Author Topic: Best Short Stories?  (Read 11036 times)

Offline Debbie

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Best Short Stories?
« on: October 08, 2006, 10:04:21 pm »
The two that stick in my mind were both from Omni many years ago when it was still in paper form:

An sf one that I can't remember the name of - about a colonisation of a planet where the natives give the colonisers a "friendly" plant which then grows so fast the colony have to ask the natives for the bug to eat the plant, which then eats everything in sight so they have to get an animal to eat the bug etc etc

The other one was called something like "The Cheese Puff man" or similar - an opinion on a strange man which the narrator eventually turns into. Very odd, but very compulsive reading.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 11:37:20 am »
I think my own all-time favourite is Clive Barker's "In The Hills, The Cities", a tale where the inhabitants of two villages do battle by joining together to become two "giants", towers of writhing, joined bodies doing battle. "The Inhuman Condition" by Clive Barker is another favourite, and finally, probably, "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" by Stephen King - cheating a bit here as it's novella length, I think.

I can't end without mentioning a story that I read when I was nine, and has stayed with me ever since - "The Monkey's Paw", by W.W. Jacobs.

David Lee Stone

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 12:04:31 pm »
I?ve come up with some of my all-time favourites (in no particular order):

C.S. Forester - The Man Who Didn?t Ask Why
Richard Matheson - No Such Thing as a Vampire
Michael Marshall Smith - More Tomorrow
Graham Masterton - The Hungry Moon
Terry Lamsley - Screens
Ramsey Campbell - Out of the Woods, The Horror Under Warrendown, Watch the Birdie, The Guide
Paul J. McAuley - Negative Equity
Neil Gaiman - The Price, The Wedding Gift
Ray Bradbury - Free Dirt


ChrisT

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2006, 12:15:27 pm »
My favourites are, in no particular order (and off the top of my head):

Ramsey Campbell's "A Street was Chosen"
Stephen Gallagher's "Right Here, Right Now"
Michael Marshall Smith's "Hell Hath Enlarged Herself" and "More Tomorrow"
Graham Masterton's "Eric the Pie" and "The Burgers of Calais"
Paul Finch's "My Day Dying"
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"
Roald Dahl's "Henry Sugar"

Offline Gary Mc

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2006, 12:41:50 pm »
The Dark Land - Michael Marshall Smith
The Old School - Ramsey Campbell
The Choices You Make - Pete Tennant
The Willows - Algernon Blackwood
The Cutter - Edward Bryant
In the Penal Colony - Kafka
Sitting in the Corner, Whimpering Quietly - Dennis Etchison
The Whimper of Whipped Dogs - Harlan Ellison
City Fishing  - Steve Rasnic Tem

... I could go on all day.   ;D

Sean

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 02:01:40 pm »
Here's a few (probably on the whole quite obvious choices again - sorry!)

The Red Room - H.G.Wells
The Scythe - Ray Bradbury
The Dreams of Albert Moreland - Fritz Leiber
Seeing the World - Ramsey Campbell
The Girl and the Robot with Flowers - Brian Aldiss
Number 13 - M.R. James
The Thing on the Doorstep - H. P. Lovecraft
The Masque of the Red Death - E.A. Poe
Perchance to Dream - Charles Beaumont
The Sound Sweep - J.G. Ballard
Sometimes They Come Back - Stephen King
Legion of Plotters - Richard Matheson
The Lost Boy Found - Terry Lamsley
Running Down - M. John Harrison
The Life of Death - Clive Barker
The Electric Ant - Philip K. Dick

...and .... and .... and ...

ChrisT

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 02:11:22 pm »
Can't believe I missed out Richard Matheson: "Button, Button", "The Distributor", "Duel" and "Terror at 20,000 Feet".

Joe Hill's "Hear the Locust Sing"
Paul Meloy's "Black Static"
Will McIntosh's "Soft Apocalypse"
Mark Samuels's, anything from The White Hands

Offline Paul Campbell

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2006, 11:51:46 am »
The Things They Left Behind, Stephen King, available in the superb Ed McBain edited anthology Transgressions (2005); an 800 page gathering of 10 original novellas.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transgressions-Ed-McBain/dp/0752872370/sr=1-3/qid=1160562794/ref=sr_1_3/026-6262332-5493258?ie=UTF8&s=books

Now, Stephen's the first to admit that he's got diarrhoea of the wordprocessor (where he won't use a word where a page will do!) so you'd expect, when presented with the opportunity to write a novella, that his would be the longest.

Actually, it's the shortest: and at 10,000 words it's really a novelette than a novella.

It's also the best story in the collection.

What's it about?

Essentially about a man's survivor gulit a year after the 9/11 attacks... only it isn't. There's so much more going on than just that.

I'm reluctant to say any more as it's a terrific little gem to discover.

Amazon's got it at a healthy discount right now and it's well worth picking up as there's not a bad story in the whole anthology.

ChrisT

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2006, 12:30:09 pm »
I just don't get the big publishers - they say short stories/novellas don't sell, yet here is Orion publishing a collection of ten of them...

Of course, each tale is written by a Name but nevertheless if the Orion marketeers are so convinced such works don't sell then why accept this for publication?

Would it really be too much of a leap to publish a collection of novellas from lesser-known names?

Anyway, cheers for the link Paul.

Gary Couzens

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2006, 06:18:48 pm »
The two that stick in my mind were both from Omni many years ago when it was still in paper form:

An sf one that I can't remember the name of - about a colonisation of a planet where the natives give the colonisers a "friendly" plant which then grows so fast the colony have to ask the natives for the bug to eat the plant, which then eats everything in sight so they have to get an animal to eat the bug etc etc

The other one was called something like "The Cheese Puff man" or similar - an opinion on a strange man which the narrator eventually turns into. Very odd, but very compulsive reading.

The second one is "The Pear-Shaped Man" by George R.R. Martin, published in 1987 and reprinted in the very first Datlow/Windling Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. Cheese does play a part in the story.

I don't know the first one.

Offline D. J. R. Allkins

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2006, 08:07:01 pm »
These are my favourite ones, in no specific order. 
?The Shadow over Innsmouth? by H. P. Lovecraft.
 ?Sweet Bruising Skin? by Storm Constantine.
?Subway Jack? by Joe R. Lansdale.
?Cyril the Cyberpig? by Eugene Byrne.
?Where the Bodies are Buried? by Kim Newman.
?The Tower? by Marghanita Laski.
?Ringing the Changes? by Robert Aickman.
?The Inner Room? by Robert Aickman.
?Dread? by Clive Barker.
?Rawhead Rex? by Clive Barker.
?The Body Politic? by Clive Barker.
?The Forbidden? by Clive Barker.
?The Madonna? by Clive Barker.
?In the Flesh? by Clive Barker.
?The Life of Death? by Clive Barker.
?How Spoilers bleed? by Clive Barker.
?The Ruins of Contracoeur? by Joyce Carol Oates.
?The Shadow, The Darkness? by Thomas Ligotti.
?Rio Grande Gothic? by David Morrell.
?The Mould of Yancy? by Philip K. Dick. 
?Pillar of Salt? by Shirley Jackson.
?Completist Heaven? by Kim Newman.
?Teddy Bears? Picnic? by Kim Newman and Eugene Byrne.
?The Chimney? by Ramsey Campbell.   
?Mackintosh Willy? by Ramsey Campbell.
?Boiled Alive? by Ramsey Campbell.
?Pop Art? by Joe Hill.
?Never Never? by Bruce Glassco.
?Chivalry? by Neil Gaiman.
?Only the End of the World Again? by Neil Gaiman.
?Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot? by Neil Gaiman.
?Snow, Glass, Apples? by Neil Gaiman. by Neil Gaiman.

Offline Debbie

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2006, 09:53:34 pm »
The second one is "The Pear-Shaped Man" by George R.R. Martin, published in 1987 and reprinted in the very first Datlow/Windling Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. Cheese does play a part in the story.
Yes! That's it! Will have to look out for a copy. God only knows what happened to my Omni collection.

Thanks, Gary.

Offline Lermontov

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2006, 11:28:10 pm »
Quote
Yes! That's it! Will have to look out for a copy.

You can find it in here, Debbie, with just about every other piece of short fiction Martin has written!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dreamsongs-GRRM-RRetrospective-Gollancz-S-F/dp/0575079053/sr=1-2/qid=1160605401/ref=sr_1_2/026-1738357-4518815?ie=UTF8&s=books

Offline Debbie

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2006, 10:42:51 pm »
Many thanks. I'm surpised by the author though as I've never managed to get into his longer stuff - ths sheer physical weight puts me off to start with!

Offline Wayne Mook

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Re: Best Short Stories?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2008, 12:58:46 am »
Anything by MR James.

The Smoke Ghost by Fritz Leiber - best urban ghost story ever.
The Garside Fell Disaster - LTC Rolt and The Signal Man by Charles Dickens, two railway tales which always stick in my mind.
Caterpillars - EF Benson.
The Lottery - Shirley Jackson.
Of Withered Apples - Philip K. Dick. I'll never go scrumping again.
The Willows - Algernon Blackwood.
Nightquake - Arthur Porges.  (As Pat rodgers.) He also did a tale in a Hugh Lamb collection called The Man Who Wouldn'y Eat.
Speciality of the House - Stanley Ellin.
Fairy Dust - Charles Birkin.

I guess Cornell Woolrich should get a mention for some of the edgiest tales ever.

Wayne.