I don’t think short stories get enough love. Novels will always have my devotion because I love being immersed, but sometimes short stories can do things that novels can’t. They can do more in less time, and leave you with incredibly strong impressions because there’s often only one big thing per story. Instead of following a whole sprawling plot, you are entirely absorbed by that one big thing. Good novels leave you with contentedness or complicated feelings; short stories leave you feeling like you just had a really, really vivid dream, or maybe got punched in the gut.
So because short stories don’t get enough love, and because the novel I’m reading right now is a beta-read and therefore not up for review, I thought I’d post a few short stories I like that can be read online, and why I like them, and then invite everybody to share their favorites, or their thoughts on the ones I posted.
Giantkiller, by Brenna Yovanoff: YA authors Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton, and Maggie Stiefvater used to run this short story blog. There are years‘ worth of stories up there, especially if you go into the Livejournal archives. This one is one of the last ones posted, and…I have an unreasonable amount of love for it. It starts out as a story about a couple of dysfunctional brothers, and then rapidly devolves into something weird and alien and scary. And even then it’s about the choices, not the monsters.
Oh, and there are predatory groupies.
How To Talk To Girls At Parties, by Neil Gaiman: I don’t know if this counts as YA. It’s kind of hard to pin this guy down to a genre sometimes. In a nutshell: a couple of awkward boys go to a party to meet girls. It is definitely, definitely not the party they were looking for.
My reasons for liking this one are pretty simple: it’s kind of surreal, and the main character is so charmingly clueless as he tries to make normal conversations with abnormal people, and nobody is apologetic about how weird they are. Also, I kind of like seeing people find out that they’re in over their heads.
Blood Like Apples, by Tessa Gratton: another story from the Merry Fates blog! If you like new twists on old mythology, you’ll like this one. If you read The Lost Sun and liked it, here’s a familiar character for you, but it stands alone beautifully. Fenris Wolf talks about why she has not swallowed the sun and ended the world yet. There is kissing.
The Rapid Advance of Sorrow, by Theodora Goss: this story may be one of my favorite things I’ve read all year. It’s the most literary thing on this list, but it’s also definitely fantasy, in a strange, metaphorical, nightmarish way. There’s an invasion, but not the kind with tanks. There’s magic, but not the kind that can be explained. There’s a lot of snow, and sad people. It’s gorgeous.
What Used To Be Good Still Is, by Emma Bull: I read this one in the Firebirds Rising anthology, and I adored it, and I still adore it. It’s about a mountain being dug up for mining, and a girl who can feel what’s wrong with the mountain. It’s wistful, and sweet, and kind of beautiful. I can’t say what else I like about it due to spoilers, but it’s really awesome.
So what are your favorite short stories? If you decided to read one or two or all of these, what did you think?