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 9: DARKER TIDE – MARK LAWRENCE
when i invited all of you (both of you?) to read this story with me today, i had no idea how long it was. pals, it is LONG. it’s broken up into six parts, and estimated reading times are provided:
part 1 – 35 minutes
part 2 – 38 minutes
part 3 – 27 minutes
part 4 – 33 minutes
part 5 – 40 minutes
part 6 – 30 minutes
your reading speed may vary—mine did—but it was still way more time than i had anticipated spending on fulfilling today’s short story challenge.
silver-lining-however, reading a long’un helped me feel like less of a cheaty-reader for having read those veryshort stories earlier in this project even though i know the only one judging me for that is me.
if you have the time, it’s worth reading this one. although it features the same encroaching-darkness phenomenon as Dark Tide, it’s more of a companion story than a sequel, so you can read this one independently without any confusion. there are some repeated elements between the two stories: a “ship” called Pandora (FUN FACT: Dark Tide has TWO…modes of transport named Pandora), the mantra “Hope floats,” the image of a burned-out car with a gutted teddy bear, and the eventual mode of escape, but in this one, there’s just more: more backstory, more character work, more conflicts, more time spent observing/evading the darkness and the additional threats it generates, more time strategizing an escape plan, more speculation around the cause of the event, more detail about what happens to people (and animals) the darkness has touched, more magic, and more mentions of a-ha.
Elias didn’t understand how friendship worked. He didn’t understand the forces that would push him out of the car into the claws of monsters rather than let down a boy who almost broke his nose last fall over an argument about a skateboard. Intellectually he knew that whatever random collection of boys had been in his class at school he would have found friends. Robbie was just a roll of the dice. But he was Elias’s roll. This was his life. What had been given to him and what he had taken, and if he were willing to toss it aside because of fear, then what was any of it worth? If their friendship wasn’t special than neither was the life he was trying to protect.
(there are a lot of typos throughout this story and i have chosen to copyedit that passage instead of [sic.]-ing it—please don’t sue me for tampering!)
anyway, not content with deleting my previous years’ advent calendar stories, gr had “a problem saving [my] review,” so i’ve had to rewrite all of this (certain that my original words were funnier and wiser all around), and i have reached the limit of how much time i am willing to spend on this silly little post and am feeling very scroogegrinch right now.
good day and bah humbug.
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 10: BREAK – MISHELL BAKER
DECEMBER 11: A RUMOR OF ANGELS – DALE BAILEY
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):