All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 341: Where Have All the Disposable Ensigns Gone and Results From the Great Cat Division of the Feline Olympics

Three or four years ago I gave up on network television for the sake of my safety. It doesn’t mean that I have departed from gazing glassy-eyed into a screen, but nowadays I feed the vacuum in my mind caused by a lifetime of watching TV with YouTube and NetFlix. The TV is still on, but in the other room, tuned to one of those retro-channels, to long since departed shows, which star dead actors who come back to life for twenty-three to forty-six minutes five days a week, in worlds where forever usually arrives no later than 1982.

The main reason for this involves the Discovery Channel and its spin-offs on basic cable. For years my general sense of fear and isolation was greatly enhanced by an endless succession of learned talking heads who glibly informed me what would happen to Earth if it wandered too close to a black hole or was bathed in a gamma ray burst or nailed by an asteroid the size of Cincinnati. And none of it was pretty. End of Days. Repent. I was more distrubed, however, by the smarmy attitude of the scientists who spoke of these possible calamities with twinkles in their eyes. Why were they so happy to suggest these things? Isn’t everyday living hard enough already? Are these people sociopaths? And how come they all wear khaki pants and blue shirts? Even Victor Frankenstien owned a tie.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, Short Fiction

Week 338: Fearing the Two-Hundred Degree Day and Results From Feline Olympics

The Pacific Northwest winter used to run September through July. The main features were a minimum eight hours’ rain every twenty-four and temperatures favorable for sustainable mildew. Some years, but not all, there’d be a relatively balmy August, which motivated many to rush to the rocky shores of the Puget Sound to frolic drunkenly in the sea until they suffered pointless deaths brought on by hypothermia.

I avoid Climate Change as a subject for debate because it really doesn’t matter. It could very well be that the cloud of hairspray sent up into the atmosphere by 80’s Product Rockers, Poison, alone, has punched a lethal hole in the sky. But it still really doesn’t matter. My advice to the people who are smart enough to change the world is stop wasting time trying to make the people who hate you see things your way. Be creative and invent something big that will end the problem. Channel the same egghead pluck and ingenuity that ended World War II. Your scientific ancestors impressively overkilled the most significant event in human history by inventing a device that, when applied vigorously, can wipe out our species’ future in less time than it takes to roast a turkey.

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by Adam West

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Faced with tackling an almost impossible task such as choosing my three favourite stories from all the amazing material we have published here on Literally Stories I decided the best course of action was to cheat.

I produced a long-list.

And here it is chronologically (more or less):

Listening In/Jon Green: Elsa/Tobias Haglund: Seven Days a Bag Week/Hugh Cron: Talk to Me/June Griffin: The Conscious Coward/Vic Smith: Waiting For Francis/Todd Levin: Beffroi/Tobias Haglund: 2.45 am./Todd Levin: Ella’s Ghost/Nik Eveleigh: Beach House/Diane Dickson: The Greatest Cock That Ever Lived/Dave Louden: Data/Scott David: Looking for Nipsey/dm gillis: The Woman Upstairs/Michael Mulvey : Where Cherubs Sleep/dm gillis: Reinventing Amy/Nik Eveleigh: Neon/Sharon Dean: The Woman Upstairs/Michael Mulvey: Interview With Lucifer/Frederick K. Foote: Where Cherubs Sleep/dm gillis: Black Roses/Jeffrey Miller: Apathetica/Nik Eveleigh: Joey Schaff…/Dave Louden: A Roaming Tat/Frederick K. Foote: Silent Treatments/Goran Sedlar: Underneath The Rose/Irene Allison: Swan River Daisy/Tom Sheehan: There is a Forest Here/dm gillis: First in Line/Patty Somlo: Dancing in Amsterdam/Tobias Haglund: The Plane That Flew Forever/GJ Hart.

I procrastinated but on a deeper level knew on whose chests I was going to pin gongs.

And the winners are…

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by James McEwan

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We invited Literally Stories author and friend, James McEwan to be Editor for a day and choose his three favourite stories from the site. Here is what James had to say about the stories he chose and why he felt they were special…

I am pleased to have been asked to provide a contribution to the Editor Picks, and I have checked the previous selections to avoid any repetition. I have selected three stories, ones I missed reading when they first appeared since I was busy trying to unpick a murder or two. I am still flogging that dead horse.

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by Tobias Haglund

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Literally Stories have had picks by a bunch of lovely editors, let’s also have a bunch of picks from an unloved editor. Before I go on I just want to clarify, I’m not picking the ones already picked, which are all great.

Unfortunately to choose one is to disregard another. My lovely better half comes from Belgium where they have a saying: To choose is to lose. It’s why their Food Menus are endlessly long and why the food arrives with an uplifting pep talk; Better luck next time, Brussels sprout.

I’m rambling on, so let me take the advice from the boy with the snotty nose which is: Start with the picking!

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by Dave Louden

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We invited Literally Stories author and friend, Dave Louden, to be Editor for a day and choose his three favourite stories from the site. Here is what Dave had to say about the three stories he chose and why he felt they were special…

If there was ever a task that was as enjoyable as it was difficult it’s this one. On the one hand I got to re-read some of my favourite stories this site has offered up but on the other I had to narrow down months of great reading to three stories. Three titles across a cornucopia of genres. How do you compare a Noir to a light-hearted comic fable? A piece of science fiction to a poignant piece of personal history? In the end I had to simply say “F*ck it! Which stories made me wish to Christ I wrote them?”

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by June Griffin

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We invited Literally Stories author and friend, June Griffin, to be Editor for a day and choose three great short stories from the site. Here is what June had to say about the three stories she chose and why she felt they were special.

The forces of nature, human and otherwise, are at work in my three top picks, which I heartily recommend to every LS reader and writer, past and future.

Without a shade of murkiness, each story reveals these forces in their own distinctive way and pays tribute to the human comedy with clarity and precision. Each of the writers has perfected a beautiful writing style, and their intriguing plots and characters keep us engrossed from start to finish.

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by Vic Smith

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We invited Literally Stories author and friend, Vic Smith, to be Editor for a day and choose three great short stories from the site. Here is what Vic had to say about the three stories he chose and why he felt they were special.

This list of my three favourite stories from Literally Stories only crystallised as I set out to write it. These are the stories that meant most to me at that moment. At another time, when I’m in a different mood or when the weather has changed, it would be a different list. The depth of talent here is too great to be summed up in such a small number.

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Editor Picks, Writing

Editor Picks by Hugh Cron

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When we thought about doing this I considered researching, re-reading and trying to come across as a damn sight more intelligent than I am. I therefore decided to do this off the cuff. That is what it is all about. In my lifetime I have read over 400 books and I would not be able to hazard a guess at the amount of short stories. Within all of the short stories published on Literally Stories, I remember some. Those are the ones that I would like to consider.

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