October 2019 favorites

October 2019

The October stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Death Of Halpin Frayser’ by Ambrose Bierce
  2. ‘Rip Van Winkle’ by Washington Irving
  3. ‘Heat’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  4. ‘On The Hill’ by Elizabeth Spencer
  5. ‘In The Region Of Ice’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. ‘Ghost Girls’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  7. ‘The Heroine’ by Patricia Highsmith
  8. ‘High Lonesome’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  9. ‘The Nine Billion Names Of God’ by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. ‘The Swimmers’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  11. ‘The Tragedy At Marsdon Manor’ by Agatha Christie
  12. ‘Three Is A Lucky Number’ by Margery Allingham
  13. ‘La Moretta’ by Maggie Shipstead
  14. ‘The Doll’s Ghost’ by F. Marion Crawford
  15. ‘Afterward’ by Edith Wharton
  16. ‘The Leather Funnel’ by Arthur Conan Doyle

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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January 2015 favorites


January 2015

The January stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘How I Met My Husband’ by Alice Munro
  2. ‘Bardon Bus’ by Alice Munro
  3. ‘One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts’ by Shirley Jackson
  4. ‘The Open Boat’ by Stephen Crane
  5. ‘Where I’m Calling From’ by Raymond Carver
  6. ‘The Drunkard’ by Frank O’Connor
  7. ‘The Wind And The Snow Of Winter’ by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  8. ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker
  9. ‘The Enormous Radio’ by John Cheever
  10. ‘The View From Castle Rock’ by Alice Munro
  11. ‘Boys And Girls’ by Alice Munro
  12. ‘The Sun, The Moon, The Stars’ by Junot Diaz
  13. ‘The Skull’ by Philip K. Dick
  14. ‘The NRACP’ by George P. Elliott
  15. ‘Train’ by Alice Munro
  16. ‘The Other Foot’ by Ray Bradbury
  17. ‘Pigeon Feathers’ by John Updike
  18. ‘Jokester’ by Isaac Asimov
  19. ‘Tell Me A Riddle’ by Tillie Olsen
  20. ‘The Speech Of Polly Baker’ by Benjamin Franklin
  21. ‘The Star’ by Arthur C. Clarke

‘The Star’ by Arthur C. Clarke

Clarke, Arthur C. 1967

The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, 1967

The magic trick:

Turning a science-fiction story into a comment about religion and philosophy

Well, I tried. This is the fifth – and mercifully final – day of Science Fiction Week here at the blog, and I can say these stories have done little to win my heart. I did enjoy “The Skull” quite a bit, but today’s entry – “The Star” – confirms my worst impressions of the genre. Not content to merely entertain his audience, Clarke loads his starship adventure with heavy doses of philosophical pontificating and religious guilt. And that’s quite a trick on his part. I give him credit, and should be so lucky to make such intelligent points in anything I ever write. It’s just not my cup of tea.

The selection:

The Rubens engraving of Loyola seems to mock me as it hangs there above the spectrophotometer tracings. What would you, Father, have made of this knowledge that has come into my keeping, so far from the little world that was all the Universe you knew? Would your faith have risen to the challenge, as mine has failed to do?