Thursday, December 6, 2012

Short Story Talking

I love when people start talking about short stories and yesterday over at LitReactor  Richard Thomas
got the ball rolling with his list of the ten best short stories.  More were added by other people in the comments then  John Horner Jacobs  posted a list on his blog, followed by  Jane Hammons with Steve Weddle posting his there in the comments.

UPDATE:  Steve has revised his list and posted it over at Do Some Damage

Now these are all great lists and I've read many of the stories but these seem to be all "Literary" lists.  So, I thought I'd throw out a bit of a genre list.  These are stories that I've read and enjoyed over the years, ones that have stuck with me even if they aren't considered classic shorts.  In no particular order:

1.  The Payoff by Stanley Ellin
2.  A Jury of her Peers by Susan Glaspell
3.  Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl
4.  Murder at the Automat by Cornell Woolrich
5.  A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner  And yes, I know it's considered literary but it's a crime story at heart.
6.  One Dollar's Worth by O. Henry  No short story list is complete without an O Henry story.  This is one of his lesser known stories but well worth the read.
7.  Warrior's Farewell by Edward D. Hoch  Another short story writer who should be on everyone's list and Warrior's Farewell is one of his darkest.
8.  Red Wind by Raymond Chandler
9.  Don't Look Behind You by Fredric Brown
10.  The Cage by Ray Russell

I'd also like to add Richard Matheson's I Am Legend though its 160 pages falls into novella territory.  Everyone should be reading Matheson.

So, that's my list.  Feel free to add your list in the comments.


Steve Weddle said...

rose for emily as crime

sandra seamans said...

Of course, it was the perfect murder.

Dyer Wilk said...

Matheson is a particular favorite of mine. He's one of the reasons I started writing, in fact. If there's one thing he taught me, it's that the last line of a story had better be a damn good one. It had better wrap the whole thing up, like an episode of The Twilight Zone––which makes sense since many episodes of the show were scripted by Matheson or based on his short stories.

Since "I Am Legend" is a bit long to make your list, I'd recommend "The Distributor." No other story from the '50s so effectively nails the divided social fabric of America. And no other character exploits it with such gruesome efficiency.

Great list, Sandra.

sandra seamans said...

Welcome to the Corner, Dyer!! I almost used "The Near Departed" as my choice, and that last sentence both creeps you out and makes you spit coffee :) but I really love I Am Legend. Haven't read "The Distributor", I'll have to see if I can find it.