"Oh, Seven, and we’ll watch them fall…"

Okay, this was rather lame, but the answer to my brain-numbingly daunting quiz at the bottom of my last post is: They both appear in Shadowed Realms #7, which was published online today!

In fact, I suspect it’s the first time the trans-continental Haines boys have been cast together in a table of contents. Yep, it took Shadowed Realms to do it, but it’s done.

In fact, the issue 7 TOC is looking pretty darn fine:

Poppy Z Brite
Joseph Paul Haines
Paul Haines
Robert Hood
Trent Jamieson

Nathaniel Parker (with his first published story!)
Josh Rountree
Thomas Wiloch

While Ange and I both have our particular favourite issue (mine is #4, but that’s because I had a greater than usual input into the story selections), we couldn’t help but agree that #7 is particularly strong. I’m fascinated by the themes that tend to suggest themselves when the stories come together – #4 had a thread of ‘perception’, and #5 seemed to have ‘morality within relationships’ at its heart. But #7 has tapped into ‘belief’. The theme may be strongest in ‘Malik Rising’ and ‘Flight’ (also two quite different stories with incredible commonality, both very intense), as well as ‘Autopsy’, but it is there in the others nonetheless.

From what I’ve glimpsed of Ange’s top-secret story selection folder, #8 could well be the ‘visceral horror’ issue (helped in spades by my savage little number, Congo Jenga).

While I’m stirred up about Shadowed Realms, I’ll mention a few reviews that touch on flash fiction that I’ve seen over the last few months. It appears a number of reviewers have a pre-disposition to indifference (bordering on dislike) of the short-short form. I’m quite surprised at this, and can only surmise they’ve been subjected to *bad* flash fiction.

SR #7 has a couple of Shadow Box submissions (or, I should say, micro stories that were submitted to Shadow Box and poached by Angela – but will still appear in Shadow Box as reprints). ‘Downpour’ in particular says a tremendous amount in just over 100 words. There have been many stories in Shadowed Realms approaching 1000 words that read like mini-epics, such as ‘Faith’ (#3), ‘Soul Garden’ (#4), or have complex characters or relationships – ‘Is It Wrong?’ (#2), ‘Driving the Past Home’ (#5), or ‘Triad in the Key of Lies’ in the current issue.

Even moving away from Shadowed Realms, I’ve read several very cool short-shorts in places like Antipodean SF and Ideomancer. In fact, Jay Lake’s aborted ‘Calends’ series, which was partially published in Ideomancer last year, absolutely rocked.

So what is it with some reviewers and flash fiction? Are we a society indoctrinated to like the ever-increasing size of novels to the exclusion of all else? Is there too much bad flash fiction out there (although I’m buggered if I know where it’s being published) corrupting the reputation of the good? I’d love to know.

In other news, my first uni assignment (Journalism II) was returned to me as a High Distinction. Woot!

and

… Damnit! I just received a Nigerian spam email! Sure, I’ll give you my bank account for your $25 million you sons of so-and-sos … Looks like I’m gonna have to change my email again …

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