• Steve Haywood

Short Stories Read - January 2021

I have challenged myself to read a short story a day during 2021. I'm not trying to make myself read a story each and every day, I will inevitably fail at that, but one for each day of the year, so 365 short stories in total. I'm intending to read a wide variety of stories in different genres, but including the following:

Anthologies - I've got a few anthologies in my reading pile, so I'll dip into these throughout the year. Some are giant multi-author anthologies, but there's also single author collections including from Ernest Hemingway, Ursula K Le Guin and Somerset Maugham.

Online journals and literary magazines - This will be a large chunk of the stories that I read, both mainstream and small press lit mags, and the speculative fiction magazines.

Hugo Award Winners - I'm hoping to read all of science fiction's Hugo Short Story Winners, from 1955 to the present day. I've already read a few, but that probably leaves about 50 I haven't read.

Christmas Stories - It is obviously a long way off, but I've got a couple of Christmas themed anthologies, and I'm hoping to round off the year with these in December.

What I've Read So Far

I'm a little behind in January, but not too bad. Here's what I've read in the first month:

I read some stories from collections by several classic authors: Anton Chekhov, Somerset Maugham and Ernest Hemingway. I'll probably be coming back to these throughout the year.

The Death of a Civil Servant by Anton Chekhov

Sergeant Prishibeyev by Anton Chekhov

Misery by Anton Chekhov

The Luncheon by Somerset Maugham

The Ant and the Grasshopper by Somerset Maugham

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway

Up In Michigan by Ernest Hemingway

On the Quai at Smyrna by Ernest Hemingway

Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway

The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife by Ernest Hemingway

The End of Something by Ernest Hemingway

Of these, my favourites were Misery and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. Hemingway is a great stylist, but most of his stories so far didn't do a lot for me.

I also read several other non-genre stories.

Petrified Man by Eudora Welty

The Drover's Wife by Henry Lawson

Saint Marie by Louise Erdrich

Of these, my favourite was The Drover's Wife. Henry Lawson was a rather well regarded Australian author of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I read this story in an anthology, Best Australian Short Stories.

Next up are the science fiction / fantasy short stories read this month. I've got a couple of things going on here. I've started on Ursula K Le Guin's 2 volume 'The Real and the Unreal' collection of stories, I've started reading my way through the Hugo Short Story winners from 1955 onwards (more on that in a separate post soon), and I've also read a few stories from online SF magazines

Across From Her Dead Father in an Airport Bar by Brian Trent (from Flash Fiction Online)

The Salt Witch by Martha Wells (from Uncanny Magazine)

Tyrannosaurus Hex by Sam J Miller (from Uncanny Magazine)

Semley's Necklace: A Story by Ursula K. Le Guin

Or All the Seas with Oysters by Avram Davidson

That Hell Bound Train by Robert Bloch

Nine Lives by Ursula K Le Guin

Mr Death by Alix E. Harrow (from Apex Magazine)

Probably my favourite from that bunch, and my overall for the month, is That Hell Bound Train by Robert Bloch, followed by Nine Lives and then maybe Mr Death.

In total, 22 stories in the month. Not bad, but I've definitely got some catching up to do!

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