Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Overlord on December 15, 2011, 02:54:01 PM

Title: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Overlord on December 15, 2011, 02:54:01 PM
Out of interest, who on Fantasy-Faction reads short stories?

If you do read short stories, what is it that you enjoy about them?

If you do not read them, why not? What do you think they lack?

In regards to anthologies, do you think a good variety of stories works (e.g. traditional fantasy) or do you prefer them to have a more specific link (e.g. assassins or magic or warriors, etc).
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Sam Browning on December 15, 2011, 03:01:17 PM
I do occasionally read short stories, Mark Lawrence has three terrific ones on his website, and I've book marked T.C. Simpson's to read when I finish my current book, I find them to be a nice space filler whilst I decide which novel I want to read next.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: ColinFBarnes on December 15, 2011, 03:17:38 PM
I'm a huge fan of short stories both reading and writing them.

In terms of anthologies, there seem to be two types:

1/ The random collection on a wide theme. These can be a lot of fan as you get a nice variety of subjects/styles, but if not done well can be a bit of a roll of a dice as to whether you're going to enjoy a story.

2/ The tightly focussed anthology on a single theme. These are usually my favourite. If the them is a strong and focussed one, the stories tend to be stronger IMHO.

You also get the 'collected works' from an author, and again these can be hit or miss. The one I'm reading and enjoying at the moment is Ramsey Campbell's 'Alone with the Horrors'.

I don't think fantasy is particularly well suited to short stories, however. I think it's because for me, one of the appeals of fantasy is the world building, the quests, the involved storylines. But it's very difficult to do this within a short story. Horror, thriller and Noir particularly make excellent short stories, so for me, there is an issue with genre.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Elspeth Cooper on December 15, 2011, 03:18:23 PM
I don't read them, but not because I dislike them or find them lacking - to make those kind of judgements I would have to have read some. They just don't interest me. I contemplated buying the Swords and Dark Magic anthology, but i know for a fact that I would have only got it because I am a hopeless Abercrombie fangirl, and would have read The Fool Jobs then put it down again, but that would have felt vaguely disrespectful to the other authors, so I didn't*.

Short form fiction is simply not something that has appealed to me, either as a reader or as a writer. I read the Dresden Files shorts Side Jobs recently, but that felt more like the deleted scenes and extras reel on the DVD of a favourite film: it was characters I knew and loved, in settings that fit with the rest of the Dresden canon. I guess I'm just not interested in investing energy and emotion in characters and a milieu that I'm not going to be with for the novel-length haul.


* Yes, that means I haven't read The Fool Jobs yet, and still call myself a hopeless Abercrombie fangirl. Stop looking at me like that; I'm a woman, I don't have to make sense.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Gothos on December 15, 2011, 03:40:44 PM
The best short stories are usually the ones that are set in worlds I am all ready familiar with. I do on occasion read random short stories online and many of them are often really good. I would say that what they lack is obvious, unlike a novel you don't have much time to get to know or even care for the characters involved. I like the Warhammer short stories because I'm already familiar with the world, the races and many of the characters.

As a writer I would say that writing short stories is usually a great way of testing out characters. Almost like an audition. Its also a good way of getting a grip on a culture as well.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Ken on December 15, 2011, 03:52:03 PM
Sometimes when I'm not in the mood to tackle a new book I'll read some short stories. I'm not a fast reader so short stories provide the thrill and entertainment I need without a huge commitment from me. For example the stories in Skyrim are quick and they add flavour to the game.

Since we're on the topic of short stories, Angry Robot (http://angryrobotbooks.com/) is running a series of short stories by their new authors on their blog for those interested.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: ChristinaJL on December 15, 2011, 04:05:59 PM
I hardly ever read short stories, as I'm not very interested in them either.  I have read short novellas by Brent Weeks and Peter V. Brett though and enjoyed them, but I think it was because I already knew the characters featured in them.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: AnneLyle on December 15, 2011, 05:50:21 PM
I don't read many short stories these days. I used to, when I was younger - I devoured everything I could find by Asimov and James White, and read lots of other anthologies. But this was all SF. As Colin says, fantasy is much harder to do as short fiction, because you don't have the space for worldbuilding.

The one exception I make these days is for short stories featuring characters from novels I love. I have a copy of "Glimpses", a short story collection by Lynn Flewelling based on her Nightrunner series, waiting on my shelf... :)

Oh, and I second the recommendation for checking out Angry Robot's Christmas blog posts. Not all the author contributions are short stories (mine isn't, for reasons that may now be clearer) but Madeline Ashby's is excellent. Probably because it's like a really dark modern-day Asimov story. Which brings me back full circle!
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: rocktopusjones on December 15, 2011, 06:27:21 PM
I enjoy the occasional novella or short story.  I just read Tisarian's Treasure by JM Martin last night and I immensely enjoyed it.  One reader remarked that it's like a short vacation, and that was how I felt as well.  As an added bonus, it's only $.99 on Amazon. 
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: xiagan on December 15, 2011, 08:51:56 PM
I love writing them more than reading, but Neil Gaiman's Smoke & Mirrors brought me to writing them in the first place.
At the moment I am reading John Cheever's famous collection.
I released a short anthology of eight short stories in May (see below) and it has a single theme (the theme is time, so it is a very wide one) - something I prefer about a random collection too (most of the time at least).
And I agree with Jezrien: Short stories set in universes/worlds I'm already familiar with are the best (no fanfic, though). Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist, Peter V. Brett, Ursula K. LeGuin, Robert Jordan, Douglas Adams, Tamora Pierce - they all do/did it. :)

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Its bulp reads: A child suddenly remembers his past lives in full, a young man wakes up after a ten years lasting sleep, a man relates his encounter with an immortal, and somebody is faced with the possibility of changing the past to save the one he loves but has to pay a terrible price for it... What if time were not the mysterious dimension we think it to be now?
This short anthology holds eight intriguing stories about time in one way or another.

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Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Nighteyes on December 15, 2011, 09:19:43 PM
http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-short-stories-novellas/ (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-short-stories-novellas/)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-short-story-collections/ (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-short-story-collections/)      ;D

Hoping for Inheritance by Robin Hobb for Xmas, and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sourcery
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Jen on December 15, 2011, 09:24:40 PM
I love reading short stories, especially fantasy shorts which there really aren't enough of as horror and SF seem to dominate the anthology market.  Luckily the online magazines give a handy fix of lovely stuff - like Beneath Ceaseless Skies (http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com), Strange Horizons (http://www.strangehorizons.com), Clarkesworld (http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/), Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (http://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com/), Abyss & Apex (http://www.abyssapexzine.com/), Lightspeed (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/) & Fantasy Magazine (http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/) (actually, I'm a bit biased on that last one as I slush for them - but then, I slush for them because I love their stuff... ;D )

What I like most about short stories, apart from them being a quicker read, is that a really good writer can build a fully detailed world behind the story with just a few well chosen lines.  Plus it allows the opportunity for some gorgeous character stuff to be done.  And, when done well, comic fantasy works better in the short form - the Esther Friesner Chicks anthologies are a good example.  (Which I might be a bit of a fangirl of... ;) )

RE. anthologies, I'm easy either way.  The variety of stories you get in things like the Years Best books give an interesting mix of stories, some of which I probably wouldn't have found otherwise.  But then themed anthologies can be a lot fun if the theme is interesting enough - you've just got to hope the editor can pick enough different takes on the theme to keep it interesting otherwise they start to blur into each other.

 :-*
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Noona on December 15, 2011, 09:33:18 PM
I do read short stories sometimes but have found that, mostly, the only ones I really enjoy are ones connected to a world and/or set or characters I already know. The exception is Neil Gaiman's short stories - Snow, Glass, Apples is an amazing thing.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Jeni on December 15, 2011, 11:29:27 PM
Any book that is less than 400 pages is a short story, right?  :P

By that definition, I've read and enjoyed lots of short stories!  ;D

Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: pornokitsch on December 16, 2011, 08:17:14 AM
I do! Although not very often - I read a LOT of them when I was a kid and first getting in to SF/F. Book club anthologies and back issues of Asimov's were easy to find at flea markets so I'd devour them like crazy.

Thanks to the Pandemonium stuff, I've really gotten obsessed with them again. Keeping up with all the new short stories is impossible (there are so many sites, magazines, web-magazine-things, etc), but that just means there's a lot to choose from.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Mark Lawrence on December 16, 2011, 10:34:09 AM
I quite enjoy writing them - reading, not so much. It has to be a really excellent short story for me to enjoy reading it. I think Stephen King's short story compilations are the only ones I've ever paid for (never stolen any but read plenty on crit groups etc).

The point about world building is well made & probably my 'efficient' style of fantasy was born in trying to write fantasy short stories where the world building had to be pulled out of the reader with a small number of well targetted lines. The three short stories of mine alluded to up thread are all set in the real world, which means less world-building and more story. Also two of them are horror, which is again easier in short form (hence Stephen King's appeal).

I have just last week written my first ever short story set in an established world with pre-known characters (a Prince of Thorns short story) and found it a difficult enterprise. Normally when I write a short story the characters and settings evolve with the plot to serve the story. If you start with several things fixed and relatively inflexible... it's harder to make a good short story.




Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Michael Sullivan on December 16, 2011, 11:47:59 AM
I'm not a big short story reader.  I should be as I tend to be a slow reader so that would allow me to get through them more easily, but I like spending time with characters so I tend toward longer works.

I have a HUGE appreciation for people who write short stories as it is (IMHO) a much harder task than writing a novel (my friend who writes short stories disagrees). Because of the limited word count you have to be so much more conscious of brevity.  I've only published two short stories...both of which are "okay" but I think they pale in comparision with my novel work.  If anyone is interested...The Viscount and the Witch (http://www.michaelsullivan-author.com/free.html) is a free short.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: eclipse on June 05, 2019, 05:19:57 PM
I don't mind reading short stories but  I don't enjoy prequel short stories or  prequel novels for that matter mostly.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Mark Lawrence on June 05, 2019, 07:57:22 PM
I write them, but shamefully … I never read them.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: xiagan on June 05, 2019, 08:45:12 PM
I quite enjoy writing them - reading, not so much. It has to be a really excellent short story for me to enjoy reading it. I think Stephen King's short story compilations are the only ones I've ever paid for (never stolen any but read plenty on crit groups etc).

The point about world building is well made & probably my 'efficient' style of fantasy was born in trying to write fantasy short stories where the world building had to be pulled out of the reader with a small number of well targetted lines. The three short stories of mine alluded to up thread are all set in the real world, which means less world-building and more story. Also two of them are horror, which is again easier in short form (hence Stephen King's appeal).

I have just last week written my first ever short story set in an established world with pre-known characters (a Prince of Thorns short story) and found it a difficult enterprise. Normally when I write a short story the characters and settings evolve with the plot to serve the story. If you start with several things fixed and relatively inflexible... it's harder to make a good short story.

I write them, but shamefully … I never read them.

Looks as if you use words more sparingly now in comparison to eight years ago. ;)

I like short stories but besides those from the writing contest I haven't read many in the last years. Next collection on my TBR is Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (Smoke and Mirrors is my favorite single-author short story collection).
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 05, 2019, 08:49:55 PM
I'm not a big fan, and yes, I only read our contest monthly stories ;D
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Alex Hormann on June 05, 2019, 09:00:18 PM
I read short stories, but generally only in anthologies. Never hunted down individual ones.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: JMack on June 06, 2019, 12:57:29 AM
I much prefer William Faulkner’s short stories vs. his novels.
Just saying.


(Faulkner = important, excellent U.S. southern writer)
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: NedMarcus on June 06, 2019, 04:59:56 AM
What do you think they lack?

Length  8)

I love novels because I can go deep into another world—one of the reasons I love fantasy. But I do read them sometimes, and occasionally write them, too.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: eclipse on June 06, 2019, 07:58:27 AM
I'm not a big fan, and yes, I only read our contest monthly stories ;D

You’ve not read Mark Lawrence shorts stories then?  Or any anthologies Like fight like a girl.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 06, 2019, 08:07:44 AM
I'm not a big fan, and yes, I only read our contest monthly stories ;D

You’ve not read Mark Lawrence shorts stories then?  Or any anthologies Like fight like a girl.
I said I wasn't a big fan, not that I hadn't read them :P
Yes, I read those you mention: Bound, Road Brothers, Fight like a Girl and the Fantasy-Faction anthology ;D
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: J.R. Darewood on June 06, 2019, 02:25:14 PM
I love short stories
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Brand J Alexander on June 06, 2019, 04:35:16 PM
I enjoy short stories depending on my mood. Trying something myself with them. I'm writing a much larger story through a series of short stories that take place throughout a characters life. Each can stand alone, but all add up to a bigger tale.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Nighteyes on June 06, 2019, 11:38:38 PM
Short stories are such a staple of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. I can't think of any other genre where they are done so well. Historically Science Fiction and Fantasy writers got their break selling short stories to monthly titles. A quick google or a more knowledgeable (or older) member I am sure can bring up the names of a few of those magazines/ anthologies.  Even now there are several anthologies published a year. George RR Martin is one of many famous compilers (along with Silverberg and Dazois). Many sci fi and fantasy writers will at some point in their career put out a collection of their short stories (Joe Abercrombie did in the last few years and Neil Gaiman has 3 very good collections. If you are a fan of the genre and not reading short stories I do honestly feel you are missing out a bit.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Jake Baelish on June 07, 2019, 01:37:22 AM
I quite enjoy writing them - reading, not so much. It has to be a really excellent short story for me to enjoy reading it. I think Stephen King's short story compilations are the only ones I've ever paid for (never stolen any but read plenty on crit groups etc).

The point about world building is well made & probably my 'efficient' style of fantasy was born in trying to write fantasy short stories where the world building had to be pulled out of the reader with a small number of well targetted lines. The three short stories of mine alluded to up thread are all set in the real world, which means less world-building and more story. Also two of them are horror, which is again easier in short form (hence Stephen King's appeal).

I have just last week written my first ever short story set in an established world with pre-known characters (a Prince of Thorns short story) and found it a difficult enterprise. Normally when I write a short story the characters and settings evolve with the plot to serve the story. If you start with several things fixed and relatively inflexible... it's harder to make a good short story.

I write them, but shamefully … I never read them.

Looks as if you use words more sparingly now in comparison to eight years ago. ;)

I like short stories but besides those from the writing contest I haven't read many in the last years. Next collection on my TBR is Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (Smoke and Mirrors is my favorite single-author short story collection).

You're in for a treat! I read all Gaiman's short story collections for the first time last year and Trigger Warning was by far my favourite of them  :)

King is probably the best at it though imo.

That said, didn't know Mark Lawrence had written any, so will definitely be giving them a look!
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: DrNefario on June 07, 2019, 02:26:09 PM
I mostly enjoy short fiction but it doesn't really fit into my typical reading schedule. I either have to make an extra effort to read them in addition to my main novel - which I did for two-or-three years, recently, attempting to read a short story every day - or I start to resent the lack of control over the pacing.

I read every day. It's nice to be in the middle of something, dipping in and out each time. Short fiction is almost entirely beginnings and endings, and they're harder work.

Also I don't think trad, epic fantasy works as well at shorter lengths. I tend to prefer SF, where you can show off a dazzling idea and get out.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: eclipse on September 13, 2020, 10:12:27 AM
Father of lies by K.J Parker is excellent, I think his shorts are better then his novels.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: eclipse on September 13, 2020, 10:38:54 AM
What I don’t like is prequel short stories written after or during a trilogy. I rather read a separate story away from the trilogy

Book One
Book Two
A short prequel set before Book one ( I don’t care I know what’s going to happen to the characters afterwards)
Book Three
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Rostum on September 15, 2020, 03:15:34 PM
Who doesn't?
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: eclipse on September 15, 2020, 03:21:14 PM
Are short stories popular?
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: ScarletBea on September 15, 2020, 03:53:29 PM
I think I only have 3 books of short stories: the Fantasy Faction anthology, Fight like a girl (Joanne Hall) and The book of angels (A.J. Dalton).

I prefer the big books, and nowadays when I see a "full novel" with less than 300 pages, I wonder what it's missing and/or the writer was lazy ;D
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: cupiscent on September 16, 2020, 12:49:21 AM
Who doesn't?

I don't, mostly. I'll often take a look at the award-nominee stories each year. Mostly I find short fiction just doesn't offer enough payoff for my intellectual investment - if I spend time getting into a story/world/situation, I want a deeper exploration than can be achieved under 10k words. I even tend to find novellas a little thin and frustrating like that, though either I'm getting better at reading them or novellas are getting better in quality, because I've read quite a few in the past couple years that hit perfectly and don't leave me wanting to crack open the story and drag out the good stuff it's missing.

I have a few anthologies that I've acquired through mass acclaim or because I helped fund them, and I... just haven't read them. I'll try, but every time I start a new story, it's like starting a new book, and that stop-start lack of momentum just makes me stall out on reading entirely.

All of this is also why I don't write short fiction. I just don't get it!
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on September 16, 2020, 10:01:40 AM
Who doesn't?

I don't, mostly. I'll often take a look at the award-nominee stories each year. Mostly I find short fiction just doesn't offer enough payoff for my intellectual investment - if I spend time getting into a story/world/situation, I want a deeper exploration than can be achieved under 10k words. I even tend to find novellas a little thin and frustrating like that, though either I'm getting better at reading them or novellas are getting better in quality, because I've read quite a few in the past couple years that hit perfectly and don't leave me wanting to crack open the story and drag out the good stuff it's missing.

I have a few anthologies that I've acquired through mass acclaim or because I helped fund them, and I... just haven't read them. I'll try, but every time I start a new story, it's like starting a new book, and that stop-start lack of momentum just makes me stall out on reading entirely.

All of this is also why I don't write short fiction. I just don't get it!

I only read the things I had written in the magazine anthology that I had submitted my work to, hahah. I don't usually read short stories either, mostly with similar reasons to what cupiscent said above. I write mostly short stories because I usually had only that much idea to work with and hate having to work for months and years on something, hahah.
Title: Re: Who reads short stories?
Post by: Alex Hormann on September 19, 2020, 04:31:50 PM
I read a fair few older SF anthologies, mostly second hand. I tend not to read modern short stories unless they're by an author whose longer work I enjoy.