Listing Category: Contemporary

Good People, by David Foster Wallace

They were up at a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a drowned tree in the shallows half-hidden by the bank. Lane A. Dean Jr., and his girlfriend, both in blue jeans and button-up shirts. … Their postures on the picnic table were both the same forward kind with their shoulders rounded and their elbows on their knees. In this position the girl rocked slightly and once put her face in her hands, but she was not crying.

There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

the house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

Writers’ Anarchy: A Short Story Anthology

The Race of the Birdmen
by Harry S. Franklin

“Alright Kid, take a knee.”

Oh ya, the knee—here it comes. One knee sunk into the grass like a pushpin, one elbow effortlessly posed over the opposite knee, chin up, eyes inevitably squinting into the sun, and most importantly, a mask of complete innocence and surprise.

This time it’s serious. Coach has got his arms folded across his chest—a clear sign of his mood. This was going to be one of those man-to-man jobs; which wasn’t too bad considering man-to-man usually means one man does all the talking.

“Here’s the deal.” Coach was always giving someone the deal. “Seems to me, you’re not gettin it. Maybe you think you’ve got it all figured out?”

“But Coach…”

“Zip it—I’m just getting started. Now, I’ve seen plenty of kids like you—you’re a good enough kid—and I’m not just talking about playing ball. It’s a difficult age and all that—I get it. I remember what it’s like. I used to have all my shit figured out, and nobody could tell me nothing.” Coach was the only adult without a kid on the team, and he never talked to you like a dad; his language was considered “salty” by the dads—but nobody ever said that to his face.

“That’s why I’m gonna tell you something I guarantee you haven’t heard before. Maybe then you’ll see there’s still room inside that thick skull of yours to cram in a few more lessons.”

The mask of innocence quickly morphs into a look of disappointment as the kid shutters one eye in a prolonged wink into the sunlight.

“Ever hear of the Birdmen from Easter Island?”
“Is it a movie?”
“Ha! No, this story is too original for Hollywood. But I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of them; do you know why?”
“Because you made them up?”
“Nope, the Birdmen were real, so is Easter Island—it’s that one with all the creepy stone heads. But you probably haven’t heard of the people who carved those heads, because they’re all dead.”

New Stories from the Midwest edited by Jason Lee Brown and Shanie Latham

New Stories from the Midwest

New Stories from the Midwest presents a collection of stories that celebrate an American region too often ignored in discussions about distinctive regional literature. Features short fiction by Charles Baxter, Dan Chaon, Christopher Mohar, Rebecca Makkai, Lee Martin, and others.

Reply All by Robin Hemley

Reply All by Robin Hemley

Reply All, the third collection of award-winning and widely anthologized short stories by Robin Hemley, takes a humorous, edgy, and frank look at the human art of deception and self-deception.

Sightings by B. J. Hollars

Sightings by B.J. Hollars

B. J. Hollars’s debut short story collection offers ten thematically linked tales, all of which are out to subvert conventional notions of the midwestern coming-of-age story.

Short Story Guy’s Current Event Fiction

Short Story Guy

The place for Current Event Fiction: informing and entertaining through news-inspired short stories.

The Judge’s Will by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

“AAfter his second heart attack, the judge knew that he could no longer put off informing his wife about the contents of his will….”

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/03/25/130325fi_fiction_jhabvala#ixzz2PtZ3pkai

Dark Lies The Island by Kevin Barry

A wickedly funny and hugely original collection of stories about misspent love and crimes gone horribly wrong. Kevin Barry’s dazzling languate, razor-sharp ear for the vernacular, and keen eye from the tragedies and comedies of daily life invest these tales with a startling vitality. Shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and as More Info »

Byzantium by Ben Stroud

Ancient cities and fallen empires come to life in this masterful collection. In the Byzantine court, a noble with a crippled hand is called upon to ensure a holy man poses no threat to the throne. On an island in Lake Michigan, a religious community crumbles after an ardent convert digs a little too deep.. More Info »