My Year of Short Stories: August 17th-22th

My Year of Short Stories is an ongoing challenge I’ve set myself. My goal is to read 365 short stories from the day after I turned 30 (August 14th, 2017) to the day after I turn 31 (August 14th, 2018). 

August 17th, 2017, The Nyctalops Trilogy: II. Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes by Thomas Ligotti, Published in Songs of a Dead Dreamer & Grimscribe, Penguin Classics.

Blurb: A hypnotist performs a show for some rich, society folks and makes them all fall in love with his assistant. However, she isn’t what she seems.

Opinion: This one isn’t as good as good as The Chemist, but it’s still a clever story. What I enjoyed most about it was the attention the author gives to the worst of humanity in terms of our fascination with danger, blood, death, and the morbid aspects of life. Everyone has craned their necks to see a car crash. But why?

August 18th, 2017, Kalahari Hopscotch by Greg Tate, published in The Believer, issue Aug/Sept, 2017

Blurb: An essay (yes, I’m including essays) derived from a lecture on Afro-Futurism by Greg Tate.

Opinion: I feel my opinion matters very little in regards to this essay. It’s a philosophical look at the past and future of the African (American) and the identity confusion that slavery within the United States has created for so many. I think the piece can be summed up with this excerpt, which is thought-provoking.

So what kind of African are you is the real mystery of history? (‘Are you free or are you mystery?’) The DNA might say Zimbabwe, but when you came asking Richard Pryor about your roots, he said, ‘You came from Cleveland.’ And that was true, too, because you were blessed or cursed with this whole double-consciousness thing–you’re your own twin, your own masks of Janus, your own Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson and Al Jolson, too. You’ve learned to see yourself from the inside out and from the outside in and from the outside out, too. It’s why your champions are often given to talking about themselves in the third person like they’re having an out-of-body experience.”

August 19th, 2017, The Nyctalops Trilogy: III. Eye of The Lynx by Thomas Ligotti, Published in Songs of a Dead Dreamer & Grimscribe, Penguin Classics.

Blurb: A man visits an underground brothel of sorts with a Gothic bent with the intent of pleasure, but his pleasure is far darker than even the darkness of this underbelly establishment.

Opinion: This is my least favorite story in The Nyctalops Trilogy. The conclusion just didn’t have enough build up. It didn’t feel earned. I never really had a sense of where this piece was going and once I got to the last page I was a bit puzzled on how I’d gotten there.

August 20th, 2017, A Tribute To Alvin Buenaventura by Greg Tate, published in The Believer, issue Aug/Sept, 2017

Blurb: This was, more or less, a eulogy for a cartoonist, editor, and publisher.

Opinion: It’s difficult to have an opinion about a eulogy for someone you never knew and never heard of. It’s interesting though, having this tiny look into his life provided by some of his friends. It made me wonder what I’d write if one of my best friends died today–or what my friends may write about me. Buenaventura, by all accounts, was a quiet person, not forceful, but certainly capable or he wouldn’t have had the sway in the industry that he did. A sad snapshot of an archivist of art.

August 21st, 2017, The Sum of His Parts by Kevin J. Anderson, published in Apex: Volume 1, Issue 9, 2007.

Blurb: Have you ever wondered where the body parts of Frankenstein’s monster came from? The people behind the monster? Well, this story lets you know.

Opinion: I liked this story. It gives some cool background on how Doctor Frankenstein found the human body parts to make his monster. The story is basically a series of vignettes about the people who end up “contributing” body parts to the monster.

August 22nd, 2017, The Rich Are Different by Lisa Morton, published in Cemetery Dance, issue 74/75, 2016

Blurb: A author is invited to meet the aristocratic family after writing a scathing novelization of them only to find that the rich are far more different than she could ever have known.

Opinion: This is a well written piece or horror that plays with some fun story telling elements despite having a rather predictable ending. It pulls on some cool myths and applies them to modern times.

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