I haven’t made a recommended reading post in some time, so here’s a three-fer to keep you busy.
A good friend turned me on to this Elizabeth Bear story about shoggoths, monsters of Lovecraftian lore. It’s longer than the stories I usually promote in this space, but not by much, and it’s worth the extra few minutes it takes to finish. It’s also chock full of delicious social commentary and historical context, two things I love to see in genre fiction.
Shameless plug: For more Lovecraft-style horror stories, I suggest Historical Lovecraft: Tales of Horror Through Time. The ebook is only $3.99!
Did you love Choose Your Own Adventure books as much as I did? Well here’s a (delightfully brief) CYOA for more mature audiences, by Kat Howard, who is obviously very talented.
Every now and again a really awesome story just kind of falls in my lap. This is an example of one such story, which was discovered on the livejournal facebook page, of all places. It’s a poignant little tale that reminded me of what it was like to be in Middle School, watching kids who were your friends over the summer avoid you in the hallways nine months out of the year. It brought up painful memories, perhaps bittersweet because of lessons learned since then. And, because I like speculative fiction, this story also features a little fantasy element to keep things interesting.
This week I’ve been busy with last-minute craziness for the upcoming release of The Crimson Pact: Volume 1 and Millennicon, which is this weekend, so I haven’t had much time for posting! Who knew being a writer would be so much work?!
Today’s recommended reading was found while trawling the internet for zombie anthologies accepting submissions. Written in ultra-creepy second person, to horrific effect, it inspired the perspective I used in “It Wants.” This story might be the best zombie story I’ve ever read. Not for the faint of heart!
Although there isn’t any particularly bad language or nudity or anything particularly objectionable, you may want to avoid explaining why you went to a site that mentions sex and monsters to your boss, so NSFW applies here.
This week’s story is neither horror, nor steampunk. It’s not even science fiction. But it is good. It’s also written by my friend Steve Saus, and it has been chosen by Every Day Fiction as one of their top stories of 2010.
This story is an excellent example of how to do flash fiction brilliantly. Every word is chosen for maximum impact, the story is about a life-changing moment for a character with whom we immediately identify, and nothing is over-explained. I actually felt sympathy for the character even though I knew him for less than a thousand words. That’s effective storytelling!
Since I want to submit a story to The Red Penny Papers, I thought it would behoove me to read their current issue. This story completely blew me away: it’s concise, succinct, and manages to be unique and conversational, while achieving a depth I rarely see in works this short. This author is really talented.
This is the kind of stuff I’d like to be writing: really outside-the-box pieces that are easy to read and powerful without rambling on for 10,000 words.
I enjoying trawling the internet for bits of fiction. Today’s morsel is from The Sordid Storyteller, my friend Jenn’s blog. It’s a clever and blissfully short little piece that should only require a few minutes of your time to devour. And you’ll probably be glad you did.