The Short Story Thread

Extollager

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I don't think the works by Campanella, Holberg, and Swedenborg would be all that obscure -- just a hunch. In Poe's day there were thick magazines, newspapers, and lecturers who might mention such things. And Poe could read French and German, couldn't he? ....Hmmm.
 
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Spoilers for this 183-year-old story, of course. :)

Just read "The Assignation" by Poe. Anyone familiar with it? So what happened at the end? Did the guy who lived in the apartment of "unparalleled splendor" poison the Marchese and then drink poison himself so they could be together in death, or did she poison herself? "The entire and terrible truth" may have "flashed suddenly over" Poe's soul but mine is feeling a lack.
Okay, I finally re-read it. After not having read much or any Poe for years and reading almost nothing but extremely-current fiction lately, it was like a jump into an ice-cold pool of 19th century prose. At first it's so shocking it scarcely makes any sense but, after awhile, Poe's euphonious rhythmic "prose" got to seem almost normal again. My take is that the woman definitely makes the "assignation" and is not "poisoned" (in the sense of it being done to her rather than by her) despite what the utterly implausible messenger says. Then the guy "keeps the date" by poisoning himself in the hour after dawn. Beyond that, I'm confused, myself. Poe didn't always write fantasy but this seems like a big wind-up for not-enough-payoff if it's a mainstream Romeo-and-Juliet story and various comments and behaviors from the mystery man make me think he may be multiply-reincarnated and can somehow parlay this into wealth and treasures from wide time and space. So they may be dying in order to live again. The "Orfeo" references, for instance, make me think that more than R&J. And that's not even addressing the almost surreal "drowning child" bit which seems hugely important and "symbolical of something" but doesn't really mean much to me. Anyway - in terms of literal fact, I think it was nominally a suicide pact in which they both more or less voluntarily die. And I share your lacking feeling. :)
 
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Hm. Trifecta. Back on the Poe, I got curious and I came across this, which had certainly never occurred to me. (I only read the first couple of paragraphs but it seems to be arguing that drowning children and dying lovers are funny. Okay, that's not fair, but still...) I'll grant that the narrator, if not "unreliable" is naive and obfuscatory which makes this probably not literal. I did think the references to the Byronic (which did occur to me) figure in glowingly positive terms, yet with comparisons to Commodus and snakes, was odd but I still don't see parody in it (rather a dark cross-current) or see how it makes it any more meaningful. Point is, it's not a slam-dunk story even among the literati so I feel better about being confused. ;)
 

dask

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Thanks for the time and effort you put into this. Interesting link too. Will read it more thoroughly this weekend. Did catch the reference to the mystery man as "mystic/artist". Sounds like a good description of Poe himself.
 

dask

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In the last post from J-Sun he was able to establish a link to a website about Poe simply by typing the word "this" in red "ink". Is this a difficult thing to do? (And since I don't want to come across as a loser-neighbor who proves to be little more than an endless thorn I leave this as an open question to anyone.)
 
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It takes a few steps, but it's not difficult. :) There are at least a couple of ways to do it but one is to copy the url you want, type whatever text you want, select the text that you want to be a link, then click the 7th button (that looks like a chain "link") from the left in the post box thing and it'll pop up a box, and you paste the url into it and you're done. (Anther is to type [URL=address]text[/URL])
 

AlexH

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I've been dipping in and out of a few books and websites over the past month. Some favourites:

The Last Man on Earth Crawls Backs to Life – A Mini-Novel Sequel by John Guzlowski (flashfictiononline.com) - even better than the first one.
Hic Sunt Leones by L.M. Davenport (shimmerzine.com 2017 anthology)
The Road to Hadrumal by Juliet E McKenna (Journeys anthology) - I was disappointed where this ended. I'm hoping for a sequel!
Things We Found North of the Sunset by Aba Asibon (Migrations: New Short Fiction from Africa) - one of a couple of fantasy stories in this anthology.

Summation of Online Fiction: January 2018 - links to the top several stories (and comments on them) from the January SF/F webzines - and now the printzines and an ezine, too (though those don't have links)!
I liked Plain Jane Learns to Knit Wormholes too.
 
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I liked Plain Jane Learns to Knit Wormholes too.
There was one part of that - it wasn't exactly a flat-out joke, but just a weird bit - that had me laughing out loud.

It doesn't work as well as an excerpt - something about the rhythm and element of surprise in the flow: "It wasn’t until Beverly leaned in too far and tumbled headfirst into the hole that we realized what we’d created." "Tumbled headfirst" is just perfect. :)

Anyway - here's something like 46 stories freely available on the web that have been selected by 1-4 of the editors of the big "Year's Bests" anthologies. There's some good reading in here and maybe the hit singles will tell folks which anthologies are to their tastes and they can go get the album or albums at the bookstore or on their device of choice. :)

Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!)
 
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Oh yeah - I posted this elsewhere on the board but, regarding that last post, there's now an expanded version which, so far, adds Ellen Datlow's horror picks with three of them available to read on the web.

Anyway, another month produces another list of good stuff from the web and print zines. As I say in the thing, it's a short list, but has stuff I highly/strongly/enthusiastically/etc. recommend. :)

Summation: February 2018.
 
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Only tangentially on topic but I've added two more pages to the blog this month, both inspired by and variants of pages from other bloggers: Magazines and Their Reviewers (takes four "prolific" reviewers and shows the magazines they cover, if you were interested in reading about a particular magazine or wanted to compare takes on the same ones) and Noted Short SF Markets: 2017 (which lists all the venues which had 2017 stories selected in "Year's Bests" or were on the final Hugo/Nebula ballots.

On topic, here's the monthly list of stories I thought were noteworthy with links to them (if available) and their reviews: Summation: March 2018.

Don't mean to be taking over the thread, here. Hope others will post with great stuff they've read, new or old, web or print.
 
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I might mention that I seem to agree with your assessment of the last issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I notice you did not review "Deep Sea Fish." Is this because it was a translated reprint? I thought it was really good.
I liked your review and I've heard other good things about that story but, yep, while I do make rare exceptions, I tend not to review reprints/translations (unless it's for Tangent because, "as you know, Victoria," Tangent requires reviewing translations).
 
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(This will be listed in my monthly summation, of course, but I just wanted to single it out - not necessarily the best of the year or anything (though likely one of a small group of the best) but I just really enjoyed it and wanted to get it some more readers if I could.)

Strange Waters” picks up a similar thread [from the previous story in my original review] regarding foreknowledge and, wow, a pixel of the story must have come off and gotten in my eye. Mika Sandrigal is lost at sea, fully oriented in everything but the year. She got caught in one of the time vortexes that are all too common to the seas around her home and she’s spent eight years (with more to come) sailing the timestreams to and fro in a desperate attempt to sail back to her time and her children. She encounters good and bad times, and even makes a great friend along the way, but keeps trying. I won’t tell you how it ends, but it’s right. You’ll feel this one. This vividly realized time/sea journey uses a generally familiar concept but gives it a very creative, unusual, and fresh flavor and makes it both emotionally and intellectually stimulating. Mika comes to seem like a believable but thoroughly admirable, smart, tenacious character. What’s even more amazing about all this is that, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the author’s first sale. This story is strongly recommended and this writer seems to be one to watch.
 
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Good deal. I try to pass all my recs through to Tangent whether I've reviewed it for Tangent or not, so this one will have at least a double. :)
 
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