Armchair BEA 2014: Novellas and Short Stories

I never really liked reading short stories because they felt… too short. Often the vignette was just enough to whet my appetite and I was disappointed that they ended so soon. Usually, I only read novellas or short stories that were spin-offs of series I loved. A good example of this is The Spiritwalker Trilogy. Kate Elliott posted short stories and extras that take place in the same world but have no place in the books. Most of them can stand-alone but they’re so much fun in context.

By contrast, I struggle with short story collections. I read and loved Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older but my major criticism was that it felt disjointed. I was trying to read it like a novel and it simply wasn’t working. My bad.  Long Hidden (edited by Older and Rose Fox) was easier for me to read because the distinct styles and stories forced me to consider each story individually. Even so, I kept commenting on how certain stories would work well in different forms (picture books, stage play, novel). The notable exception was “Each Part Without Mercy” by Meg Jayanth. That story was everything I love in an epic fantasy but bite-sized. Loved it.

I feel short stories and anthologies are an acquired taste. I am trying to learn to read and evaluate them on their own merits rather than comparing them to other forms of writing. I know there is great short fiction out there and I don’t want to miss out!

The next anthology I plan to read is We See a Different Frontier.

Do any of you have trouble reading short stories? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!

Also, there’s still time for Canadians to enter my Long Hidden giveaway!

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