In my attempt to become a writer, I’ve taken to writing short stories. One of them was published this month. In an effort to improve my craft, I try to read as many short stories as I can. I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me. I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.
On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way. This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough. And so, without further ado, I present my choices for this Friday:
Suddenwall by Sara Saab (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, March 2017): Suddenwall is exactly the high fantasy I like to read. It chronicles a long war and examines the effects of genocide on the victims and perpetrators, many of whom now live in the sentient city of Vannat. Somehow, Vannat knows when you’ve done wrong, and when it does, it entraps you within a concrete wall until you leave. In this short story, Saab introduces a colorful, rich world with intriguing power structures.
Anna Saves Them All by Seth Dickinson (Shimmer, September 2014): Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Dickinson’s debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. In this short story, Dickinson demonstrates that he is all about the Sophie’s Choice. A survivor of violence in Kurdistan, the protagonist Anna tries to negotiate with the strange alien aboard her ship. Nobody on the crew but Anna can stand to talk to it. The tension builds rapidly in this story, culminating in Anna making a horrific final decision.
And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice by Cassandra Khaw (The Dark, November 2016): Khaw’s story is a dark, bloody retelling of The Little Mermaid. It begins with the Prince cooking and devouring the mermaid’s little sisters, babies who had been too young to resemble humans, unlike her. The Prince “saved” our protagonist, took her into his home, and seeks to have children with her. This story echoes with the sinister throughout, a deliciously chilling read that culminates in a bloody twist.