writer.

e02eedd90cb41aaf163947079dc5b5c0

I read Palomino over on The Strange and the Curious. Go and have a read and come back to tell me what you think in the comments!

Agapanthus and the Crystal Ornamen is Olivier de Beventine‘s latest book.

“Like the idea of reading but can’t be bothered…? This is the book for you. Will lie around anywhere unobtrusively, leaving you to get on with your life. If you do ever pick it up, don’t worry, you’ll not be hooked for precious hours on end. Indeed, the stories are so short, you’ll read five before breakfast, and the whole lot by the time the sun is over the yardarm. Thenceforth, you can congratulate yourself heartily on the swift conclusion of one of your ‘five-a-year’ with the first and subsequent gins of the day. NOT SUITABLE FOR SERIOUS PEOPLE, NOR ACTUAL CHILDREN – A small, illustrated booklet of strange and sensational short story sketches, ideal reading for the W.C. Weird, laughable, absurd; characters include an opportunist octopus, a palomino horse, a diarised father figure, an uninnocently perching puffin, a studioful of dating show participants, and an electric eel.”

Sounds damn good to me.

10 Short Stories challenge – day 6

Today I read Aqua-birds by Mike Russell. Aqua-birds is a brilliant little piece of flash fiction. It’s sad and thought-provoking, conjuring up rich images in the reader’s imagination.

“The aqua-birds’ thirst induces hallucinations of extraordinarily beautiful and ornate birdbaths.”

tumblr_nszarhEApy1u5ou5go1_500 (1)

I read Aqua-birds over on Scriggler.com – go and have a read and then come back to tell me what you think in the comments!

Mike Russell’s stories have been described as “high minded weirdness” and I haven’t come across any authors writing in quite the same style. There’s another one of his short stories available free here. Mike is based in Brighton in the UK.

10 Short Stories challenge – day 5

Today I read Ghost Q & A by Anne Carson. This is listed as a poem but I think it can be considered a short story too. I love it whatever it is.

Ghost Q & A is exactly as it sounds, a long question and answer session between a living person and a ghost. It reminded me of John Cage’s chance writing, or the automatic writing of the Surrealists. It’s funny, sweet, a little sad and sometimes confusing (in a good way). Here’s a little extract:

Q do you see people can you see me

A if you close your eyes

Q what about moods

A the edges are freezing”

I also stumbled across this beautiful quote from Carson:

“Eros is an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too,’ the absent presence of desire comes alive. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can.”
Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet (1998)
I think I may have to buy this...
I think I may have to buy this…
 I read Ghost Q & A over at This is a Public SpaceGo and have a read and come back to tell me what you think in the comments.x

10 Short Stories challenge – day 3

Today I read The Eunuchs by Marcel Schwob. Schwob was clearly a lover of words. Obviously, all authors love words, but some love them in the way that a glutton loves fine food.

I loved reading this story, not so much for the story but for each sentence. It’s rich and luxurious, colourful and sensuous. “They reclined like this, sweating among the sauna boys, men dressed in scarlet plush who came around the baths with nets full of green playing balls, young people in red tunics with cherry colored belts, high tights, and long hair, and collared runners bearing the palanquins, where matrons with twisted hair and pumiced skin returned the greetings of the passersby.” – that’s one heck of a sentence!

I read The Eunuchs over on Weird Fiction Review. Go and have a read and come back to tell me what you think in the comments!

Marcel Schwob's King in the Golden Mask
Marcel Schwob’s King in the Golden Mask from which The Eunuchs is taken

Schwob wrote over one hundred short stories. He discovered the stories of Edgar Allan Poe as a child and they are said to be an influence on his work.

10 Short Stories challenge – day 1

I’ve set myself a challenge – to read ten short stories over the next ten days and blog about them here.

 

All of the stories will be strange or odd (of course!) and all will be free to read online. I’ll post a link with each post so that you can read the story too (comments would be lovely so that I don’t get lonely on the challenge).

17165-and-one-thing-we-know-is-real-horror-it-is-so-real-in-fact

So, the first story! Today I read Thomas Ligotti‘s The Night School.

To be honest, I nearly gave up after the first two paragraphs. I found it a bit clunky and it wasn’t holding my interest. Then (and I’m not sure when or how), I was sucked in. The school in the story is such a wonderfully scary building and I don’t know how the narrator managed to continue on his journey. One of my favourite things for a story to do is smell. That may sound weird if you don’t have the same opinion, but I find that with some books (Gormenghast springs to mind), I can smell the room, the person, the feeling. The Night School reeks!

Ligotti is easily one of the most respected horror/supernatural authors alive today, often compared to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. I must admit, this is the first Ligotti story that I’ve read and I’m looking forward to more (suggestions and links very welcome). How I’ve not stumbled across him before (although I’ve heard his name dozens of times since the release of True Detective), I really don’t know.

If you prefer to be scared via audio, have a listen to this:

David Tibet of Current 93 is a friend of Ligotti and they have collaborated on numerous tracks. The one above features Tibet reading Ligotti‘s poem I Have A Special Plan For This World, set to eerie music and startling sound effects.

I read The Night School over on Weird Fiction Review. Go and have a read and come back to tell me your thoughts in the comments 🙂