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Numbers, Numbers Everywhere

Sometimes, as I’m putting together an issue, I realize that the stories I’m publishing are all related somehow. This month it’s not completely true, but only one of the items isn’t number-related. I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, the Preditors & Editors Poll numbers. Thanks to all of you who voted for us; notable standings are:

  1. Flash Fiction Online: #5 for Fiction Magazine/e-zine
  2. Bruce Holland Rogers, Short-short Sighted: #3 for Nonfiction Article
  3. Alan Grayce, “A Delivery of Cheesesteaks”: #4 for Science Fiction Short Story
  4. Jake Freivald: #8 for Magazine/e-zine Editor

To the stories:

The numbers in Paige Gardner’s “The Times That Bleed Together” all relate to time. She’s a college junior, but the complexity of this story would be hard even for more experienced writers to pull off. Its structure, which incorporates shifting time boundaries and repeated timelines, reminds me of Glenn Lewis Gillette’s “Downstream From Divorce”, but whereas Gillette’s story is earthly, Gardner’s is very much not.

Pêlos” by Aaron Bilodeau is a lighthearted and fun, a romantic fantasy. Plus it deals with gold, and dirt. And a bull. Or at least the potential for those things. If you hated math class, this is the best place to be in this issue.

Aimee C. Amodio’s “Six Reasons My Sister Hates Me” is one of those interesting stories that has a hard time settling into a plot, but which (as Bruce Holland Rogers will tell you later) is still a story because it satisfies the way a story should. I love these two characters, even though I barely know either one of them, and even though the narrator isn’t particularly reliable. It’s science fiction, but it may have broader appeal among those who like character-driven stories.

This month’s Classic Flash, “The Five Boons Of Life”, is by Mark Twain — but those of you who think he’s only a humorist will be surprised. Its ending reminds me of the humble prayer that God not give us what we deserve.

Our Short-short Sighted column by Bruce Holland Rogers is called “A Story of n Words: How Low Can You Go?.” But in order to discuss how short a story can be, he has to address what a story is. People who like nice, precise definitions will be disappointed, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate subjective answers more than ever. I think he does a wonderful job. And when you check out his examples — six one-sentence stories — I hope you’ll see how gratifying these little stories can be. I was never a big fan of Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” but Bruce’s little stories pack quite a punch. I was especially touched by the sixth one.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to vote!

 

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