Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite Short Stories of 2009

Last year, I started presenting my favorites according to length, because I wanted to be able to recognize stories in anthologies. Good work should not go unnoticed. Just like last year, two of my favorites in short stories - for me, that's anything less than 15k - come from anthologies that otherwise wouldn't have gotten the recognition.

4th Runner Up
Painting from Life by Anne Brooke

For someone who reads as much as I do, finding a strong, original voice can make my whole week. Anne Brooke paints as effectively as her unnamed narrator, though words are her medium. In doing so, she created an indelible rendering of a complex relationship that lifts the brief telling to a masterful level.

3rd Runner Up
Angel's Tears by Bryn Colvin

At the heart of this haunting story is a sad sack of a Plain Joe that completely captured my heart. Charley is the reason this story succeeds as well as it does, turning what could have been a maudlin pity party into a tale about hope and love that transcends spirit and flesh.

2nd Runner Up
Henry and Jim by J.M. Snyder

You know it was a good year for short stories when my 2nd runner up title scored a 10 for entertainment. This is one of those stories that prove how masterful Snyder can sometimes be, a bittersweet love story that relates a romance we should all be so lucky to have.

1st Runner Up
Shock Radio by Gabriel Daemon

The common thread running through most of my favorite short stories of this past year is that they are not your traditional romance. This one, especially, is as far as you can get away from that. Daemon grabbed me by the throat with the opening story in this anthology and shook me until I was so rattled I could barely think straight. It's bold and brash, just like its main character, and manages to creep me out just thinking about it in the height of the cheeriest season of the year.

And my favorite short story of 2009 is...

South by Dalyn A. Miller

Though this anthology was one of the better collections - as a whole - that I read this past year, the best one in it by far was "South" by Dalyn A. Miller. The story of two men on the verge of separating, it skillfully weaves backstory and forward momentum in wrenching, realistic ways that put so many other stories to shame. I rooted for this couple with everything I had, and promptly went back to re-read it when I finished it the first time. I find it a little ironic that, like my favorite last year, it was released by a publisher I've had difficulty reading more often than not. But talent shines, no matter where it's published.


Anne Brooke said...

Thanks so much for the runner up placing - much appreciated! :)) Ooh and happy new year (belatedly)!


GabrielDaemon said...

I wish I had seen this earlier, so I could have thanked you in a more timely fashion. I appreciate the kind words and honest appraisal of my work. Hopefully, you'll take a look at some of my other work in the future.