A short story a day review

Month: June, 2012

The Pirate of Palm Beach by Ted Bell

by Barb Goffman


From the anthology The Rich and the Dead (Grand Central Publishing 2011)

This story is set in glitzy Palm Beach, where yachts dock for The Season and the wealthy throw parties for their friends and give extravagant gifts. It’s also the place where an anonymous gossip monger snoops into everyone and everything, but he has secrets of his own. In this story there is theft and conspiracy and lies and secrets. Some of which are kept and some of which are outed. The ending comes with a twist, but not one that you could see coming from anything that happened on the page, which, I have to say, made the story less enjoyable.

Death Benefits by Nelson DeMille

by Barb Goffman


From the anthology The Rich and the Dead (Grand Central Publishing, 2011).

I’m so far behind on posting about my reading. I’ll start to post what I can now and just try to catch up.

About this story: You know a story is good when it sticks with you, when you can remember the plot despite having read so many other short stories since that one, many of which in retrospect feel like a blur.

In this tale, a celebrated mystery writer has passed his pinnacle of success. Gone are the big deals. Gone, too, is all the money he made from those deals. Living the high life is expensive. He thinks about an insurance policy he has on his agent. Life insurance. He wonders if he has the guts to act like his characters do. And then he invites his agent out for a weekend at the beach…


“Rooftop” by Emily Gee

by kattomic

“Rooftop” by Emily Gee


Story 176/366

A friend of a friend committed suicide this weekend, an action that was not without warning, but which has still left his family and friends utterly devastated. I found myself surfing for stories about suicide, looking for one that came close to depicting the kind of pain that leads to the act and the pain of those left behind. I found this story by Emily Gee. You can read it here.

See you tomorrow!

Stop Me If You Heard This Before, Michelle Anne King, FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE

by Patti Abbott

A girl finds a way to get her father’s attention. Brilliant.

“In the Pound, Near Breaktime” by Kent Brewster

by kattomic

“In the Pound, Near Breaktime” by Kent Brewster


Story 175.366

A lot of writers have day jobs and Nebula-nominated writer Kent Brewster is no exception. His job title, though, is “technology evangelist.” This story was the one nominated for a Nebula (“Best short story 1996”) and was originally published in Tomorrow SF in October 1995. Written more than a decade ago, it’s pretty timely now as people give up pets they can no longer afford. You can read it here.

See you tomorrow!

I Got a Guy Once, Tess Gallagher, AT THE OWL WOMAN SALON

by Patti Abbott

#181-There is no way if I read this story without an author’s name above it that I would guess the author was a woman. The setting, the voice, everything about it says male writer. It’s the equivalent of a straightforward story set in a hair salon written by a man. It’s about loggers, barely making a living and how one of them owes all the others money, which they can not afford to give up.

“Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli

by kattomic

“Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli


Story 174/366

Antonelli is a science fiction writer who works exclusively in the short story range. This one just appeared on the Daily Science Fiction site. It is a cautionary tale about the price you pay for marrying for money.

See you tomorrow!

A Toy for Juliette, Robert Bloch, DANGEROUS VISIONS

by Patti Abbott

This was truly creepy. Juliette, who lives in the future, has a grandfather who brings her people to torture from various eras. She does this in slow and in quick fashion, depending on her mood. Her room is a museum of various forms of torture in fact. One day he brings her a Victorian doctor.

“Heart” by Crispin Oduobuk

by kattomic

“Heart” by Crispin Oduobuk


Story 173/366

Oduobuk is an award-winning Nigerian journalist, fiction writer and motivational speaker. He specializes in flash. This story of a wronged man chasing down the man who cuckolded him appears on East of the Web, where you can find several of his other stories.

See you tomorrow!

“I See You” by Damon Knight

by kattomic

“I See You” by Damon Knight


Story 172/366

Damon Knight was a writer and editor who specialized in science fiction and he was generally acknowledged to be a master of the form. (He wrote “To Serve Man,” which was the basis for one of the best-loved episodes of The Twilight Zone.  This story—a tale of an invention that will allow anyone to view anyone at any time—was originally published in 1976 and is now available as an ebook. You can snag it for 69 cents from Barnes & Noble (only 59 cents if you’re a member of the club.)  And is it just me, or does he look like George R. R. Martin’s cousin?

See you tomorrow!