Short Story Roundup is a feature where I gather the best short stories I’ve read this week and share them with you every Wednesday. The stories might have been published yesterday or 100 years ago, but as long as I’ve read and loved them in a given week, you’ll find them here.
This week I’m featuring two stories about heartbreak and one about a not-too-distant but devastating future. Enjoy!
“Mildly Unhappy, with Moments of Joy” by Amber Sparks
- genre: literary/realistic fiction
- publication: Matchbook
- publication date: February 2018
- why I loved it: There’s gobs of fiction out there about the unique pain of falling in love and breaking up with a romantic partner, but much less about the–in my experience, far worse–pain of breaking up with a friend. “Mildly Unhappy, with Moments of Joy” is a tender examination of a best-friendship gone wrong, and I was struck by how well Sparks captures the little details of this uniquely awful experience.
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse
- genre: science fiction
- publication: Apex Magazine
- publication date: August 8, 2017
- why I loved it: This story has a heavy concept–an Indian (as in Native American) man offers “authentic Indian experiences” to tourists via a virtual reality machine, ultimately to his own detriment–but Rebecca Roanhorse writes with a light, almost breezy touch. This story is wildly imaginative, ironic, and sad, and it makes me even more excited than I already was for Roanhorse’s next novel, Trail of Lightning, about a post-apocalyptic Dinétah (Navajo) monster hunter.
“In Omaha” by Amy Mackelden
- genre: flash fiction, literary/realistic fiction, magical realism
- publication: NANO Fiction
- publication date: February 2016
- why I loved it: I love how inventive flash fiction writers are by necessity, whether with language or plot. This snippet, about parents’ reaction to their child’s heartbreak, is sweet, sad, a little goofy, and very real all at once, in the way that only good flash fiction really can be.
What short fiction have you read and enjoyed lately? For the writers out there: Has any of your work appeared online or in print this week? Tell me all about it in the comments!