December 9th, 2007

bald man thinking

Read A Story A Day: Dec 1 - Dec 9

As part of my "writerly education" I have recently vowed to read a story a day. Here's the results so far, with a one-line summary of each.

Summary, Mon Dec 1 - Sun Dec 9
Total: 17 stories read
Favorites: "Found Objects", then maybe "Paid in Full" or "Leonid Skies".
Special citation for "Loser"

Sat Dec 1:
- "The Recreation Room" by Albert Cowdrey, F&SF, Oct/Nov 2007. A New Orleans resident goes back home after Katrina strikes.

Sun Dec 2:
- "Urdumheim" by Michael Swanick, F&SF, Oct/Nov 2007. A story told as a Babylonian-esque myth.

Mon Dec 3:
- "The Visitor" by Marisa Silver, New Yorker, Dec 3, 2007. A hospital nurse takes care of a silent, injured war vet and reflects on her life with her grandmother and dead drug addict mom.

Tues Dec 4:
- "Loser" by Aimee Bender. Audio version. More on this at the end.
- "Paid In Full" by Susan Forest, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. An insect farmer (yes, insect farmer) deals with his relationship with a fellow farmer and the difficulties of the farming life.
- "Reconstruction Work" by Bruce Holland, Flash Fiction Online, 12/2007. At a funeral, a man convinces another mourner the dead guy wasn't as bad as everyone thinks.
- "I Speak the Master's Will" by Suzanne Vincent, Flash Fiction Online, 12/2007. A shadow puppet wishes for something more.

Wed Dec 5:
- "Dark Integers" by Greg Egan, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A group of people who have bridged between universes using mathematical logic systems have to fight a sudden attack of war.
- "The Turn" by Chris Butler, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A man on a land boat journeys to a wall for a strange purpose.

Thurs Dec 6:
- "At Sixes and Sevens" by Carol Emshwiller, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A couple with an odd neighbor gets involved in the neighbor's life after the father dies.

Fri Dec 7:
- "Night Calls" by Robert Reed, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A young man and his older lover talk logic, then go to a celebration that occurs at nighttime.
- "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A planet with six suns heads towards the rare moment when five of the suns are not visible and the sixth one goes into eclipse because of the moon.
- "Leonid Skies" by Carl Frederick, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. An ex-moon scientist takes his son and a friend to an indoor campground to watch the Leonids, but has to deal with issues that arrive when everything is kept too safe.
- "Debatable Lands" by Liz Williams, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. An indentured servant helps knights chase a monster (maybe an alien).
- "Skull Valley" by Michael Cassutt, Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2007. A cop and a government agent chase escaped hominids through the desert.

Sat Dec 8:
- "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan, New Yorker, Dec 10, 2007. A woman who steals small objects from people interacts with her therapist during a session.

Sun Dec 9:
- "Legacy" by Aimee Bender, _The Girl in the Flammable Skirt_ (collection). A disgraced princess falls in love with a hunchback, but it doesn't work out.

Special note on "Loser"
- "Loser" by Aimee Bender, read by Matt Malloy, This American Life Show #164. The story of an orphan boy who can find lost objects. I have heard this story before, and listen to it again now and then. I LOVE this story. To me, it is an example of an excellent speculative fiction story even though it was first published in Granta - it would fit just fine in F&SF, Asimov's, and many small press magazines. There are stories I read and then say "I wish I could write a story as good as this" and "Loser" is one of them. (Extra link: Aimee Bender at Google Readers series)

UPDATE: fixed the title of the Dec 9 Aimee Bender story. Moved the Summary to the top.