Week three, and I almost didn’t make the five-story minimum. But it wasn’t for lack for trying (for the most part). If you recall, I’m starting to specify a type of story to read every once in a while for the week’s challenge. This week, I wanted to explore the short Fantasy story.
There aren’t many Fantasy short stories in my vast print collection, so I had to resort to my Kindle. I also hunted down some from Smashwords that were under 2,000 words. Why that short? Well, this week, I wanted to explore how authors can create a fantasy world, characters, etc, and still have room for the story. I knew it couldn’t be an easy task to write a great fantasy story with limited words. The genre relies heavily on building up a world and setting the reader into somewhere that’s not the contemporary, “real life” realm we all live in. This is true with much of sci-fi as well, and I’m sure I’ll do a similar “exploration” with that genre.
So what were my conclusions: Well, some authors are able to do it. Others not so much. But the stories that weren’t that great, I put down to start another. That’s why I almost didn’t get five stories read in time for this post. A few duds came my way.
There are my reviews below (most posted late last night). You’ll find some specifics on strengths and weaknesses in stories, but I didn’t pick too much since those are more formal reviews, and my own little experiment shouldn’t come through in those much. I think I confirmed my suspicions, but still want to come back to fantasy as a short story at some point. I’ll probably have to expand my word count parameter though. I kind of set this week up for disaster, knowingly, though.
Please, tell me your experience with short fantasy stories. I’d love to hear what others think. I’m not well versed in the genre, but it was a fun way to get into it a little. And I found some authors that I want to check out longer work from. After all, that is one of the benefits of this A Storied Week challenge.
Earth Blood, by Douglas Owen
The blurb for this story doesn’t do it justice. I found there to be much more to the story as I continued reading. Part fantasy, with an unexpected sci-fi twist, this short story brings up some great ethical questions to those once they finish the story. For the most part I was sided with the dwarves, who are in hiding from the humans and their drilling. But with an unexpected bit of info near the end, I had to ask “What’ll happen to the dwarves if they don’t let the humans have some Earth Blood? Maybe the humans need it to defend all of the creatures of the planet.
Clay for Ellen, by Harper Peace
Being only a few thousand words in length, there’s not much room to fully explain this fantastical world; a world with magic charms, and people hiding behind the glamours (masks?).
While I felt I needed more explanation about how this world and culture works, to fully enjoy the story and its ending, I did like the glamour and underlying theme of outer vs. inner beauty. I think it was that, that made me want to read on, the most.
This is only one story in the author’s Tales from the Lands series, so I’m hoping the other stories can and will expand what this one didn’t explore.
Blood Artists, by Jonathan Moeller
This story is filled with great sword-fighting action. Moeller created two well-developed assassins in this story, and that’s not an easy thing to do in a short story. The author gave just enough information about the characters in order to connect with them, while not overloading the story, thus preserving the flow. There’s also a great, unexpected ending that increased my enjoyment overall.
Once Upon a Blue Moon, by Kyra Dune
Being such a short story, there was ,in the end, a nice story to read. The execution was a little rough, for me, though. The language style the author used was a bit cumbersome for such a simple story. The transitions were also a bit abrupt, just moving onto a new topic without much flow. But there was the character of the child that kept me reading through to the end.
Hero Breaker, by Gage Mattson-Soule
The story builds up some great suspense, interesting characters, then all hell breaks loose…which also added to my enjoyment. This author has a great story idea here, but I’m not sure about the way it “ended.” Still, overall, I liked it, even if there were too many swords coming out of and going in to “backsides.” I’m not sure if the author and I have the same definition of that word. But it made for a little humor, even if it wasn’t intended.
Have you read any short stories this week? Do you know of any short stories to suggest to me or my readers? Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments on this post or more privately through the contact page, if you want you’d like to type something longer up.