Disturbing, delightful and very, very short: Fiction in 25 words or fewer

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I love these snippets from Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, that were published in the New Yorker. An anthology, edited by Robert Swartwood, it includes an eerie piece by my friend and fellow Minneapolitan Jeremy Zoss, called "Houston, We Have a Problem":

I'm sorry, but there's not enough air in here for everyone. I'll tell them you were a hero.

Perfect reading for those winter evenings where you just want to take in a sentence, and then stare out the window for 20 minutes digesting it.

Image of something else disturbing and short: Some rights reserved by Alyssa L. Miller

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  1. “Image of something else disturbing and short: Some rights reserved by Alyssa L. Miller”

    Indeed, Creative Commons is disturbing and delightful to some and some others.

  2. I can’t wait to read the response to “Boing Boing Hacked” – I’m surprised you didn’t have something ready when you got the site back up and running.

  3. I’ve had a blog for over a year where I post 50-word stories. I used to do so every day, for a long while, but couldn’t keep it up due to my actual job completely squashing my inspiration.

    All my stories are exactly 50 words (according to WordPress’s word counter, anyway.)

    Most stories are in an SF, Fantasy or Horror theme. Genre conventions are great when you have a word limit: you don’t have to describe a time machine, an elf or a zombie, you just use the word and move along.

    50wordstories.ca

  4. Perhaps the most famous, and shortest fiction was by Hemmingway:

    “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

  5. A) Thank you for your correct use of the word “fewer” in the headline; that word seems to be dying, which is quite sad.

    B) Anyone interested in hint fiction should check out Novels in Three Lines by Felix Feneon, a fin de siècle, French anarchist who not only wrote thousands of true short novels for a newspaper in 1906, but was also the first person to publish James Joyce in France.

  6. From the New Yorker article:

    “There had been rumors from the North for months. None of us believed it, until one night we started to kill our children too.”

    Yipe! That’s chilling.

    1. Yeah, that one got me too… and inspired me to parody:

      Cower’d By fxq

      There had been rumors from DC for months. None of us believed it, until one night we decided to vote Tea Party too.

  7. A shot rang out. Ben stared at the gun in his hand – unfired. Then he noticed the crimson stain spreading across his shirt. Damn!

  8. Old joke/story:
    A professor tasked his class to write the shortest story they could that included:
    1) Religion
    2) Sex
    3) Mystery

    The winning entry was:
    “My God, I’m pregnant. I wonder who’s it is?”

  9. 25 words it way too much for a good story, try writing a story in 4 words:

    “hallo, world”
    “hallo, dave”

  10. “Perfect reading for those winter evenings where you just want to take in a sentence, and then stare out the window for 20 minutes digesting it.”

    It may be my American attention span, but I don’t think I can imagine ever spending 20 minutes looking as a desolate winter landscape pondering a sentence – no matter how well written.

  11. 1:

    The Building is coming down! she screamed. I looked up to see the dust billowing against the blue sky.

    2:

    Under a tree in battery park, A candle burns for the falling man.

  12. I believe there was a book done of 6-word ones, too. That Hemmingway one already mentioned being one of them.

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