WELCOME TO DECEMBER PROJECT!
this explanation/intro will be posted before each day’s short story. scroll down to get to the story-review.
this is the SIXTH year of me doing a short story advent calendar as my december project. for those of you new to me or this endeavor, here’s the skinny: every day in december, i will be reading a short story that is 1) available free somewhere on internet, and 2) listed on goodreads as its own discrete entity. there will be links provided for those of you who like to read (or listen to) short stories for free, and also for those of you who have wildly overestimated how many books you can read in a year and are freaking out about not meeting your 2020 reading-challenge goals. i have been gathering links all year when tasty little tales have popped into my feed, but i will also accept additional suggestions, as long as they meet my aforementioned 1), 2) standards.
GR has deleted the pages for several of the stories i’ve read in previous years without warning, leaving me with a bunch of missing reviews and broken links, which makes me feel shitty. i have tried to restore the ones i could, but my to-do list is already a ball of nightmares, so that’s still a work-in-progress. however, because i don’t have a lot of time to waste, i’m not going to bother writing much in the way of reviews for these, in case GR decides to scrap ’em again.
i am doing my best.
DECEMBER 11: A RUMOR OF ANGELS – DALE BAILEY
the only thing to do was move forward into the bleak mystery of the future. You moved on. There was nothing else to do.
a lovely atmospheric story i’m not sure i fully understood or appreciated. i loved the writing, but the story itself seems a little off-brand for tor—it doesn’t have much in the way of a SFF vibe; that ending could be divine/supernatural, or it could be geological anomaly, who’s to say?
in any case, for the bulk of the novelette, it’s strictly realism—a dust bowl migration story that reads like steinbeck when it’s optimistic, and mccarthy when it’s not. it’s in no hurry to get anywhere, which is maybe why it feels like it doesn’t go anywhere—it’s well-written and the prose is evocative, but when you strip the story of its pretty wrapping paper, it’s about View Spoiler »a boy who abandons his father—who literally needs him to survive—and then becomes a parasite to a struggling family before stealing their child’s most treasured possession « Hide Spoiler. he’s not written as an antihero, but it’s hard to root for him, bullet-pointed out like that.
i honestly think it would have been a stronger story if he’d just cut out the angel stuff altogether, because what’s there is so brief and ambiguous—it could just be extreme thermal drafts or something (i’m not a meteorologist—those are things, right?)
anyway, the descriptions-of-place-are excellent and hardship-narratives are all my kind of thing, but the ending fell flat for me and it doesn’t feel complete, so if there’s more to this journey somewhere, lemme know and i’ll read it and reassess.
DECEMBER 1: NIGHT STAND – DANIEL WOODRELL
DECEMBER 2: MR. DEATH – ALIX HARROW
DECEMBER 3: THE FRUIT OF MY WOMAN – HAN KANG
DECEMBER 4: THE TINDER BOX – KATE ELLIOTT
DECEMBER 5: BABYCAKES – NEIL GAIMAN
DECEMBER 6: HIS MIDDLE NAME WAS NOT JESUS – NOVIOLET BULAWAYO
DECEMBER 7: SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE – LILLI CARRÉ
DECEMBER 8: DARK TIDE – MARK LAWRENCE
DECEMBER 9: DARKER TIDE – MARK LAWRENCE
DECEMBER 10: BREAK – MISHELL BAKER
DECEMBER 12: THE ENGLISHMAN – DOUGLAS STUART
DECEMBER 13: IT CAME FROM CRUDEN FARM – MAX BARRY
DECEMBER 14: NO MOON AND FLAT CALM – ELIZABETH BEAR
DECEMBER 15: A STUDY IN SHADOWS – BENJAMIN PERCY
DECEMBER 16: ART APPRECIATION – FIONA MCFARLANE
DECEMBER 17: THE SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS – SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA
DECEMBER 18: WE HAVEN’T GOT THERE YET – HARRY TURTLEDOVE
DECEMBER 19: THE DUNE – STEPHEN KING
DECEMBER 20: THE WORTHINGTON – EMILY CARROLL
DECEMBER 21: SUNBLEACHED – NATHAN BALLINGRUD
DECEMBER 22: BLOOD DAUGHTER – MATTHEW LYONS
DECEMBER 23: THE LINE – AMOR TOWLES
DECEMBER 24: PIGEONS – NIBEDITA SEN
DECEMBER 25: WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED, WHAT WE WILL FORGET, WHAT WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FORGET – EUGENE LIM
DECEMBER 26: ONE/ZERO – KATHLEEN ANN GOONAN
DECEMBER 27: MATINÉE – ROBERT COOVER
DECEMBER 28: ACCESS – ANDY WEIR
DECEMBER 29: UNNECESSARY THINGS – TATYANA TOLSTAYA
DECEMBER 30: HOOK – DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN
DECEMBER 31: HE’S VERY WELL READ – CATHERINE LACEY
previous years’ advent calendars (what’s left of ’em):