Posts Tagged steampunk

Flash Fiction Online, #2 January 2008

Flash Fiction Online is a new site that pays pro rates for flash fiction. You know, stories under a thousand words. I myself enjoy shorter stories though do admit some can be pretty stupid or just rely too heavily on a pun or ironic twist at the end that doesn’t ultimately make the piece of story. Well, let’s take a look…

“The Materialist” by Eric Garcia starts with a doctor waking up to discover himself on fire. A predicament, for sure. Once that problem is dealt with, a new one surfaces. He finds his entire body covered in a weird solution. The story’s quite dark, and has a nastiness to it that is much appreciated. The doctor begins…er, creating pieces of silver and platinum, selling his wares and living a dream. I enjoyed it and thought it was a well-accomplished story that balanced horror and humor effectively.

Rating: 8 anonymous stars out of 10

“James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry in South Lake Tahoe” by Stefanie Freele has the sort of title that gets under my skin. It is trying too hard, revealing far too much before the journey can even begin. Anyways, for all that, Freele offers up a frenetic tale about a man named Stu and his Family of Four. Stu’s driving to South Lake Tahoe, and along the way we get glimspes into his family’s life (yup, even Beebop the dog’s). Amazingly, this is done very well. I think the quickness of the prose, the no-lingering-here aura surrounding ‘graphs and sentences alike made everything go so smooth. Though I can’t say I got the ending or the inclusion of James Brown here. Maybe I missed something along the ride…

Rating: 7.5 anonymous stars out of 10

In “The Human Clockwork” by Beth Wodzinski, a Sundial Woman nabs the Human Clockwork’s spot in the park, stealing his thunder. People come and flock to the woman telling time with her shadow. Jealousy will soon rear its ugly head. This is a weird story, but weird in a good way. It has all the makings of a steampunk story, with clockwork obviously being a heavy theme, and the absurdness is what makes it special. Wodzinski paces the piece well, and by the end had me rooting for love and redemption all the same.

Rating: 8 anonymous stars out of 10

More stories need to open with a squirrel in a bar. I’m just saying. “Speed Dating and Spirit Guides” by Rod M. Santos deals with speed-dating. Joseph Ahanu can see totems–animal-esque spirt guides–and for the girls he’ll soon meet, this ability will come in handy sooner than he expected. A fun story, with some jokes and splashes of humor. Unlike Garcia’s, the jokes relied on pop culture and timing. The idea of animal spirit guides isn’t really too far from Philip Pullman’s daemons, but mixed with modern bits of socializing it is workable.

Rating: 7.5 anonymous stars out of 10

I decided not to read the classic flash fiction, “Mold of the Earth” by Boleslaw Prus, simply because, right now, I’m only interested in what is being written recently and what is being published in 2008. 

Flash fiction is tough stuff. And one thousand words isn’t very much at all. Why, this little blog post here is almost 600 words. Now imagine all this plus 400 more words and that it had to be a story, a coherent one with characters and a plot and some sort of conflict/resolution. I can say this about Flash Fiction Online: they are publishing original speculative fiction that pushes the edge. Some are better than others, but for the most part everything is worth a read. And the black-and-white illustrations accompany each piece are nice additions.

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