Keys by Tim Parks
The past is a dream, Daniel thought. There is no way to make sense of it.
This was quite an interesting short story! The idea of introspection and dreams surrounding old relationships and symbolic keys was a solid premise and the prose was lovely, but I did find myself wishing it was just a little bit longer. Really enjoyed it, though!
Read it for yourself here.
A new indie magazine has launched and the stories are free to read online! The stories are vampire/voyage themed and all under 5000 words, so please consider giving them a chance.
(I submitted a short story to the collection, yay! I’m so happy to share this story with everyone. ^_^)
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I love discovering new literary magazines and new authors in one fell swoop! Totally delightful! I stumbled across Kill Your Darlings (no, not the Daniel Radcliffe movie) this morning after seeing the name in a Goodreads sidebar. (Hey, recs work!) It’s an Australian based literary magazine that offers short stories and essays and more. I clicked on a story at random and was blown away.
Termites (2020) by Neha De Alwis won the 2020 KYD School Writing Prize and I must say, the story is well worth reading!
You are a thief of many things, and about half of those things you keep in your pocket. The rest, the things you can’t hold, you keep in a constantly growing mental inventory.
The story focuses on OCD and was very well written! I’m looking forward to more by this author.
Blood Brothers by Josie Jaffrey
This short story is tied into Jaffrey’s Sovereign and Seekers vampire series. Be sure to check them out!
I really liked this one! Adewale and Alastair are great characters and I’m really curious to learn more about them after this. I think I should probably have read more of the books in the series first (I’ve only read The Gilded King so far, but the rest are on my list!), as I was a little confused by some things, but overall a great read! Definitely got me in the mood for more vampire books. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Kingdom That Failed by Haruki Murakami
“To see a splendid kingdom fade away,” it said, “is far sadder than seeing a second-rate republic collapse.”
I’ve never read anything by Murakami and this was definitely a great introduction. I’m not really sure how to describe this one: a man sees someone he used to know and watches the man while remembering how he used to be. It’s quite short, yet engaging and with great prose!
It’s published in The New Yorker if you want to check it out. I definitely recommend giving it a go!
An Indelible Day by Cairo Marques (2020)
“We just weren’t compatible. Still, we’re going to exist within one another eternally. We’ve created indelible memories together.”
An Indelible Day is quite an interesting short story that makes for a quick, thought provoking read. The story is divided into three sections and each one is framed around conversations the main character, John C., has with three other people. The main characters are not given last names, only initials, which was an interesting stylistic choice. I think the last time I saw that was in classics, which is cool. The monologues of the characters and the way the story is framed reminded me of older stories, too, like Salinger’s style in Franny and Zooey, just having two characters engaged in a long conversation. It definitely flowed well.
I will say that I would’ve liked a bit more characterisation to really get to know each character and perhaps some backstory, and I do wish it had been expanded a little bit, with perhaps a bit more detail, but overall it made for a very interesting and engaging read.
I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Cross-posted to Goodreads.
I’m awful at keeping up to date with all the different places I find short stories, so I’m glad this one popped up on my Twitter feed because it was a great short read about my favourite archaeologist and makes some very valid criticisms about one of the movies.
The story follows Indiana Jones at a talk with students where he’s confronted with the events of The Temple of Doom and chastised for his behaviour.
Hadn’t every object he’d ever loved finally eluded him, vanishing even further into the vault of history? Quietly he said, “I’ve never put anything in a museum.”
I really love Indiana Jones, but there are so many valid criticisms of the storylines, especially The Temple of Doom, so I appreciated this story. I maybe would have preferred a bit more length, but it’s to the point and well written.
“Can we agree, Indy, that India was a misstep? That you should stick to fighting Nazis?”
Hear hear, fight the Nazis, Dr Jones.
Read it here.
Five Arrows by Heinz Insu Fenkl
“Bury me where this arrow falls.” And he let the arrow fly with a loud whoosh of air torn by string and wood, and the arrow blurred high up into the blackness. If Big Uncle had told me then that he had hit the eye of the moon, I would have believed him.
This is quite an evocative short story published in the New Yorker. You can read it here. A young boy, Insu, goes to visit his uncle, who lives in a cave in the forest. When Insu’s friend Yongsu leaves, Insu spends the night with Big Uncle and listens to his stories. Fenkl has a wonderful way with words and the imagery is brilliant. Definitely recommend.
Everything’s Fine by Matthew Pridham
Eric swallowed his tears and looked down at their clenched hands. “We’re fine,” he said, “everything’s fine.”
Ooof, this was a whooper. I was not expecting … any of what I just read. But I think that made the read all the more hard-hitting. So I recommend just diving straight in. But beware of lots of gore. Read it here.
All Votes Will Be Counted (We Promise) by Paul Crenshaw
He looked at the sky and wondered if the drones were coming. If the satellites would fall, or if, possibly, his vote would be read and counted.
This short is part of Apex Magazine‘s 119 issue and oh my word. To say that this one sent chills up and down my spine would be an understatement. Read it for yourself here.
My love of sci-fi/fantasy shorts continues and I’ve read a few more this week: Noah’s Raven by Kij Johnson in Lightspeed Magazine, and Blue Morphos in the Garden by Lis Mitchell and Sinew and Steel and What They Told by Carrie Vaughn on Tor.
Noah’s Raven by Kij Johnson
Extinction can be as global as all, or as personal as me.
I listened to the audiobook version of Noah’s Raven by Kij Johnson, which was definitely unexpected. It’s a take on Noah’s Ark that, for me, brought to mind Snowpiercer (for reasons I won’t spoil, though I’m still like WHAT ). Johnson’s writing is undeniably captivating and there were several lines in the story that really stood out for me.
Will be coming back to this issue to check out the rest of the stories, for sure.
Blue Morphos in the Garden by Lis Mitchell
“I know,” I say to him, taking his hand. “Butterflies aren’t the same.”
The premise of this story is so interesting and tackles the question of choice and death in a really unique way. I read it on a whim and ended up quite liking it! Available here.
Sinew and Steel and What They Told by Carrie Vaughn
We go out into the galaxy and collect stories, and then we bring them home.
I really liked this one. Graff is injured on the job and when he’s brought in and doesn’t die from what would otherwise be life-threatening injuries, everyone on his ship has a lot of questions, including his boyfriend, Doctor Ell. Definitely recommend! Available here.