Short Story February – Week 4

Here’s week four (Feb. 20 – 26) listed in story-author-source format. * An asterisk indicates a story I particularly liked.

  • theroux-collected-storiesWhite Lies * – Paul Theroux – The Collected Stories
  • Clapham Junction – ibid
  • The Odd-Job Man * – ibid
  • Portrait of A Lady – ibid
  • The Longest Voyage – Poul Anderson – Queen of Air and Darkness, the Collected Short Fiction of Poul Anderson, Volume 2
  • Brave To Be A King * – ibid (a Time Patrol story)
  • Brake – ibid
  • The Last Visit – Conrad Aiken – Collected Stories of Conrad Aiken
  • Mr. Arcularis – ibid
  • Arsene Lupin in Prison * – Maurice Marie Emile Leblanc – The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries, edited by Otto Penzler

    Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries

    finally finished

  • The Mystery of the Strong Room – L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace – ibid
  • No Way Out * – Michael Collins (Dennis Lynds) – ibid (a Slot-Machine Kelly story)
  • The Episode of the Codex Curse * – C. Daly King – ibid (a Mr. Tarrant story)
  • The Poisoned Dow ’08 * – Dorothy L. Sayers – ibid
  • A Traveller’s Tale – Margaret Frazer – ibid
  • Death At the Excelsior * – P.G. Wodehouse – ibid
  • Waiting For Godstow * – Martin Edwards – ibid
  • Moriarty and the Two-Body Problem * – Alison Joseph – The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty edited by Maxim Jakubowski
  • A Good Mind’s Fate – Alexandra Townsend – ibid
  • Everything Flows and Nothing Stays – John Soanes – ibid
  • A Scandalous Calculation * – Catherine Lundoff – ibid
  • The Last Temptation of Frankie Lyman – Peter Blauner – Crime Plus Music edited by Jim Fusilli
  • The Blackbird – Peter Robinson – ibid
  • The Misfits * – Naomi Rand – ibid
  • Shaderock the Soul Shaker – Gary Phillips – ibid
  • The Long Black Veil * – Val McDermid

A few thoughts:
26 short stories read, an improvement over last week.

Over at Bitter Tea and Mystery short stories are being read. Click over to see the latest post. Congrats on five years of blogging, Tracy!

My first exposure to Paul Theroux’s writing was The Great Railway Bazaar, published in 1975. I loved it, and continued to read his sometimes contraversial travel books for years. The Collected Stories was published in 1997, when I bought it new, read a few stories, and set it aside, fully intending to continue reading my way through. I hadn’t picked it up again until this month, but have enjoyed many of the stories I’ve read so far.

After more than a year, I’ve finished the thick, very good Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries, edited by Otto Penzler. A fine anthology.

The next post will be the Short Story February wrap-up.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fantasy, Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Short Story February. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Short Story February – Week 4

  1. tracybham says:

    My goodness, you have been reading a lot of stories in the last week. I am going slower than you but still reading short stories. Last night was four stories from Mississippi Noir, including Megan Abbott’s short story nominated for an Oscar (“Oxford Girl”). A great story. Thanks for the shout out.

  2. Jerry House says:

    This has been a week of short fiction for me, also, although I’ve been concentrating on novellas. I finished two Asimov/Waugh/Greenberg anthologies: THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VINTAGE SCIENCE FICTION: SHORT NOVELS OF THE 1950S and 13 SHORT FANTASY NOVELS (a.k.a. THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF SHORT FANTASY NOVELS). A lot of good reading in both. I especially liked Thomas Burnett Swann’s “Where Is the Bird of Fire?”, a lyrical fantasy about the founding of Rome. I’m currently reading Norman Spinrad’s “Riding the Torch” in a third Asimov/Waugh/Greenberg anthology. I’ve got half a dozen or so more Asimov anthologies piled up and I hope to finish them over the next few weeks.

    I also read William F. Nolan’s SINNERS AND SUPERMEN, a collection of profiles I’ve had since the book came out in 1965 but never got around to reading. Very interesting and my FFB pick for this past week.

    A lot of TV this week but no Oscar watching — I find award shows to be boring. Standouts here were documentaries on Freakanomics and on the history of right-wing media. Since I’m a curmudgeon, I also steered away from local Mardi Gras festivities this week.

    It’s been sunny and warm here, with one day of heavy fog. I hope your days are as sunny as you are.

    • Those are good anthologies, Jerry, I’ve read (I think) 13 Short Fantasy Novels, but not the other. I’ve also not read – though I’ve at least heard of – the Nolan. I did end up watching the Academy Awards, and for once it was a pretty good show, except for the incredible (I use he word advisedly) snafu at the end. Wow.

      We have snow and rain mix here, as we did yesterday. The predictors say we’ll see the sun later in the week. Such is winter in Portland, and that’s fine with me.

  3. macavityabc says:

    This is all your fault. I wasn’t going to read any shorts for a while, yet I’ve finished DORTMUNDER’S DOZEN by Donald Westlake and THE MACHINE IN WARD ELEVEN by Charles Willeford.

  4. Paul Theroux is a terrific writer. I’m a fan of his novels and travel books. I have his COLLECTED SHORT STORIES collection, too, but haven’t read it yet. I’ve been reading L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt’s THE COMPLETE COMPLEAT ENCHANTER for some fun reading after finishing my taxes. Here are the wonderful stories in this edition:
    The Roaring Trumpt
    The Mathematics of Magic
    The Castle of Iron
    The Wall of Serpents
    The Green Magician
    I’ll be reviewing this book in an FFB in a few weeks. Classic stuff!

    • I have the original SF Book Club edition of THE COMPLEAT ENCHANTER with the first set of those stories, and read it ages ago. I remember liking it, but the silliness goes a long way with me.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Miserable M-Fing SOB @sshole POS!

    I just spent 15 minutes typing the 23 stories I’ve read this week, talked about what they were, talked about the book I finished and what I was reading now.

    And the g-d screen just froze! I lost everything. Sorry, but I am not going to retype all that.

    As George would say, I blame the Russians.

    • Sorry, Jeff, I really hate it when things like that happen. Good for you for the 23 stories, and maybe you’ll come back later and tell us what you’re reading just now.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        I will, later.

        • Jeff Meyerson says:

          There were 23 stories – 7 each by Saki and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the last 9 by William Humphrey to complete the COLLECTED STORIES book. Many of this last group were set in the oil fields of Texas during the Depression. Humphrey is best known for his first novel, HOME FROM THE HILL. I remember seeing he movie version of that (Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton) years ago.

          Let me post this, just in case.

          • Jeff Meyerson says:

            As I was saying,,, I just wasn’t very taken with the first TIME TRADERS book by Andre Norton, so put it aside after about 25% or so. I went to a downloaded library book by a favorite author, Connie Willis’s CROSSTALK. WARNING!! If you’ve read her books and loved them, be warned: this is (to me) an unreadable, annoying chick lit rom com. Believe me, you can see exactly where this is going from chapter one. Annoying.

          • The Norton is really aimed at the YA audience. I liked it well enough as a teen, but when I reread it about 3 years ago, it didn’t impress. I did finish it, and went on to the second book, but I quit that one a third in. No fear of y reading the Willis, she’s not on my “list” of authors to try, but thanks for the warning.

  6. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    short stories this week.
    From Voyages By Starlight by Ian R. MacLeod
    Ellen O’Hara
    Starship Day
    The Giving Mouth
    The Perfect Stranger
    1/72nd Scale
    From Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories by Andy Duncan
    The Pottawatomie Giant
    Close Encounters
    Senator Bilbo
    the Big Rock Candy Mountain
    Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse
    The Night Cache

    20 stories in all-most rereads by writers I like

    Plus Rusty Puppy the new Leonard and Hap novel from Joe Lansdale and The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West.

    • Good stuff, Steve, you’re a star when it comes to Short Story February. I only have a couple more days of ss reading, then I’ll dive into a novel. Boy, The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West. Hollywood uncovered. I don’t recall when I read it, but it may have been in college (not an assignment!). I’ll be really interested to see ow it stands up in 2017. So?

      • Steve Oerkfitz says:

        Day of the Locust holds up very well. Made into a very good but neglected movie. Also Connie Willis Is very hit and miss. Some very good short stories and one terrific novel-The Doomsday Book.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I really liked Theroux’s travel books, I’ll have to check if I read the short stories when we get home.

    So what am I reading? The second Slough House book by Mick Herron, DEAD LIONS, set in the backwater of British intelligence, and the latest David Sedaris collection of essays, LET’S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS. I always find his stories about his family growing up to be funny.

    • Steve Oerkfitz says:

      My favorite of Theroux’s novels is The Mosquito Coast. Never read any of his short stories but have read all of his travel books.

    • I too liked his travel writing a lot, which is why I got the collected stories collection. The stories are “literary” in nature. Some are good, some not so, but I have to be in the right mood for that stuff. The story I liked best had a travel aspect.

  8. Like Steve, I’ve read all of Theroux’s travel books. But I must point out Theroux gets increasingly cranky from trip to trip. I’m not sure I’d wan to be his travel companion.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      I agree. There is a law of diminishing returns with his travel books. By the later ones, Theroux definitely comes off as a “keep off my lawn” kind of guy.

      I liked The Mosquito Coast too.

  9. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Monthly totals: I only finished two collections of stories in February, the lowest in a couple of years, I’d guess, but that is because most of my reading was in big collections or free online stories.

    For the month, however, I read 97 stories, more than at any month in the last year (despite it being a short month).

  10. Been reading mostly short stories that last week or so myself but so far not many have made a strong impression on me. Reading some old horror anthos I have around.

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