Flash Fiction Online, #3 February 2008

We’re back with another issue of Flash Fiction Online, which is quickly becoming an excellent e-zine for the latest and greatest works of short prose.

“Souls of the Harvest” by Dave Hoing takes us into the farmlands, where a lonely old farmer, after receiving some bad news via a doctor’s visit, takes one more night to reflect on how, truly, without a doubt, he’s the richest of men. To say anything else could ruin the piece, which, from the looks of it, is shorter than the author’s accompanying bio. Still, the voice here is spectacular, and the tale being told is a profoundly touching one, economically assuring and deeply moving. Cheers to the FFO team for putting this one first in the current issue, for it absolutely stands above the rest.

Rating: 9 anonymous stars out of 10

I’d outright claim the dialogue to be somewhat stilted in “Apologies All Around” by Jeff Soesbe if it weren’t, in fact, mostly given by a robot. The doorbell rings, and Winston Sinclair (sounds like the name of a richly-endowed Simpsons character, eh?) assumes it to be a sales bot at the door, trying to make some money. But he is put off to discover the robot is there for another reason altogether: to apologize. The story is mostly talking heads, with a lot of information being squeezed out wherever Soesbe can manage it. At times, it came close to removing me from the piece, but as I read on and on it became clear that a solid mystery was about to unfold. The ending lacked a certain punch though, as if, suddenly Sinclair now realizing he’d fumbled his words was going to put things right by…building a…robot (!). Eh. The buildup was there, and the idea of accepting apologies via giving them was fun, but the story just didn’t resolve as strongly as it started.

Rating: 7.5 anonymous stars out of 10

“Masquerade at Well Country Camp” by Ann Pino does what flash fiction should ultimately always do: tell a complete story. Which is a tough thing to do when words are limited and each one needs to count immensely. Pino sets a scene that somehow, somehow, reminded me of a distilled concentration camp on the verge of dying out. Plus, there’s clowns. And strong, likable characters. As well as a unique bit of slang. The plot is not action-heavy, but rather emotionally draining. We watch these people attend this party, knowing what pain they suffer, not knowing why though, and all throughout we’re forced to wonder. I like that, vague as it is, and yet there is a fist full of closure at the end, which helps to wrap up a very solid issue of Flash Fiction Online.

Rating: 8.5 anonymous stars out of 10

Looking forward to the next one…

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3 Comments »

  1. Flash Fiction that doesn’t bother actually telling a story makes me cry.

  2. Amen! Flash fiction that don’t tell stories are vignittes…which are fine, if, y’know, the goal is to write a vignette.

  3. I’ll give an “Amen” as well.

    Ann’s piece is set in a TB ward. We couldn’t find a way to make that clear in a non-clunky way, so I’m hoping that lots of people “get it” and that those who don’t are able to appreciate the story anyway.

    The new issue’s up — looking forward to your review. 🙂

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