WELCOME TO DECEMBER PROJECT!
boilerplate mission statement intro:
for the past two years, i’ve set december’s project aside to do my own version of a short story advent calendar. it’s not a true advent calendar since i choose all the stories myself, but what it lacks in the ‘element of surprise’ department it more than makes up for in hassle, as i try to cram even MORE reading into a life already overcrammed with impossible personal goals (live up to your potential! find meaningful work! learn to knit!) merry merry wheee!
since i am already well behind in my *regular* reviewing, when it comes to these stories, whatever i poop out as far as reflections or impressions are going to be superficial and perfunctory at best. please do not weep for the great big hole my absented, much-vaunted critical insights are gonna leave in these daily review-spaces (and your hearts); i’ll try to drop shiny insights elsewhere in other reviews, and here, i will at least drop links to where you can read the stories yourselves for free, which – let’s be honest – is gonna serve you better anyway.
HAPPY READING, BOOKNERDS!
links to all stories read in previous years’ calendars can be found at the end of these reviews, in case you are a person who likes to read stories for free:
scroll down for links to this year’s stories which i will update as we go, and if you have any suggestions, send ’em my way! the only rules are: it must be available free online (links greatly appreciated), and it must be here on gr as its own thing so i can review it. thank you in advance!
Fawkes rubbed his temple. “What’s your name?”
The girl put her hands on her hips. “Eris, Your Majesty.”
“Eris, you were sent here as a pestilence,” Fawkes said. “The Illusionist knows the particulars of my ‘appetites’ very well. Your presence here is a jest on his part. Nothing more.” He saw recognition in her pretty face and went on. “I’m sorry to disappoint, if it was, in fact, your most ardent desire to satisfy the carnal urges of a criminally unwashed exile.”
Eris’s eyes flicked to Otto once more, like a thrown knife. “Is the automaton enchanted to hear as the Illusionist’s ears? Like they say?” Her voice had changed again, and she was repining the fabric of her shift with dexterous fingers.
Fawkes looked over to his gaoler. “Nothing in my experience suggests that, no.” Despite himself, he felt his curiosity piqued. “Why do you ask?”
“I’m not really here to fuck,” Eris said. “More to help you escape.”
this does not seem to be a crowd-pleaser of a story. and even though i am a reader with a tendency to round up my
starcat-ratings (most of my reads are three-and-a half that i uprate to four stars cats after factoring in kindness and ranganathan), the review parts of my reviews are always honest and me-specific except where otherwise noted. and i loved this. YES, it totally should be longer. YES, it reads like the first chapter of a much longer work. YES, it’s all set-up – all ‘assembling the team’ for an unwritten battle. ALL OF THAT IS FACTUAL AND ASTUTELY NOTED.
but i don’t have time to read a much longer work tonight. and i’ve challenged myself to read a short story a day in this third year of the short story advent calendar pursuit. and some days are hard and sad and i don’t exactly feel like sitting down and reading a short story and thinking of something clever to say about it. and on those days, i need a story from an author i trust, whose voice and style and energy have pleased me in the past, and from whom i know what to expect. today is one of those days. rich larson is one of those authors. and if this were a longer work, i would read it. the fact that it’s not only means that i get to briefly poke my head out of my sorrow-cavern (comforter, cookies, lightweight nostalgia-reading), read this little bitty snack of a story that delivered exactly what i needed to meet my goal without it feeling like a burden, and then trundle back to frowntown with the relief of having accomplished a thing. would i have this tepid satisfaction if it had been a whole book? i would not have! and i need all the tepid satisfaction i can get, friends.
so, yes: it would be the great opener to a novel, and if that novel should manifest one day, give me a holler. i’ll be that lump under the chocolate-smeared comforter.
read it for yourself here:
read my reviews on goodreads