Short story suggestions…

Short story suggestions requested, please?

In the past, I've typically used an anthology of fiction for my advanced writing class, along with a craft book. This time around, I think I want to try something different -- for half the semester, I'll provide stories I think are just great, and for the second half, I'm going to ask the students to bring in and present stories they think are just great (keeping the focus on craft).

To that end, I'm casting the net open for suggestions -- if you could recommend an excellent story to an advanced fiction writing class, what would it be? These are mostly English majors who will likely have read most of the famous short story writers -- Hemingway, Munro, Salinger, etc. So I'm looking more for things they might not have heard of, but which you will passionately defend as fabulous. Genre stuff is welcome!

And, to make this more challenging for you (but much easier for my students), the story should either be available free online, or cost no more than $1.99 to download in a widely-available format, such as PDF. Nothing that requires owning a Kindle, for example.

If you feel like also telling me why you like that piece, even better. :-)

-- update: thanks for all the suggestions -- will read today, compile a list, and post!

5 thoughts on “Short story suggestions…”

  1. There is short short story by Ray Bradbury called “Icarus Montgolfier Wright” which I have always loved. Doing a brief search, I can only find references to a film based on it, but I first read it in one of the “pulp” sf magazines around 1960. If I have time I will spend more time looking for it.

  2. Kim Stanley Robinson’s pair “The Lucky Strike” and “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions” are suspenseful, mind-boggling, and thought-provoking. I can’t tell where to get them for cheap or free, though. The PM Press chapbook that contains them both is $8.00.

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2011/20110321/lion-f.shtml “起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion�The Lion Bows)” by Zen Cho is of course available to read for free online. It’s moving and subtle, and uses dialect and cultural differences well.

  3. Ditto Sumana’s first two suggestions! I don’t know the third.

    I like Aimee Bender; here’s a good one online: http://www.nerve.com/fiction/benderaimee/onasaturdayafternoon

    Lots of stuff comes to mind which I don’t know if you can get for free or cheap; Donald Barthelme, for instance. Everyone (FB, G+, here) seems to be suggesting you Ellison; that sort of surprises me as a lot of that stuff, re-reading it now, seems pompous and self-aggrandizing to me. Damon Knight’s “The Country of the Kind” holds up better, for that kind of thing.

  4. I may have started accumulating short stories for a future English class (I’ve got to do something with a minor in the teaching of English), and I have two minor suggestions. I found .pdf files of both of these online, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    “Boys” by Rick Moody is a stream-of-consciousness narrative that really plays with repetition and parallelism to chronicle the life of two brothers from birth to adulthood. It’s short, simple, matter-of-fact, yet unexpectedly emotional.

    If you’re looking for something a little more you, I suggest Kim Addonizio’s “Ever After.” It’s premise felt cliche to me: seven dwarfs live in a loft, waiting for Her to appear, just as it says in the Book. It’s a self-aware fairy tale set in the cold, modern, and all-too-real world. It’s less a fish-out-of-water and more of a water-out-of-fish.

    I miss your class. Mazza didn’t let Cam and me write fun fiction…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *