The Return of Talking Time

Go Back   The Return of Talking Time > Talking about media > Talking about books

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-31-2008, 08:59 PM
ravinoff's Avatar
ravinoff ravinoff is offline
out of how many points?
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: a bit north of atlanta
Posts: 1,250
Default Great Short Stories

I love short stories just as much as I love novels, but good discussion or even recommendations of short stories seems much rarer than the equivalent for novels. I guess this is me trying to counter that a little, by discussing some of my favorites from a number of genres.

Jorge Luis Borges
Not only my favorite short story author but one of my top 3 authors period. Probably Argentina's most famous writer. Some of his stories are metaphysical or philosophical horror stories, and he seems to have had a underlying fear of mirrors and the concept of infinity (in many incarnations, be it infinite life, infinite space, or even just the abstract concept). In contrast many of his stories concern rural and gaucho lifestyles in Argentina, complete with bandits, revolutionaries and plenty of knife fights. Borges loved to play with literary form and presentation and while he himself is classified as a modernist some of his work in this area certainly presages postmodernism (example: he never wrote any novels, but sometimes when he had an idea for a novel he would pretend it was already written and write either a review or a literary criticism of it). Some personal favorites:

Tlon Uqbar: Orbis Tertius: A epistemological horror story concerning the idealism of Berkeley.

The Immortal: A story concerning the implications of immortality.

Library of Babel: http://jubal.westnet.com/hyperdiscor..._of_babel.html I'll let the story speak for itself, its quite short (the above isn't my favorite translation, but its not bad).

The Garden of Forking Paths: A story thats central concept is strikingly similar to the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics, even though it predates that by a number of years.


G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton wrote everything from novels to poetry to essays on all the topics of his day but what we are concerned with here is his Father Brown stories. I am generally not a big fan of mystery fiction (well unless its really noir-ish or melded with another genre) but I make a major exception for the Father Brown stories, they are so fucking fantastic. The stories are full of wit, humor, beautiful prose and extremely well crafted mystery. I'm not gonna list any specifics but instead will link to the Project Gutenberg version of the first collection if Father Brown stories: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/204


Gene Wolfe
Gene Wolfe is a science fiction/fantasy writer best known for his The Book of the New Sun series. His writings very commonly have major themes dealing with personal identity and the nature of memory. While Wolfe's work is perfectly satisfying to read strictly on the surface level there are usually enigmas and depths to explore. Wolfe plays fair, he gives you the information to put things together. What he doesn't do is coddle you, he's probably only going to say something once. Some favorites:

Golden City Far: Won a Locus award. In many ways a parallel of Wolfe's Wizard Knight pair of novels (although not in any way directly connected). A coming of age story, with swords and stuff.

A Solar Labyrinth: A story concerning a labyrinth of a most unusual construction.

Parkroads: A rather Borgesian story, in the form of a movie review.

Redwood Coast Roamer: A set of four extremely short stories (one and a half pages each or so), the first of which is my probably my favorite thing Wolfe has written.


James Joyce
Not really gonna say much on Joyce, there is certainly no lack of writing about the man's work. I will say that the final short story in Dubliners, The Dead, is one of my all time favorite short stories; mainly due to its ending.


Samuel Delany
Another great science fiction author. Often deals with language and human sexuality. I strongly recommend Empire Star, at around 90 pages I guess its a novella and not a short story but oh well. Empire Star reminds me of a Celtic knot in structure, zoomed in so close that you can't see the knot, you can only follow the strand of the knot you are on. Near the end of it the focus pulls back, and you can see the knot as a whole, and how it weaves into itself over and over.

I am looking forward for recommendations of other good short fiction.

Last edited by ravinoff; 07-31-2008 at 10:38 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-31-2008, 09:17 PM
Dizzy Dizzy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 27,309
Default

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."
No details. Just read it. The less you know, the better.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-31-2008, 09:18 PM
dussssstin's Avatar
dussssstin dussssstin is offline
stream monster
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lone Star State
Posts: 2,827
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."
No details. Just read it. The less you know, the better.
i had to read this in class. i liked it a lot. i was then known as the effed up kid.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-31-2008, 09:22 PM
ravinoff's Avatar
ravinoff ravinoff is offline
out of how many points?
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: a bit north of atlanta
Posts: 1,250
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."
No details. Just read it. The less you know, the better.
That is a great story. I need to reread it, its been probably 10 years or more since the last time I did
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-31-2008, 10:06 PM
shivam's Avatar
shivam shivam is offline
gatchapon 3*
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Mateo
Posts: 24,191
Default

ernest hemingway. say what you will about the man's novels; his short stories are among the best in the language.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-31-2008, 10:15 PM
Figure Four's Avatar
Figure Four Figure Four is offline
This is what happens!
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 844
Default

Ray Bradbury is probably my favorite short story author. Of the collections I've read I'd recommend the Illustrated Man because it contains my favorite short story ever, "Kaleidoscope." Though you can't really go wrong when you're reading Bradbury.

I'd also recommend "A Study in Emerald," by Neil Gaiman. It's Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft crossover fiction and it is awesome.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-01-2008, 08:12 AM
ajr82's Avatar
ajr82 ajr82 is offline
There he is!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 5,754
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Figure Four View Post
Ray Bradbury is probably my favorite short story author. Of the collections I've read I'd recommend the Illustrated Man because it contains my favorite short story ever, "Kaleidoscope." Though you can't really go wrong when you're reading Bradbury.
Much as I like The Martian Chronicles and parts of The Illustrated Man, I think you absolutely can go wrong with Bradbury if you're reading most of the stuff in I Sing The Body Electric, which I hated.

As far as Lovecraft, my favourites are The Colour Out of Space and The Whisperer In Darkness, though they may be a bit too long to qualify as short stories, and I'm not starting a novellas thread. Oh, also, The Statement of Randolph Carter still creeps me out.

As for my favourite short story author, I might go with Franz Kafka. The Complete Stories is an amazing book.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-31-2008, 10:30 PM
ravinoff's Avatar
ravinoff ravinoff is offline
out of how many points?
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: a bit north of atlanta
Posts: 1,250
Default

shivam: While I have mixed feelings about his novels (liked Old Man and the Sea, didn't care for the Sun Also Rises) I have never read his short fiction, I shall rectify that.

Figure Four: A Study In Emerald is a great story, Gaiman's short stories in general are very entertaining. Another Gaiman story with ties to Lovecraft's mythos is Shoggoth's Old Peculiar.

shivam's suggestion of Hemingway reminds me of another truly exceptional author of short fiction, Herman Melville. Melville's short fiction contain most of his strengths and very few of his weaknesses. Anyone who tried to read Moby Dick and enjoyed the prose but got bored with the story, or the pacing of the story I strongly suggest looking into Melville's short stories and novellas.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-31-2008, 10:34 PM
Issun's Avatar
Issun Issun is offline
Stop:
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sad Lesbian Capital of the World
Posts: 14,897
Default

I can't help noticing this thread lacks H.P. Lovecraft as anything but a comparison. I suggest reading the man himself. If you haven't already.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-01-2008, 06:59 AM
Sprite's Avatar
Sprite Sprite is offline
Crazy Old Bird
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 18,638
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivam View Post
ernest hemingway. say what you will about the man's novels; his short stories are among the best in the language.
Yeah, this. "Nothing happens" is a terrible concept for a novel but a delicious concept for a short story.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-01-2008, 04:03 AM
pence's Avatar
pence pence is offline
and ermine, too
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: West Chester, PA
Posts: 5,555
Default

Great short stories? Ender's Game comes to mind, does that count?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Your posts İyou, 2007