Archive for October, 2010

Short Stories Long, Appetizing History

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The Fiction Fortune Hunter currently has a short story on Story Chord. It’s entitled Those Who Trespass Against Us. This particular short story has been put together as two parallel narratives which evolve into one connected tale of mayhem, loss, treachery and revenge. All the things that make life worthwhile (he said with tongue planted firmly in cheek). To be more literal, it’s the story of a man who’s been convicted of murder, and the executioner who is assigned to hang him. And yes, there’s a surprise or two along the way.

Story Chord has a unique way of publishing stories online. It matches each one with an accompanying piece of art and a music soundtrack. So, if you like to read, with something in the background, you can do so. If not, you can simply read the story without the music.

Online literary magazines publish a lot of shorter fiction today that used to be found in magazines, journals and anthologies. Those venues still exist, but unfortunately in far fewer periodicals than there used to be. Great storytelling can be found in short stories as well as novels. And you can ingest them in bite size chunks as opposed to multi-course meals.

American literature has a long list of great short story writers, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, O’Henry, Poe, Chandler, Salinger, Updike, Bradbury, Asimov, Irving, and more. When you’re not in the mood for voluminous tomes, check out their precise verbal pictorials of life in literary snapshots.

Short stories penned by The Fiction Fortune Hunter have appeared in The Creative Writer, Writers’ Journal, BartlebySnopes, RambleUnderground, Wilderness House LIterary Review and Story Chord. Later this year, two more of my short stories will be appearing. The Encounter in the 9th edition of NthWord, and The Madding Tale in the Winter, December edition of The Writing Disorder. Hope you get a chance to check them out. In 2011, two of my old-and-new-West stories will be published in an anthology of Western stories from Moonlight Mesa.

If you do jump over and read Those Who Trespass Against Us in Story Chord, come back here after reading it and use the comment section of this post to tell me what you think. Don’t worry, I have a thick skin. It’s a requirement for writing fiction in this or any other century.

A Fish Story Unlike Any Other

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The following post appeared over a year ago. I’m re-posting it because time got away from me recently and I haven’t done a new one. Plus, I really like this novel and I hope more people are exposed to it because of this new post.

If you’re looking for a book somewhere in the metaphysical realm of Robinson Crusoe & Alice In Wonderland Meet The Count of Monte Cristo (which of course doesn’t exist), you might try Gould’s Book of Fish, which fortunately does exist. It’s a bit like the aforementioned heroes and heroines on both steroids and acid.

Tasmanian born author, Richard Flanagan, has taken a wee bit of history, added large dollops of imagination and mixed both liberally with C4 explosive to take you on a journey quite unlike anything you’ve ever experienced (thankfully).

It’s quite easy to fall in love with this book without ever actually reading it. The jacket cover and the design of the book (attributed to Mary Callahan) almost assure you’ll leave it on your coffee table and not in your bookshelf. The subtitle of Gould’s Book of Fish is A Novel in 12 Fish, and each of the twelve is beautifully illustrated throughout. Plus, each of the twelve sections are printed in a different color. No, it doesn’t make the text harder to read (as one might assume), it simply adds to the morphing nature of the tale, and the teller, presented throughout the narrative.

Gould’s Book of Fish is the story of Billy Gould, an artist himself, who does a bit of dabbling in forgery and thievery. The majority of the richly expressed yarn takes place in the 19th century and follows the enterprising and exploited lad on his travels in and around England, Tasmania and Australia. Most of the time Gould is a resident of a penal colony doing his dead level best to survive. It’s not easy telling your story when you’re in a cage submerged under water. Obviously, you do most of your talking at low tide. Oh yes, and there is this. Aside from being a thief and a forger, Billy is also a liar. So, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt about the size of Mount Rushmore. But if you’re into high adventure, low morals, brutality, filth, spirituality, fantasy, love, unforgettable imagery and people occasionally turning into fish, you’re in for the sail of your life with Gould’s Book of Fish.

Flanagan’s novel was the overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book in 2002. It’s a magical story lavishly told and you’ll be a decidely happier person (or sawtooth shark) if you choose to swim in its waters.

The Fiction Fortune Hunter suggests you dive in.