Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ranking Literary Magazines

Lincoln Michel, book editor at The Faster Times, has compiled a nice, ranked list of literary magazines. I thought this would be of interest to Flash Fiction Online readers and authors. Our readers occasionally read something of more than 1000 words in length and our writers have been known to accidentally write a 1001-word or longer story and would like to find a home for it.

Mr. Michel warned that his list was not based on his personal taste in literary magazines, but on reputation. He said:

It is based on the reputation of journals as I’ve gleaned them and related factors like distribution, contributors, pay rates and awards (especially Perpetual Folly’s very helpful Pushcart Prize Ranking). What publications would most impress an agent or editor? What magazines routinely crop up in the acknowledgements of new collections?

Enjoy.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flash Fiction in the Market

Duotrope.com is a great place to research fiction publications of interest to you. You may find many publications of which you were unaware. Duotrope's fiction home/search page has a database of about 2825 publications at present. You can search with various filters, such as genre, theme, length, media, pay scale and others.

I decided to search the database for various genres, with the length set to flash. The result is shown in the table below. Adding up the various genres may not be useful since many publications publish multiple genres. This doesn't guarantee that all publications found have ever or ever will publish flash fiction, but at least they are not officially opposed to it.


Flash Fiction Publications by Genre
All genres 1158
Mainstream 382
Experimental 267
Fantasy 176
Science Fiction 169
Horror 162
Magical Realism/Surrealism 123
Cross Genre/Slipstream 119
Mystery 57
Crime/Suspense 40
Action/Adventure 30
Erotica 23
Romance 16
Western9

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Reading of Jay Lake's "Golden Pepper"

Jay Lake was scheduled to be at Orycon this year, during which time he was going to have a reading of his own material. Instead, he was recovering from surgery for treatment of cancer. We, and all his fans, friends, and family, wish him the best.

Jeff Soesbe, David Levine, and Mary Robinette Kowal took his slot and did readings for him. They're available at Mary Robinette's blog. One of the stories is "Golden Pepper", which was originally published here in February of this year. (Coincidentally, Jeff's "Apologies All Around" was published here exactly one year earlier.)

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Worst Library Books Blog

The Awful Library Books blog is not about ripping authors' writing; it is about the books that should have been retired long ago, because they're out of date. They tend to be non-fiction books that are a bit long in the tooth. Recent examples on the blog include a career guide to getting a phonograph record company job--you know--pressing the hot wax. There are probably three, maybe four jobs on the planet doing that. The blog gives brief descriptions of the books and some nice retro book cover and sample page images. Another example is a twirling book. I think girls still twirl batons, but the illustrations are pleasingly retro. Of course, there are the computer books showing explicit photos of--you might want sit down--a floppy diskette.

A writer at Detroit Free Press, Korie Wilkins, points out that there's a serious side to this blog, that's received a lot of world-wide attention and submissions. According to the bloggists:

"Libraries are losing funds and staff. This is also a way for us to advocate for libraries and librarians."

In other words, library patrons become disenchanted when they have to slog through twenty now-pointless books before finding a useful one (if any).

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lists of Best Books 2009

It's getting close to the end of the year, so various best-0f-2009 book lists are appearing. Of course, 2009 will be revisited soon after it closes.

Publishers Weekly fashioned their list of 100 best books of 2009 by picking books in various categories, such as PW's top 10, fiction, poetry, mystery, science fiction/fantasy/horror, mass market, comics, and non-fiction. This list has the welcomed feature of a short synopsis for each book. PW has a separate list of children's best books for 2009. This and the following lists are editorial picks, rather than best-seller list.

Here are some other lists:

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection

This is still the bicentennial year of Edgar Allan Poe. If you're a Poe fan, you'll be interested in a Resource Shelf article about a digital collection of and about Poe's body of work. The collection includes, for example, letters about Poe and his writings by Arthur Conan Doyle and other notables.

The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection is hosted by the University of Texas, and includes these categories of documents:

  • Poe manuscript works
  • Poe letters and documents
  • Letters to Poe
  • Related letters and manuscripts
  • Books belonging to Poe
  • Poe editions
  • Sheet music for songs based on Poe's poetry
  • Poe portraiture and photographs
  • Poe miscellany
  • Poe newspapers

Resource Shelf is itself interesting. It is "a daily newsletter with resources of interest to information professionals, educators and journalists." I'll toss writers and readers into that list.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Subway Readers

What do subway readers read? The New York Times wondered and did a survey. In their article, "Reading Underground," they have anecdotes from interviews and a link to their subway readership survey results, the latter of which includes the top ten books, top ten magazines, and top ten newspapers.

Some routes, it seems, are suited to certain The New Yorker articles, because of the reading time. In this New York City-centric survey, the top three in each category are shown below. The magazine and newspaper categories are probably stable. The books will change frequently.


  • Magazines: The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The Economist.
  • Newspapers: The New York Times, AM New York, and Metro
  • Books: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Infinite Jest, and The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review of Recent Speculative Fiction Books

SFRevu.com has about 30 recent speculative fiction books concisely reviewed (and many more in their archives). The three most recent are:

  • A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
  • Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
  • Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

These are from their U.S. book list of reviews. The also have UK books and graphic novel/Manga reviews.

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e-Book Reader Review by Wired

On the occasion of a new Samsung e-book reader, Wired reviews the top eight e-book readers. There are no surprises (except perhaps a tablet-sized reader by Plastic Logic), but if you're thinking of buying one, the article gives a concise opinion of the choices.

Not mentioned is the Apple e-book reader play, which is now just "vaporware." Speculation is rampant, but many agree that Apple will have to do something special to differentiate it from and stand up to their iPhone, iPod and iTouch products. The Business Insider article speculates about how the 900-pound gorilla, iTunes, figures into the Apple e-book reader and Apple's relationship with traditional book and e-Book sellers, such as Amazon.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Limited-Time: Read Nebula-Nominated Short Fiction

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has made available for a free reading the five stories it has published and are nominated for the Nebula Award. As soon as the finalists of the award are announced, F&SF will remove the links.

Here's a chance to see, easily and at no cost, what this magazine and the SF community in general value.

The stories include:

  • "Kaleidoscope" by K.D. Wentworth
  • "The Tomb Wife" by Gwyneth Jones
  • "Pride and Prometheus" by John Kessel
  • "Mars: A Traveler's Guide" by Ruth Nestvold
  • "If Angels Fight" by Richard Bowes
  • "The Political Prisoner" by Charles Coleman Finlay

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. Government-sponsored program, encourages communities, through grants for the Big Read program, to select one of twenty-seven books for the whole community to read, followed by related community events. According to this NY times article, participation is wide-spread, although some communities find the program limiting and design their own programs.

More than 200 communities participate in the Big Read or similar programs, modeled after “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” a project launched in Washington in 1998.

On the Big Read website, there is a search facility to find nearby participating communities.

In a related (though not necessarily causative) January story, American fiction-reading is up after a long decline

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's on your iPod? What's Dusty on your Bookshelf?

The Irish Times made a survey to determine what books people lie about having read. Some of the biggies: Ulysses, 1984 (Seriously? Everyone's read that, haven't they?), the Holy Bible (the actual Bible, not the fishing bible, the cooking bible...THE Bible), War and Peace (I read it yesterday, coincidentally) and others.

I'm curious about the conduct of that survey. Did you read War and Peace? Sure, man. Come on, now...really? Well....this is a little embarrassing...I meant to.

I'd be interested in movies that people lied about not seeing. I personally have not seen Plan 9 from Outer Space five times. And never saw Barbarella (cough).

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Abandoned Book Warehouse Mayhem In Bristol

The treasure hunters stand knee-deep in Danielle Steels, Len Deightons and Jeffrey Archers, hoping to find more exotic literary fare.
The scene is Brislington, Bristol, England. The event: clearing out an abandoned warehouse of books. The warehouse owner invited the public to help themselves when the book stock owners did not remove the books. See the Mail Online article for photographs of the mayhem. The warehouse was an Amazon.com supplier.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Books for February, Jamie Ford

This NYT writer notes that the new books for February have love as a central theme. Those who hang around the Hatrack River Writers Forum will notice that the first novel in the list is Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Jamie is a frequent contributor to discussions on Hatrack. Congratulations, Jamie!

Jamie's historical novel addresses the interesting situation of a Chinese boy caught up in the anti-Japanese sentiment following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and a retrospective look back as an adult.

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Graphic Novels on Mobile Devices

Got iPhone? Then, according to PW, you can read Will Eisner's A Contract With God via a new application for reading graphic novels on mobile devices such as the iPod Touch. The company, Genus Corp will announce new licensed works later.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reading in the Digital Age

Did Christopher Columbus bring cell phones to the Indians? Apparently not. A digital librarian used this example of a seriously flawed Internet article to teach school children a healthy respect for the information and disinformation found on the Internet. This is the third of three articles in the NYT about reading in the digital age.

Previous articles [1 2] examined the debate over the value of reading on the Internet versus reading in print and how educators are using video games as bait to lure children to read.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Best SF/Fantasy Books in 2008

SF Site's Neil Walsh gives his picks here for the best Sci-Fi and fantasy books of 2008. I noticed that Neil Gaiman made the list with The Graveyard Book. He's been on a roll. We wrote about the movie rendition of Coraline. I watched Beowulf on DVD recently and noticed that Gaiman had written the original screenplay for that movie.

Let me check to see if Gaiman wrote the original novel....Nope. It was an epic poem of unknown authorship written in the 8-11th centuries. Let me check my calculator to see if Gaiman could have been the author....Nope, that would make him between 1000 and 1200 years old. There is no modern explanation for such an extended life. (It would explain a lot if he were, though.)

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Books for Visually Impaired

An Australian start-up company, ReadHowYouWant, is offering the visually impaired more options in large print editions: 16-24 point type, according to this PW article. They currently offer about 500 titles via their web site and Amazon.com.

This is good, of course. This idea seems a good fit for eReaders, too. When viewing FFO stories, your browser gives font-size options. In both recent Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers, it is under the View/Text Size menu. On Safari, it is View/MakeTextLarger.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Kindle, but is it Legal?

Some related stories: Amazon.com has a new Kendal with a lot of nice new features, including an improved display with 16 shades of gray and a reduced size. The WSJ article doesn't mention that the wireless cost has been reduced to zero; this information came from an e-mail from Amazon: "no monthly wireless bills, data plans, or commitments." Another new feature is text-to-speech, but this has turned controversial:

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."
A new competitor to the Kindle is the Plastic Logic eReader to come out in 2010. This is a paper-sized device, which fits with Plastic Logic's emphasis on newspapers and magazines.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Google Book Search Expands to iPhones and Android

Google announced a "mobile version of Google Book Search, opening up over 1.5 million mobile public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US)...."

These books were already accessible on Google Book Search but the mobile editions were optimized for small screens. From your iPhone or Android phone, go here to search for mobile editions of the books.

FFO covered an early debate about Google Book Search. (Scroll down the archive.) If you're not familiar with Android, it is an open source mobile phone software platform shepherded by Google.

Flash Fiction Online believes its own flash fiction archive is already optimized for small screens!

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Click and Jane: Book and eBook the Same?

Via the NYT, is a dusty book and an on-screen eBook graphically blinged up to look like a book the same? Ask a three-year-old: no. And some studies back him or her up. There is no substitute for Mommy or Daddy reading to their child...or even simply having books in the house.

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Dystopian Literature--An Overview

By way of SF Revu, here is Mary Rose-Shaffer's overview of dysopian literature. She says, "The author creates an entirely dysfunctional world posing as a functional one." This is contrast to an utopian world. Here is a list of some dystopian literature.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

1000 Novels You Must Read

1000 novels you must read, according to Guardian.co.uk, variously categorized in obvious and non-obvious ways (State of the Nation novels, War and Travel, Family and Self, Science Fiction and Fantasy...Whew!. (And they don't mind if you buy them via their bookstore). That'll be about 10 years at two novels per week. I hope Tolstoy didn't make their list.

Here are the best of SF/F selections (part 1).

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead Project

James Patterson launches his ReadKiddoRead website to encourage young readership. According to his website, his goal is to help "parents and educators connect their children with the books that will turn them into lifelong readers...." He does this by suggesting page-turners for various age groups. He started this when his own son showed a reluctance to read.

I noticed that his links to the various online booksellers appeared not to have an affiliate ID. That is, he gets no fee for sending his visitors to the online sellers, so I take this to be a heart-felt effort. (But he could donate such fees to a literacy organization.) He also linked to a library finder.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Storytelling and Reading

What does Grand Theft Auto, Twitter and Beowulf have in common? Storytelling is changing but still vital, says Sam Leith. One of the players in this change is MIT Media Lab's Center for Storytelling. But this slightly long-in-the-tooth story asks if we are still reading?

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