There is some damn fine writing in Ted Chiang’s volume of short stories Arrival originally published as Stories of Your Life and Others. So much than the next time you hear someone say that fantasy and science fiction tend to be badly written, you should direct them to any of Ted Chiang’s stories. They may not be your cup of tea, but they are all very well … Continue reading Arrival by Ted Chiang
It’s long been my belief that you should never revisit the things that most impressed you when you were young. My number one object lesson for this belief is the 1972 science fiction movie Silent Running starring Bruce Dern. (I’ve posted the trailer for it below.) I was nine-years-old when I saw it. The special effects, the ecological message, the robots, the final shot of … Continue reading The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
The least likable character wins. The losing set of stories was still very good though. For this round of my tournament of short stories I read two from The Apocalypse Triptych by Charlie Jane Anders. Both feature the same set of characters, young people who become famous for the on-line movies they make featuring absurd stunts that typically end with the main character getting himself hurt. … Continue reading Tournament of Short Stories, Science Fiction Edition: “Lot” by Ward Moore vs. “Break! Break! Break!” and “Rock Manning Can’t Hear You” by Charlie Jane Anders.
I was drawn to this book by the cover. When You’re Down by the River was published by BatCat Press in a hand bound edition of 100 numbered copies, each featuring a unique cover, that’s the marbled paper you can see inside the “RIVER” cut out on the cardboard casing the book comes in. Mine is #85. It’s a small work of art as well as … Continue reading When You’re Down By The River by Christopher Lowe
Raymond Carver wins! Patrick Ryan beat out Randall Jarrell’s Book of Stories in the semifinal round, but I don’t think anyone in the English-speaking world could have done better than the final three stories in Raymond Carver’s collection Cathedral. For the last couple of years I have been reading short stories from different authors in competition with each other, a tournament of short stories sort of thing. … Continue reading Tournament of Short Stories: Patrick Ryan’s “The Dream Life of Astronauts” vs. Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral”
This little tournament has force me to read the volume of Bret Harte’s Gold Rush era short fiction C.J. and I bought a few years back while visiting Nevada City, California. I’ve enjoyed them. They are old-fashioned stories. Mr. Harte does have fine characters but the plot is really where it’s at with his work. I’ve enjoyed them all and I enjoyed the two I … Continue reading Tournament of Short Stories: Bret Harte vs. D.H. Lawrence and Leo Tolstoy
This post is more of a ramble than a rant, so don’t worry. It’s been a busy week, getting ready for the 20th anniversary party C.J. and I threw yesterday, so there have not been many posts here lately. I’m hoping to have a good amount of down time today, enough to relax and get a bunch of robo-posts ready for the week. Some I’m … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Catching up with This Week’s Reading and Lionel Shriver Wears a Funny Hat.
Sometimes, it’s just not fair. I picked up a copy of Prize Stories 1995 from The O. Henry Awards somewhere, I don’t recall, probably a library book sale, thinking it would be fun to add a random assortment of good stories to my tournament. O. Henry Award winners, I thought, they’re probably all good.” So far they are. I read two for this round: “The Women … Continue reading Tournament of Short Stories: Randall Jerrell’s Book of Stories vs. The O. Henry Awards 1995.
This week in a stunning, surprise upset victory Bret Harte’s “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” and “Miggles” defeated Ernest Hemingway’s “Three Shots” and “Indian Camp.” I call this an upset victory because I am a big, life-long fan of Ernest Hemingway. Yes, I know. Don’t bother going there, I know all about it. And I’m still a big fan. I’ll go to my grave arguing that all American fiction, … Continue reading Bret Harte Defeats Ernest Hemingway – Tournament of Short Stories II
Yesterday, I came up for air after falling into a Trump/Clinton news coverage hole where I’d lain for several days alternating between stunned staring at the television and borderline hysterical laughter long enough to spend a couple of hours reading. Since the last book I read was basically over my head, I decided to go for a more straightforward detective story. Sun And Shadow by Ake … Continue reading Tournament of Short Stories II: Charles Chesnutt vs. Patrick Ryan
The detective arrives in a small seaside California town looking for a missing girl. Her mother is very concerned. Concerned enough to hire him. He is soon over his head; caught in a crime syndicate that includes the beat cops, the local police chief, a psychiatric hospital, an offshore gambling boat, and a pair of bank robbers. Chandler country in other words. I kept thinking of … Continue reading A Short Story Omnibus: Raymond Chandler and Samantha Henderson
For this the first battle in round one of my second tournament of short stories I read three from Bed by Tao Lin and three from Get in Trouble by Kelly Link. While I knew Kelly Link going into this from stories featured on Podcastle, I picked Tao Lin off of the shelves at Skylight Books in Los Angeles at random. I liked the cover art; I confess. I enjoyed … Continue reading Tao Lin vs. Kelly Link — Tournament of Short Stories II