Extraordinary Short Story Authors
I’ll read any short story they produce. As with many short story writers, their novels may not be that great. For example, I really couldn’t get behind the few Foundation books I’ve read, but I love Asimov’s short fiction, including his masterpiece, Nightfall. Bradbury, on the other hand, has written great novels like Fahrenheit 451 along with numerous shorties.
Extraordinary Short Stories
I’ll be honest. For all my lobbying behind the short story medium, I don’t think I’ve read a fraction of the cream of the crop. That’s why this page is a call to action (for me) more than a definitive map. So don’t think that your favorite story isn’t on here because I thought it was crap. I may simply have not read it yet. Of those many, many shorties I have read and loved, these I think are the pinnacle of the medium.
- Antaeus by Bordon Deal
- A&P by John Updike
- The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
- Odour of Chrysanthemums by D.H. Lawrence
- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
- Legend by Jaq Hazell – Part of London Tsunami
- The Pugilist by Sylvia McKenzie
- The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
- The Skeleton by Ray Bradbury – Part of October Country
- The Last Leaf by O. Henry
- The Hunter’s Wife by Anthony Doerr – Part of The Shell Collector
- The Man Who Remembered the Moon by David Hull
Many short stories come to us from anthologies. There are lots of books out there with titles like Best American Short Stories, Best Sci-Fi Shorts, Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor, O’Henry Winners 1950-Today, et cetera. You can find some gems in them, but there is something magical about collections that is more than semantic. Single-author collections have the feel of a vinyl record, an assortment of (mostly) unpublished, (sometimes) inter-related pieces of art amalgamated into a greater piece of art. Every great writer and her brother has a collection somewhere in their repertoire, and it usually isn’t their best work. But every now and then a collection really resonates and proves to be more than the sum of its stories. Here are my favorites.