New Column by Bruce Holland Rogers
I love the stories for this month, and I’ll get to them in a moment, but the biggest change at the magazine is for writers, not readers. June brings us Bruce Holland Rogers’s first installment of “Short-Short Sighted: Writing the Short-Short Story”.
Who could be better suited to write such a column? Bruce’s short fiction has won a variety of awards, including the Nebula (“Lifeboat in a Burning Sea”, 1996, and “Thirteen Ways to Water”, 1998), the Bram Stoker (“The Dead Boy At Your Window”, 1998), the World Fantasy Award (“Don Ysidro”, 2004), and the Pushcart Prize (also “The Dead Boy At Your Window”). It’s telling that the same story earned laurels from the premier horror and literary fiction organizations — the stories Bruce writes have a certain universality about them. Among many other places, his stories were included in both the original 1992 Flash Fiction anthology that coined the term and its 2006 follow-up, Flash Fiction Forward. The Keyhole Opera, a collection of his short stories, won the 2006 World Fantasy Award for best collection.
Bruce effectively communicates about writing as well. He is an educator, currently serving on the faculty of the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, and he wrote Word Work: Surviving and Thriving As a Writer. His new monthly column will discuss pragmatic and effective ways to create short-short fiction — whatever that is. Read the first column to see what I mean.
Something For Everyone
We haven’t forgotten about readers, though. For June we have two new stories, one classic flash, and something I can only call “speculative non-fiction”. They’re all quite different — one of the great things about reading such short stories is that you can move between genres and styles very quickly.
Wade Rigney’s “The Sad Girl” is a horror story, but not a slash-fest; I love the development of the two boys as they visit the old Patterson Mill. I like the ambiguity of the end, too, and I won’t say more about it because I don’t want to spoil anything. If you’d like to discuss it, though, you can join us on the Flash Forum.
Our second story is a more lighthearted science fiction story by William Highsmith called “Copper Boss”. You don’t need to know who Joe Hill was to read it, but if you do you’ll understand the reference in the story: “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” was sung by Joan Baez at Woodstock. What do robots have to do with Joan Baez? Just read the story.
Dave Hoing joins us again, after February’s Souls of the Harvest, but this time with a different sort of piece. When Dave sent it to me, he said he wasn’t sure where else it should go; it was short enough to be flash, but he wasn’t sure that it was fictional enough to be fiction. I pretty much trust that whatever Dave writes will be good, so I checked it out, and sure enough, it’s worth reading, and it’s speculative, but it’s not exactly fiction. I bought it anyway. He lured me in with my love for old books, and I’m now officially jealous of his collection. “Hand of the Dead”, then, is Flash Fiction Online’s first (and probably only) work of speculative non-fiction.
Our final story, a Classic Flash, comes from the hand of Gabriel García Márquez. It has been reprinted on the Internet many times, but it’s worth doing it again here. Although I cordially dislike fiction that makes an explicit political point, and “One Of These Days” is definitely about power, I think the development of the dentist and the fulfillment of the story make it well worth the read.
And did I mention R.W. Ware’s original art on each story? Make sure you click on the pictures to get the full-sized versions. They’re several megabytes each, but I like to see the details.