Sometimes you can find genre fiction in very non-genre-y places. Take the Sudden Fiction series of books, of which I recently finished reading the third in the series, Sudden Fiction (Continued). These books are a celebration of what has been called flash fiction, sudden fiction, very short fiction, and more. Basically, these are extremely short stories, much shorter than your average short story. The editors of this book, limited the stories to no more than 2,000 words.
At first blush, this is a book aimed at literary fiction lovers … and I think they would be pleased with the work they’ll find her. But included among the collection were quite a few stories with a decidedly genre nature. Inside Sudden Fiction (Continued) you’ll find these little genre gems:
My Life As a Bat by Margaret Atwood — yes, that would be the same writer who created A Handmaid’s Tale. My Life as a Bat explores what it would be like to remember a past life as a bat.
Underwater by Luis Arturo Ramos — translated from the Spanish by Robert Kramer and Gloria Nichols, this story it a little hard to decipher, but I think it is told from the point of view of a person who becomes a ghost without realizing it.
Grandma’s Tales by Andrew Lam — in which a woman dies and is reborn.
The Writer’s Model by Molly Giles — what would it be like if writers used models like artists do?
Flying by Stephen Dixon — this one is more surreal than anything else. A man and is daughter are thrown out of a plane and end up flying.
Jacob’s Chicken by Milos Macourek – translated from Czech by Dagmar Herrmann, this little gem tells the story of an under appreciated child’s drawing and how it comes to be a prized exhibit at the zoo.
The Tablecloth of Turin by Ron Carlson — what would forensic anthropologists have to say about the table cloth used during the Last Supper?
The Visitation by Fernando Sorrentino — translated from Spanish by Norman Thomas diGiovanni and Susan Ashe, this story explores how a murdered homeless person might go about exacting his revenge.
Silver Arrows by Barry Yourgrau — although he gets it wrong (silver arrows induce hate, not love), this story has fun with the Cupid myth in modern times.
Because only about 15-20% of the stories in this book are of a genre nature, this book isn’t for all genre travelers. But if you’d like to expand your mind or are open to reading outside of pure science fiction, fantasy and horror, Sudden Fiction (Continued) will prove to be an entertaining and enlightening read.
Even better, because each story is so short, it makes them ideal for when you are on the move and only have a few minute here and there to get some reading in.
SCORE: 4 out of 5 Palm Trees Possible