Short fiction thread


I think everybody loves borges here

my copy of labyrinths has been my one constant go-to for ten years. ‘pillow and plate’, as someone smarter than me put it*

*jeanette winterson speaking of calvino’s invisible cities. same difference

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The Blue Magnolia by Tony Ballantyne has a great Humphrey Bogart scene.

“I guessa man who lives his life alone is never really a part of the world.”


i have his ficciones as something of a sporatic bedside-book for a few years now! i’m always having a great time reading / re-reading those stories.

on a different note i still need to finish kenzaburo oe’s short story / novella compilation ‘teach us to outgrow our madness’. some of the stories there are among the most visceral and heart-wrenching stuff i’ve ever read. really recommend It!


Further lunchtime reading:


Partly because repeated references to a “DAIS” made me chuckle


I’ve been reading Clark Ashton Smith stories at night for the past few weeks. There’s an exhaustive collection out there and also a shorter, curated S.T. Joshi book. I decided to start with the latter and I’m enjoying it.

I wish that there were still something equivalent to Weird Tales magazine that I could subscribe to.

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this is a pretty breezy story about the post-post-apocalypse. interesting angle and all. the audio version is also fun

“Logistics” by A.J. Fitzwater

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Tulpa is irrationally obsessed with dissing Kelly Link, because he sees her as a representation of the disproportionately lauded Literary genre impinging upon the Genre genre and geting disproportionately lauded for wearing Genre-face.


nah, its because she reads like Diablo Cody writing a ‘fantasy’ story in an MFA workshop


To be fair to tmkf that’s what he just said


I don’t think anyone would describe diablo cody as literary


Diablo Cody would


I’ve never been a big fan of Link and haven’t read her since college, but I remember liking what I read. Iirc, she suffered a bit from falling victim to that particular stilted 2000’s lit tone that is like, “I am doing art now. You know, like The Talking Heads and Laurie Anderson.” But I remember it not being too bad with her. People would call her experimental, but it was on the end of just being a bit weird in places.

I can see calling her overrated, but I think she represents too much of a bogeyman to Tulpa.

Also, he once responded to one of my short stories by saying, “I get that you’re doing a Kelly Link thing like your hero Kelly Link,” and it was baffling to me, because it was basically just a sci fi story that focused on people and was not at all experimental or “weird”.


I never thought kelly link was experimental or weird is the thing

Like thats why I tried to read her but all I got was tepid “modern teenager speak as imagined by someone who has never encountered a modern teenager.”

Linklater-esque but occasionally zombies are mentioned.

Implying that I cannot understand a sci fi story that focuses on people is pretty condescending. Like you quoted a response to a story I linked that was exactly a literary sci fi story focused on people.

I dunno maybe you should drop this conversation. You’ve called me irrational and misrepresented everything I’ve said within 2 posts. Are you angry at me about something?


If nothing else this conversation made me go back and read some Link again to see if my opinion would be different now. So I read this again because it’s a story that stuck with me:

It’s like a Livejournal entry, not necessarily in a good way. But I like the premise. I like it less overall than I remembered, when I first read this it must have felt a lot more novel. I didn’t realize how old this story was! And how old I am now, sheesh.

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I’ve been reading this enormous book lately, and it’s a fun collection. Although it contains a fair number of stories I’ve read before, most are new to me. I like that the editors included a lot of translated works from different cultures.


I still haven’t finished the aforementioned anthology, as I’m reading it gradually around other books and primarily when falling asleep at night, but I’m finding that it really has some gems.

A few of the standouts so far:

  • The 1953 story “It’s a Good Life” by Jerome Bixby. This is the basis of the segment in The Twilight Zone: The Movie in which a boy can read thoughts and control matter with his mind. I found the Twilight Zone somewhat haunting as a kid, but the story is so much more distressing.

  • The 1937 story “Sanatorium at the Sign of the Hourglass” by Bruno Schultz. I mentioned in another thread that I coincidentally watched the movie not long after reading this story. Not realizing this at first only enhanced the dreamlike mood for me. Also, I just now learned that the classic Brothers Quay short film “Street of Crocodiles” was based on another story by Schultz. I will have to read that one.

  • The 1967 story “The Other Side of the Mountain” by Michel Bernanos. As much as I’d like to mention a few specific things about this story, I think I’m better off just recommending reading it blind.