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Short Thoughts on Short Fiction: November 2020

Short Thoughts on Short Fiction is a monthly column that will focus on short stories. Each month we will review a small selection of short stories from anthologies, collections, and zines, both old and new. We want to acknowledge some of the great short fiction that’s out there, shine a light on emerging writers, and point readers in the direction of great fiction.

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“Bored With Brutality” by MP Johnson from Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 1/Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin

I am not a GG Allin guy. Never have been, probably never will be. His aesthetic just ain’t my thing. When I heard about the GG Allin anthology, Blood For You (2015), I wasn’t in any big rush to read it because I figured I’m outside the Venn Diagram. No big deal.

I recently read The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror vol 1 which, as it turns out, has two stories from the GG Allin anthology.

Unintended exposure to something can yield good results. This is how “Bored With Brutality” by MP Johnson became one of my favorite stories so far this year.

I knew enough about GG Allin to expect a certain tone to the stories, and the other story in the best of collection reflects that sensibility (nothing wrong with that, as I said already, just not likely to be my thing).

“Bored With Brutality” subverts expectations in the best way possible, not by cranking the volume to 11 or highlighting known characteristics and bringing them to the fore, but by doing the truly unexpected. What’s the most transgressive thing a transgressive person can do? Live a normal life in suburbia. Then, when the truly gonzo crazy shit happens, as it does in the story’s pink stringed climax, it feels earned and hits different. Because that beast that is inside GG Allin never really went away.

Highly Recommended

Those Who Watch by Ruthanna Emrys – originally from the Mammoth Book of Cthulhu (but I read it as a reprint on Tor).

Lilyn sez:

Uh, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t finish this. Great idea and characters I could appreciate, but the writing bored me to tears. Halfway through this tale of predatory books and forbidden knowledge, even Spongebob Squarepants was looking more entertaining.

Not recommended

Love Hangover by Sheree Renee Thomas from Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire

If a wholly original vampire story told from the POV of a Disco Renfield that’s set in a Studio 54 like environment is what you are looking for, have I got the story for you. Love Hangover is one of the longer stories in the collection and it really benefits from the length. It has a lot of room to really dig deep into the characters and the world that they inhabit. This robust story has a great mythology and interesting characters.

Highly Recommended

What short stories did you read and love in November?

Published inAnthologies & Collections
©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
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