Tuesday, 15 March 2016

New Discoveries in Short Fiction

There's something to be said for discovering a short fiction writer who hasn't yet released a collection; it forces you to hunt down their existing work in anthologies and magazines.  Along the way, you'll discover new publications and new writers, but always there's a kind of treasure hunt mentality - will you unearth a new gem?

Here, I'll mention a few writers whose treasures I've been unearthing recently.

I first encountered L.S. Johnson when she submitted her flash fiction This Is How You Lose Yourself to the second Dark Lane anthology.  Although this wasn't a story in the traditional sense, but more of a prose poem, I was struck by the quality of the writing and it piqued my curiosity enough to seek out more of her work.  I then read two wonderful pieces of weird fiction: first Little Men With Knives, published in Crossed Genres; and Julie published in Tartarus Press' Strange Tales V.   I also enjoyed Johnson's other story of shape-shifting Ada, Awake published in Strangelet magazine; and her story Queen of Lakes from World Weaver Press' Fae Anthology.

L.S. Johnson has just published her first collection of stories,Vacui Magia, which contains both Little Men With Knives and Julie, amongst others, and which I would highly recommend to any lovers of literary weird tales.  Julie is also scheduled to appear in The Year's Best Weird Fiction: Volume Three later this year.  Congratulations L.S!

In Strange Tales V I also first encountered the work of Elise Forier Edie.  I enjoyed her chilling beautifully-written contribution, You-Go-Back, so much that I sought out more of her fiction and also enjoyed her story Mother Night, a clever tale featuring terrifying fairies published in the Winter Horror Days anthology from Omnium Gatherum, which proved to be a perfect read for a cold evening back in January.

Undertow Publications' The Year's Best Weird Fiction: Volume Two introduced me to a number of new writers.  First, Carmen Maria Muchado, who contributed two stories to that anthology including the excellent The Husband Stitch.  I also enjoyed her tongue-in-cheek Horror Story which can be read online in Granta Magazine.  The other stories I loved in YBWF2 was Rich Larson's The Air We Breathe Is Stormy, Stormy (I love a good mermaid story), and K.M. Ferebee's The Earth and Everything Under.  To my list of favourite shorts read this year I will also add Larson's The Mermaid Caper, and Ferebee's The Bird Country.

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