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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » best short stories (or authors of)

   
Author Topic: best short stories (or authors of)
Wordcaster
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With so many of us working on short stories, I thought it would be worthwhile posting some of the best short stories (or authors of) that we've read.

I'll throw out one:
"Unaccompanied Sonata" by Orson Scott Card. I love his collection in my hardcover version (has more stories than the trade paperback) of Maps in a Mirror. It really is a fantastic treasury.


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axeminister
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"The River Styx Runs Upstream" by Dan Simmons.

From the anthology "Prayers to Broken Stones."

This short was a big hit when it came out. Won (tied) the Twilight Zone's first short story contest for unpublished writers out of nearly seven thousand entries.

If you want to learn to write a masterpiece in five thousand words, read this.

Axe


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History
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SLOW SCULPTURE by Theodore Sturgeon I found quite masterful.

I still get shivers from most of the short stories by Ray Bradbury, particularly his early work such as in THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES.

One of the creepiest horror stories I've read is William Hope Hodgson's THE HOG.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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Robert Nowall
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"A Pail of Air," Fritz Leiber. It's everything I ever wanted to write in a short story. Available in Selected Stories, released last year, along with a host of other great stories.
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JenniferHicks
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"Darkness Box," Ursula K. Le Guin
"Suffer the Little Children," Stephen King
"Tideline," Elizabeth Bear
"Spar," Kij Johnson
"Speech Sounds," Octavia Butler

[This message has been edited by JenniferHicks (edited March 05, 2011).]


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Foste
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And Other Such Delights - James Lecky

You can find it at Beneath Ceaeless Skies.


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Utahute72
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This will obviously date me.

"Robot AL76 goes Astray" Asimov
"Who goes there?" James Campbell
"Flowers for Algernon"
"The Dragon" Ray Bradbury

[This message has been edited by Utahute72 (edited March 05, 2011).]


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Robert Nowall
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"Who Goes There?" is John W. Campbell, not James...terrific read however you look at it.

*****

"Omnilingual," H. Beam Piper.


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Wordcaster
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Posting the link to Foste's recommendation of "And Other Such Delights" by James Lecky.

It was published within the last year. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Beautiful writing and a unique and clever story.


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Utahute72
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Thanks for the correction, yes it was John Campbell.
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Montag
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There will come soft rains - Ray Bradbury
Harrison Bergeron - Kurt Vonnegut

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Robert Nowall
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"---All You Zombies---", Robert A. Heinlein.
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izanobu
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"With Morning Comes Mistfall" George RR Martin

And pretty much any other short fiction by Martin.


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rich
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Just about anything by Ramsey Campbell.

"Night They Missed the Horror Show" by Joe Lansdale is a kick in the gut.

Partial to Bradbury's short fiction, especially his work from The October Country and Dark Carnival (which, I guess, is really the same book with just a few differences).

But my all-time favorite short story is "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff. I can read that thing over and over, and never get tired of it. I'm like a born again Christian with that story: always trying to get people to read it, and won't shut up about my conversion. It's on the web, just Google it.


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Grayson Morris
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Rich -- that *is* a wonderful story! Thanks for mentioning it.
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axeminister
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There was one more that was burning my brain.

After seeing all the recommendations by Ray Bradbury, I can't believe I'm going to suggest "All Summer in a Day."

Although I think if you went to school in the U.S., you've probably read it.

The 30 minute short film can be found online if interested.

Axe


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Grayson Morris
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Yes, that story has always stuck with me since I read it in high school.
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LDWriter2
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Someone brought up one of Isaac Asimov's robot stories. I think most of his stories would fit on this list. I loved his combo or should I say fusion, or detective and SF. I wish I could find them in one book..or two or three.


Than there is David Weber. "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington" is a good example of his shorter stuff but be warned he does to short stories what he does to novels. ...makes them not so short.


I rather like Jim Butcher's short stories. He threw in a surprise in one-it's a First Person POV of one of the other characters in his Dresden universe. Very well done I thought. "Even Hand" in the "Dark And Stormy Knight" anthology edited by P.N. Elrod I still love the name of that anthology.

Actually most of the stories in Elrod's Urban Fantasy anthologies could fit the description for this thread. There's one that starts where the MC receives a hand written letter from the Pope. The MC is the last dragon slayer and is keeping on eye on the last dragon supposedly asleep in a desert. Than there's the one about the blind witch and werewolf who wants her to find his brother. And of course the one about the Elvis impersonator who can do magic through Elvis' songs. That last one is in "My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding".

The witch and werewolf one does two things at once. I think it is an example of how pros can get by with breaking rules--I was just having a discussion along those lines with someone--the writer hides something from the reader, two things I believe and I think there was another rule broken. But at the same time she is a good example of how to mix an info dump with the story. The second scene is great.

If anyone is interested I can search for the titles.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited March 09, 2011).]


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Josephine Kait
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The Lady Or The Tiger? by Frank Stockton - my all-time favorite short story

Alien Plot by Piers Anthony - also the title of a collection of short stories, very interesting and entertaining


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Winters
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"Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin (as another mentioned, Martin is great). Love his concept in this story.

Also "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a great magical realism story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


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Robert Nowall
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Y'know, the list so far has been confined to SF / fantasy...I'll throw in P. G. Wodehouse, particularly the Jeeves and the Mulliner stories.

As for SF...

"Amanda and the Alien," Robert Silverberg.


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Grayson Morris
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"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry left a big impression on me.

[This message has been edited by Grayson Morris (edited March 13, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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I would agree about the Gift. I've read it three or four times because of the writing. I've seen the movie and know the story almost by heart but it's worth reading.

My local paper has published it almost every Christmas, hmmm not sure if they did in '10.



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Ethereon
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"A Home by the Sea" by Elisabeth Vonarburg

[This message has been edited by Ethereon (edited March 11, 2011).]


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Robert Nowall
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"Scanners Live in Vain," Cordwainer Smith.
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Wordcaster
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Just read The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang and really enjoyed it. Great take on time travel and fate vs free will.
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KayTi
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Gift of the Magi and The Lottery (Shirley Jackson, I think) were two of the only short stories I read in school that stuck with me, and each in a hauntingly beautiful way.

I have served as a slush reader for Flash Fiction Online since the beginning and have really LOVED some of the stories we've published,

Apologies All Around
James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry
Alligators by Twitter

Are three I can think of without even looking up titles, but we've had many really incredible stories come through our doors.


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LDWriter2
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Hmm, I read Alligators by Twitter. A different story.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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The ones I remember from school are "Most Dangerous Game" and "The Monkey's Paw." I should look those up and see who wrote them, I guess.
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Osiris
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My favorite short story so far is Frederik Pohl's FERMI AND FROST.
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Robert Nowall
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"The Most Dangerous Game," Richard Connell; "The Monkey's Paw," W. W. Jacobs. Don't credit my gigantic brain for remembering: I looked 'em up on Wikipedia. (I was pretty sure of "The Monkey's Paw," though.)

Since this one has come back to life..."The Next in Line," Ray Bradbury.


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EVOC
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"The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury has to be one of my all time favorites. I read it in High School at it is really what drew me to the genre.


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Smaug
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Levitation by Joseph Payne Brennan, Parson's Pleasure by Roald Dahl, and The Room in the Tower by E.F. Benson http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/roomtowr.htm are some of my favorites. I'm also kind of fond of Leiningen versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson - http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lvta.html

[This message has been edited by Smaug (edited September 20, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by Smaug (edited September 20, 2011).]


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Robert Nowall
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"The Death of Each Day," Margaret St. Clair.
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Brendan
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Given my love of idea stories, its interesting that the stories that most stick in my mind are more mood stories. Not quite sure of the size of a couple on my list.

A Saucer of Loneliness by Theodore Sturgeon

Crazy Maro by Daniel Keyes

The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter by Dan Simmons


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wise
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I may have missed it as I scrolled down, but "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov is the short story that has stuck in my head for the last 35 years.

I also refer to "A Boy and His Dog" from time to time, it's become pretty much a cliche. I read it before I ran into (not literally) Harlan Ellison in an elevator. Otherwise I probably would've skipped it. But now I know why the dog survived.

[ March 27, 2012, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: wise ]

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LDWriter2
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I never did finish "Nightfall".

But did you know there's a movie made from it? I saw it once at a video store.

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Robert Nowall
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You can't go by the movie; didn't doing that for English Lit. class teach you that?
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Merlion-Emrys
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I don't believe in "bests" but some of my favorites include:

Anything by Ray Bradbury.

"Born of Man and Woman", Richard Matheson.

"The Forbidden", Clive Barker.

Anything by H.P. Lovecraft.

"Smoke Ghost", Fritz Leiber.

"The Pool of the Stone God", and "The People of the Pit", A. Merrit.

Anything by Simon Logan.

"In the Court of the Dragon", Robert W. Chambers

"The Valley of the Worm", Robert E. Howard.

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Utahute72
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Lovecraft is great, Merlion, but I always figured I liked him because of my demented mind.

Nightfall is really good and was later expanded into a novella.

LD, have you read the short stories in the collection, "Asimov's Mysteries"? Those are all pretty good.

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LDWriter2
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Utahute

I probably have. It's been a few years since I read some of his stories. Wouldn't mind going back over some of them but I wish they were put some of his series together in one book. There was one Professor in the future who solved mysteries. Either there were only around half a dozen or I never found them all.

That last anthology of his I read was "Gold" wanted it as much for his essays on writing as for the stories. The essays were a disappointment, most were on his writing: interesting enough for a general fan. One or two I read were general enough to be of some help but not as much as I expected.

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Robert Nowall
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quote:
There was one Professor in the future who solved mysteries.
If it's the Wendell Urth stories you mean, all of 'em are in Asimov's Mysteries, along with several others. I think there were just four.

quote:
...but I wish they were put some of his series together in one book
I'm mystified. Most of Asimov's stuff got collected in one book or another...part of his prolific proclivities. You've just got to hunt them up.
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LDWriter2
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Like I said it was few years ago, make that quite a few years ago. But if there was only four of the Urth stories I probably did read them all-- could have been in one volume at that. But I don't think they were next to each other.
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