Whether it’s a ghost story about gold diggers haunted by men who died doing their jobs, a tale of horror in which a mother begins breastfeeding the devil in order to protect her human baby, or a charming if impossible love story about a young man falling in love with an ancient mummified girl, Russell’s stories are astute, moving, and meaningful.
If you’ve seen the acclaimed film Arrival, then you’re at somewhat familiar with Ted Chiang’s fiction, as he wrote the short story that inspired it. Chiang blends big ideas with meticulously drawn characters, resulting in powerfully resonant stories. His new collection offers nine new visions of other worlds and times, told stunningly.
The Color Master
Aimee Bender’s stories range from the whimsical to the disturbing, the absurd to the totally human. There are ogres and healers, trauma and succulent joy. Her modern fables have won her a cult following of eager readers, us included.
Billed for young adult readers (and lucky them), Pretty Monsters can and should be enjoyed by all Kelly Link fans, which is to say, anyone with a healthy appreciation for the uncanny and macabre. Among the stories is a boy who tries to retrieve the poems he buried in his dead girlfriend’s coffin and digs up the wrong corpse, which reanimates and goes to visit her mother. Are you hooked yet?
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
George Saunders’ 1996 debut collection went on to become a cult classic—so beloved, in fact, that it warranted a reissue for its 20th anniversary. Compared to Mark Twain for his satirical takes on the American condition, his short stories are singularly brilliant, epically strange, and all his own.
Sometimes, all you need is one small bite of fiction—one delicious taste that can transport you to a new world and introduce you to droves of new characters. Whether you need a quick read on your commute or a little tale before bed, volumes of short stories are the perfect fix for your craving. These five, each marked by fantasy and magical realism, are absolute must-reads.
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