For previous posts and future FFF topics check out my Friday Favorite Five page here.
Favorite Five Short Stories
I know short fiction isn’t for everyone, but I do think there are some fantastic stories out there worth checking out even if you’re not that into them–after all, the time spent on one isn’t nearly the time you’d spend on a novel. I hope by highlighting some of my favorites here, you’ll be encouraged to share a few of your favorites or also check some of these out.
1. “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu
This is a story that gets praised a lot, and for good reason. It’s just….bittersweet and lovely and filled with so much emotional impact for such a short piece of fiction. It makes you feel nostalgic in some ways. I cried reading this, not ashamed to admit it.
2. “Coming Home” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
I first read this horror story many years ago in volume four of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. I’ve never been much for horror, but this is not your standard ghost story. It’s a fantastic piece of writing that I’ve revisited many times over the last twenty or so years.
3. “One Old Man, with Seals” by Jane Yolen
I’ve been a fan of Jane Yolen’s short fiction for years, mainly because she writes a lot of fairy tale retellings and those are my jam. First encountered this one more recently in her collection How To Fracture a Fairy Tale. This story feels comfortable, like a warm cup of tea on a cool fall night. I don’t know how else to describe it except to say it made me happy reading it.
4. “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker
First off, let’s start with the title because it’s a serious bit of cleverness for a story which is essentially a murder mystery featuring multiple versions of the same character. There are so many things about this story that are interesting, you could read it multiple times and probably come away with different things each time to touch on.
5. “Green is the Color” by John M. Ford
I don’t know if this is technically a short story because it is actually fairly longish and might be considered a novelette? Perhaps? Either way. This was written as part of the Liavek shared universe and can be found in one of those volumes or in another anthology that was edited by David G. Hartwell. It’s a lovely story about a city patrol officer trying to solve a series of mysterious deaths. But it’s also about love and death and loneliness and all sorts of other things. I love this story to pieces.
That’s my list for this week! What are some of your favorite short stories? Do you like short fiction? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!
9 thoughts on “Friday Favorite Five: Short Stories”
Awesome list, and I’m not just saying that because two of the stories are completely new, and one is an unread story by an author I’ve read. I’ll have to read those this weekend.
Any novellas to add to the list?
EDIT — Never mind, just found your novella article. Sorry, that’s kind of a knee-jerk response for me, now, as much as I like that art form.
Lol, glad to help you find some new reading material. 🙂
I know how much you love novellas!
I loved the Ken Liu story, and I need to track down Sarah Pinsker’s story now!
Sarah’s is free online at Uncanny iirc! Hope you enjoy. 🙂
I love when people highlight some favorite short stories because I tend to have such a hard time deciding on which collections or stories to choose from! The Paper Menagerie has been one I’ve wanted to check out for so long, I really should get to it. The Sarah Pinsker one also sounds really interesting!
Sarah’s is actually pretty fun, I’d say definitely give it a read. The Ken Liu story is an emotional one, such a good story.
Short stories don’t really work for me simply because if I’m enjoying the story I always want more! Call me Oliver.
The Emperor’s Soul is one exception that immediately springs to mind that I really enjoyed although I guess that’s a novella? I get confused between short stories and novellas!
>Short stories don’t really work for me simply because if I’m enjoying the story I always want more!
That’s exactly why I like novellas. They’re long enough to dig into the characters and the setting, but short enough to read in one or two sittings. They’re like the best of both worlds.
You should really check out the Pinsker story, it’s technically, I believe, a novella. It’s up for free on Uncanny.