“Glitz and glamour away from the gaudy Strip and the drug-riddled suburb slums.
The waitresses. All young, slim, white. Wearing just enough.” — ROXY.
From X-R-A-Y Magazine, Theme Park Suicide by Teddy Duncan. A grim tale which shows how even those who seem to have given up on life haven’t given up on human connectivity. Duncan’s work was excerpted from a as-yet unpublished chapbook.
“I just really didn’t want to feel alone when I died, no matter how fucked up it is if I was going to do it I needed an audience.” — Theme Park Suicide.
“There it is, that dirty humor that keeps us all alive. That and the air, the pressure, the heat, and the food.” —Med Bay Snippet #6.
From hidden gem, Gn0me, Under Forests of Futility by Rasu-Yong Tugen, Baroness de Tristeombre. A collection of poems by the author of A Natural History of Seaweed Dreams and Songs from the Black Moon.
“Vast lattices of black shale engulf us while we sleep. Primordial roots hunch over, as if in prayer. Arching acacia and star pine whisper spectral apprehensions. Black opal rains submerge everything permanent.” — Under Forests of Futility.
“Deep in the crevices where there is scantly light,
Formican hordes amassed, antitheses of right:
The tyrant queen, attendant sycophantic knaves,
Vast quantities of servants – or compliant slaves –
Not even one savant among them to protest
Antagonistic ploys to rouse their dormant nest.
In wanton disregard of property and tact alike
At my abode they militantly sought to strike,
Past every antechamber to the kitchen went,
Detected every speck pursuant to its scent,
In swarms outrageous antics perpetrated,
Blatantly coveted the food refrigerated!”
—Victory Against The Formican Hordes, first stanza.
For writing circular recommendations, drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Flash/microfiction length pieces which forms part of a continuous series that goes beyond the length of a flash fiction will be included either under the SHORT STORIES or NOVELLAS & NOVELS sections, depending on the length of the series in totality; they will not be included in the flash section from here on out given that they are only a portion of the whole story and not a true flash/microfiction unto themselves.
Richa Sharma of iScriblr published the appropriately scribbly short fiction fragments, Fahrenheit 451 and Million Dollar Baby as part of a literary challenge to create a story in only three lines. In my opinion, she did a sterling job of it. If you’re a new fiction writer looking for practice, look up her form and try your hand.
“We’ve got 24 hours before they burn them all down! Hurry up!”
The literary journal, Gone Lawn published Empire of Light by the talented and charming Melissa Goode. The short piece is brisk and uplifting as her prose.
“We are a blip in time and space, nothing compared with matter and history, but that does not diminish a single thing about us.”
“I remembered the axolotl. Some creatures aren’t meant to grow up.”
Ramya Tantry of Miles Before I Go To Sleep… recently published Finish The Story: The Art Student. As the name implies, Ms. Tantry’s story is as-yet incomplete; the point of the post is to see how other fiction writer’s build off of her existing microfiction. Its a pretty fascinating tale so far (and getting fairly lengthy so I suppose I could have also placed this in ‘short stories’) concerning art and magic, a burned man, Dante’s Inferno and a pact with a ‘crossroads demon.’ Some writers have already made flash contributions, including circular regular, The Dark Netizen. Go check it out and – if you’re a fiction author – consider trying your hand.
The man removed all his clothes. It was clear that the melted skin was pretty much all over and not a hair grew out of it. Standing on the platform his head brushed the ceiling tiles.
Amy couldn’t resist asking him “Your skin, were you born like that or….” She couldn’t finish the question, but he answered anyway, it’s what most people asked him.
“No, I was a firefighter, at 9/11. I was caught in a fireball.” He could say it now, seventeen years later, without breaking down.
Speaking of The Dark Netizen, he’s been busy with some poetry as well as the moody flash fiction tale, Another Dark Day.
“This fog can be wiped off with a quick sweep of my hand. I wish removing the clouds in my life was as easy.”
Avani Singh of Blogggedit, who we covered in our last installment, made good on her promise to deliver consecutive slices of horror literature with the final installments of her memorably titled, ‘Weirdo Elevator’ series. Below we’ve provided the series in its entirety:
From Burning House Press, Wisconsin by songstress, Sam Lou Talbot, whose fleeting, fragmented narrative is compelling but a little too scattered. Whilst beautifully written I wonder if it might have worked better as a song with the music filling in the narrative gaps in the story. Also from Burning House, Bomb Nostalgic by Mauricio Figueiras; a tale of Hollywood-backed filming of nuclear bomb tests in the wastelands of Nevada. Smacks of Don Delillo.
“His bronchial and alveolar tubes have been replaced with an expanding nuclear mushroom that eats up the entire thoracic cavity.”
From Terror House Magazine, The Manipulators by Jake Belck whose prose reminds me strongly of a less manic Bret Easton Ellis. A tale with many lessons for those with the eyes to see and the best of the week.
“See ya around,” were the last words to his wife of seven years before Leo cut the call.
“This is the inner workings side of the zoo. We’re on our way to see the Elephant Lord.”
NOVELLAS & NOVELS
Seen a promo for a teen urban-fantasy romance novel titled, Imminence: Book 2, by Kat Stiles. Now, I’m not knocking the content of the book, I haven’t read it – seems to be quite good if the plethora of 5 star reviews are anything to go by – but the cover gave me a hearty laugh.
Neha Sharma of Literary Lemonades published, The Damsel In Distress, an apt criticism of the eponymous trope. It bares noting, however, that though her criticism is spot-on, the trend in fiction, literature, film and TV seems to be consistently away from the-damsel-in-distress and more towards The Mary Sue (any female lead who is good at everything to an absurdist degree and typically displays masculine traits). Ms. Sharma delineates the trope and breaks it down further into three sub-categories.
Bushy-haired, bespectacled (optional) shy girl who prefers books over male attention, only to transform later into a gorgeous diva for the hero, who understandably becomes the first ever man in her life.
A smokin’ hot girl from an academic background. She is unaware of her good looks and would finally make the hero fall in ‘true love’ for the first time.
An introvert girl who has clearly suffered some trauma in the past and she cannot trust anyone anymore. She finally meets our jolly-good hero who saves the day.
My summation is that both the mary-sue and damsel-in-distress tropes (when used a a focal point for a character) are around equally efficient at generating unbelievable and fairly boring fictional persons. Now, as ever, 3D characters are key.
STORGY landed an interview with James Frey (who wrote I Am Number Four with Jobie Hughes under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore) that delved into bibliophilia, literary criticism, bad press coverage and what is most important to a fiction author.
Q: “Do you think that honestly, that you sold out at some point?”
FREY: “I don’t know right? I actually had a tonne of fun doing Pittacus Lore and doing End Game. In some ways I don’t think it’s a sell out because it’s the least likely thing anyone ever expected me to do-“
Lastly, gnOme published the aesthetically engorged NEMO by X. Looks promising.
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