Monday, July 20, 2009

Short fiction to chill your bones (perfect for the summer heat)

There is something particularly special about the short story form. While an author is limited in space and scope, this tightness of space often lends itself to masterful storytelling. Maybe it's the pressure of such a condensed space and not much time to say what you want that makes the short story a favorite of mine. A writer is forced to come up with more creative solutions to such a limited plot and character development.

I especially enjoy short horror stories that trade in supernatural terrors for the psychologically macabre. There are a few writers who pull this quiet terror from us better than most. Here are just a few of them. If you click on the story title, it will take you to the online text version.

Harlan Ellison
"I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream"
"The Whimper of Whipped Dogs"

Shirley Jackson
"The Lottery"

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"The Yellow Wallpaper"

Neil Gaiman
"I Can Get Them For You Wholesale"
(This link is to the comic art version.)

William Faulkner
"A Rose For Emily"

Margaret Atwood
"Death By Landscape"

Ray Bradbury
"A Flourish of Strumpets"

Donald Barthelme
"The Game"

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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