Is “Paper Anniversary” Too Ironic For A Web Site?
This is our first anniversary issue — lucky thirteen — and I’m happy to report a lot of great things going on here at Flash Fiction Online.
First, we received notice that Bruce Holland Rogers’s “Reconstruction Work” won the first annual Micro Award. Bruce was the first author I contacted when starting the magazine, and he graciously provided a few great stories and allowed us to select the best of them to kick off our publication. If you don’t know Bruce very well, check out his author page to find a variety of his stories online, as well as a complete list of his Flash Fiction Online columns about “Writing the Short-short Story”. And to get more of his stories all year around, visit shortshortshort.com, his personal / professional Web site.
Second, we sent out nominations for the Pushcart Prize, which is a prestigious award for small-press short works. We had thirty-five stories eligible and the opportunity for six nominations. The Pushcart Prize tends toward literary rather than genre fiction, but flash can be tough to categorize — is Eric Garcia’s “The Materialist” fantasy, or magical realism? How about Jennifer Tatroe’s “Gone”? I think Bruce McAllister’s “Game” is science fiction, but only by a CPU. Other notable stories that fit more easily into the pushcart include Dave Hoing’s “Souls of the Harvest”, David Tallerman’s “Strive to be Happy”, and Stefanie Freele’s (I always feel like I have to take a deep breath here) “James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry in South Lake Tahoe”.
Third, we’ve started to create audio versions of the stories on the site. This is an involved process, even for short-short stories, but we’re going to try to put out one story every two weeks, and more often if we can. We’re starting with the award-winning “Reconstruction Work”. We’ll produce it as a podcast to make it easy to receive; you can use the feed directly, or subscribe to it on iTunes.
Finally, let’s talk about this month’s stories.
“Shelter” by Lydia Ondrusek leads us off. This is a touching little fantasy, sweet and sad and hopeful. (R.W. Ware’s artwork suits it perfectly — definitely my favorite of the issue.) Her opening lines drew me in, and then she said, “Scales. I should be doing scales, I think, and go for a cup of tea. The problem is, I don’t play the piano. And I don’t drink tea.” They say that a story is a promise, and I love the way Lydia keeps the promise of these first few lines.
The winter solstice has always been a time to reflect on death and resurrection, whether in pagan celebrations or the Christian celebration of the God who is born so that He can die and live again. In that spirit, we offer “Normalized Death” by Sue Burke. This story really got us talking during editorial review. Its narrator is very direct, and she focuses on how normal death is; but sometimes the way we cope with normal things isn’t very direct at all. In Sue’s submission email, she wrote, “This is a science fiction story, but just barely, the way the pharmaceutical industry is going,” and in her bio she says, “She held her father’s hand as he died.” The story is clearly true, whether it’s factual or not.
Although I love both of these stories, I thought that we could use a little bit of Christmas spirit as well. Wade Rigney lifts the mood with “Pocket Change”, a great little story about a man with a criminal record — and a daughter who deserves a Christmas present. This is Wade’s second appearance in Flash Fiction Online.
Just in case you think we’re getting too soft, we also provided a Classic Flash from 1960, a short-short science fiction piece by Fredric Brown called “Earthmen Bearing Gifts”. Let’s just say that it’s not a Christmas story.
Readers and writers alike should check out Bruce Holland Rogers’s latest column. This one’s on the “three-six-nine” form, and even if you don’t want to write them you’ll enjoy the stories that are embedded in the column.
Don’t forget to check out the forums, of course, and if you’d like to spread the holiday cheer you can leave your favorite authors a little tip. Thanks for being with us!
Tip the Author
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About the Author
Jake Freivald lives in New Jersey in a house that teems with life: a wife, eight kids, two dogs, two cats, and ten fish. They’re all being neglected right now, so he’s going to stop writing this.
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