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 19: THE DUNE – STEPHEN KING
no sandworms here, but some unexpected bird content:
Beecher struggles to his feet and clutches his belly until the last of the pain subsides. He brushes sand and shells from his trousers, double-checks his mooring rope, then spots one of the turkey buzzards perched on the island’s largest rock, peering down at him.
‘Hi!’ he shouts in the voice he now hates – cracked and wavering, the voice of a fishwife. ‘Hi, you bugger! Get on about your business.’
After a brief rustle of its raggedy wings, the turkey buzzard sits right where it is. Its beady eyes seem to say, But, Judge – today you are my business.
Beecher stoops, picks up a larger shell and shies it at the bird. This time it does fly away, the sound of its wings like rippling cloth. It soars across the short stretch of water and lands on his dock. Still, the Judge thinks, a bad omen. He remembers a fellow on the Florida State Patrol telling him once that turkey buzzards didn’t just know where carrion was; they also knew where carrion would be.
‘I can’t tell you,’ the patrolman said, ‘how many times I’ve seen those ugly bastards circling a spot on the Tamiami where there’s a fatal wreck a day or two later. Sounds crazy, I know, but just about any Florida road cop will tell you the same.’
this is a fantastic story, more magical than horrific, and it rolls merrily along, building zero tension but fleshing out a pretty cool situation that involves death, but is not spooooooky, and then he ends it with a sudden startling I’M STEPHEN KING, BITCHES mic drop that catches you off guard and is very fun unless you are a person who can only have fun whilst being scared. in which case, read a paper.
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 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 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):