Questions tagged [short-stories]

Questions about stories with a fully developed plot, themes, and characters, but significantly shorter and less detailed than a novel.

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3 votes
1 answer
352 views

When does the short story "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork" of the "InCryptid" series take place?

When does the short story "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork" take place in the chronological order of the InCryptid series? The InCryptid ...
3 votes
0 answers
37 views

Why call them the "little pointy hours"?

This is the start of James Parker's "An Ode to Being Read To", which is in October 2022's The Atlantic. I fixed my insomnia with whiskey and audiobooks. Seriously. I was a terrible non-...
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3 votes
1 answer
31 views

Difference between "emperor" and "living emperor" in Kafka's "The Great Wall of China"

This is a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka. What's the difference between "emperor" and "living emperor"? Our land is so huge, that no fairy tale can ...
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

Explain a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka

Can anyone explain the following quote from the short story "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka: First, one must realize that at that time certain achievements were brought to fruition ...
10 votes
1 answer
316 views

Looking for a science fiction short story about aliens harvesting heat from a probe

Around 2005 I remember reading a short story about an Earth probe that landed on another planet with aliens on it. The alien race determined seniority by the amount of heat they accumulated, which ...
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1 vote
0 answers
34 views

Children's short story where prehistoric childen have to cross a predator's territory

This was a short story in a children's magazine in the English language in the USA about 1960. Possibly in Jack and Jill. I am not certain whether this was before or after we moved in November 1961. ...
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

What was Gheria trying to say?

I’m reading “No such thing as a vampire” by Richard Matheson (Link - Caution: There's a large scary skull picture on this website). In the paragraph below (bold emphasis added), I don’t understand ...
0 votes
1 answer
54 views

What does "The people know that and are waiting for it" mean?

I’m reading “No such thing as a vampire” by Richard Matheson (Link- Caution: There's a large scary skull picture in this website). I have a problem and need some help. In the paragraph below, I don’t ...
2 votes
0 answers
41 views

Short story about two people writing back and forth and they can't stop because it's not polite to not respond

I can't remember where I read this. It's a short story about two people writing back and forth. They can't stop because it's not polite to not respond. I think it ends with
9 votes
1 answer
441 views

"The Interesting Vocation of . . . ?" — a mystery about a man with memory loss & an evil secret society that lives in mirrors

Science fiction short story or novelette, 1960 thru 1970s, a mystery about a man with memory loss & an evil secret society that lives in mirrors, the conclusion being that the man is an art critic ...
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3 votes
0 answers
48 views

Looking for a short story or essay - "At 80" written by a man at the end of his life about the experience of aging

It's by a man in his 80's and he reflects on the experience of aging. I am almost positive the title was "At 80" but might have been "At Eighty" and might have had a subtitle. I ...
1 vote
1 answer
24 views

Why does Avrom Wolf say he'll never tell his story again in Singer's "The Wager"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Wager", the "guest", Avrom Wolf, tells his hosts of a bet when he was a kid that wound up with two people dead. The story leaves off ...
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2 votes
2 answers
71 views

Meaning of 'yellow down' in the sentence

The others looked at me, I know for sure, with more envy than fear, and I even suspected one of them was going to tell on me to my dad. Was I doing the right thing? But there was no time for ...
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0 votes
0 answers
32 views

English short story about a highway man. Possible quote "one good turn deserves another"

The story starts with an old man and his cook/caretaker lady in his home. I seem to remember that is was not a rich house, but well to do. It is supper time and it is raining heavily outside. I think ...
4 votes
0 answers
41 views

What are the "Globe" and "Park" in "Phyllis and Rosamond" by Virginia Woolf?

I'm reading Virginia Woolf's short story "Phyllis and Rosamond" and, well, here's the opening passage: In this very curious age, when we are beginning to require pictures of people, their ...
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0 votes
0 answers
39 views

Which science fiction story ends with the word INSECTS (or similar) instead of the end?

I'm looking for a story in which the last natural things on earth are behind doors or have been bought and there are just a few things left. What there is plenty are insects. I would like to find out ...
1 vote
0 answers
23 views

Why does "Your Ad Could Go Here" state that the Orange Revolution lasted for three weeks?

The Orange Revolution protests were called for on November 21, 2004 in response to election fraud in their 2004 Presidential election. Eventually, the Supreme Court ordered a re-vote on December 26, ...
0 votes
0 answers
19 views

Is "An Album for Gustav" referring to the author's language skills?

In An Album for Gustav, Oksana Zabuzhko tals When people ask me this question and I try to answer, every time I feel like I come up against a solid wall inside myself, a profound lack of desire to ...
5 votes
0 answers
36 views

Short Story Identification with a dragon at a well and a princess raised as a boy

Trying to find a short story I remember reading in elementary school, so it was written early 2000s the latest. It was part of an anthology, but I can't remember any of the other stories in it, though ...
1 vote
1 answer
43 views

Was Milena's husband evading taxes?

At one point in I, Milena, Milena's husband (who is a photographer) complained that someone had swindled him. When Milena suggested taking them to court, he said What court, are you kidding? On what ...
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why are Santa Barbara, Denver, and Dallas held up as examples of the glamorous high life?

From I, Milena in Your Ad Could Go Here, Did they (the women [who appeared on Milena's show], not the moths - although who could say with confidence what a moth is thinking?) Perhaps dream that by ...
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

What is the name of the short story about the woman whose new husband steals her money by climbing onto the roof of a bus?

I am trying to find a short story whose title and author I forget. The story is written in English and it is about a newly-wed (or soon-to-be-wed) man who scams his wife/fiancée out of her money (or ...
5 votes
1 answer
75 views

What is an Akhmatovian nose?

I, Milena by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) contains the following quote: If anyone has forgotten, let me remind you: Milena talked to jilted women. There were old ones among them and ...
3 votes
0 answers
57 views

What does Borges want to convey with this theme in his work?

In many of his works, Borges uses a "final twist" in which two characters exchange their role. For example in the short story Three versions of Judas the life of a theologian who analyses ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sci-Fi story where someone rubs their hand over a space stone and falls into a trance

I read this story decades ago, and suddenly recalled, looking at my kid scrolling on his phone. Somebody visits a guy who returned from a space exploration. "What did you bring?" - "...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was a pumpkin a symbol of rejection of a suitor?

From The Tale of the Guelder Rose Flute in Your Ad Could Go Here: Hannusia honestly did not feel she was being too choosy with the lads - she always refused the matchmakers, who, during the first ...
2 votes
0 answers
49 views

Looking for an anecdote / a story about two men enjoying to read sillently reading in the library while their spouses are chatting

I am looking for a written version of an anecdote I heard as a child. Two married couples meet regularly. The women spend the evenings chatting; their husbands withdraw to the library, sipping a ...
3 votes
0 answers
48 views

Short story about trading shares of people as financial instruments

A few years ago I read an excellent short story that I've been looking for ever since. Here's what I can remember: In this story's world it was common for people to sell shares of themselves (or ...
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1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Did Effie receive insulin shock therapy?

At the school reunion in Girls, one former classmate recounted having seen Effie: Last summer, Marinka says, by accident, on the street, "I didn't recognize her." She says that you, Effie, ...
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

When did the Soviet government start admitting that people were killed in Afghanistan?

Early on in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Soviet government went to great lengths to cover up the exact nature of the war, telling everyone that the troops were planting trees, building bridges, ...
1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Was pigskin leather easier to acquire in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic than cattle leather?

In Girls (part of Your Ad Could Go Here), Darka's mother had the "little joy" of getting a leather coat: Everything that followed in her life was fine with her: marriage, poverty, children, ...
6 votes
1 answer
272 views

What is a "more bankable nationality"?

The short story Girls by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) features Darka meeting a girl of apparently high social status: Rivka... smelled of homemade vanilla cookies, vacations at a spa in ...
1 vote
1 answer
42 views

Second-person Damon Runyon stories

Which of Damon Runyon's writings are written completely using the second person point of view? One example of this is A Change of Heart by Michel Butor . I heard John Sayles refer to Damon Runyon ...
1 vote
0 answers
31 views

Short story about a traveling vampire cage fighter

I remember reading an intriguing story about a vampire fighting in cages across the country, sort of a supernatural MMA. It appeared (I think) online in the magazine Dark Recesses Press in 2008. I've ...
7 votes
1 answer
728 views

Help finding a book/short story about a man who comes back from the dead and finds himself in a world that's forgotten fear

Back in high school (around the late 2010s) we were given a story to read as part of our English class. I don't remember the name, just the major plot points. The story begins with the narration of a ...
2 votes
1 answer
84 views

Comedy mystery short story involving an inept detective, stolen diamonds, and a baby's rattle

I remember reading this as a short story in an anthology, probably in the early 1990s. My parents had a lot of books with crime stories in them, as well as humor anthologies, so that unfortunately ...
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1 vote
0 answers
31 views

Latin America (Brazil?) short stories. Just recall fragments: A lone traveler

The protagonist, a traveler to some distant town narrating the stories. In some of them, he sees another figure on the horizon, shadowing him. In one of the stories (an early one in the collection) ...
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0 votes
0 answers
64 views

Why doesn't the author use quote marks here to signal imagination?

I’m reading the short story “The ticket” in the magazine “Prism International”, written by Emil A. Draitser. It’s a story about a boy named Roma, who wants others stop looking him as a baby. (Link - ...
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Story about a man who bets his head but not his neck with the devil

I remember a story about a man who bets "his head" with the devil and loses. I do not remember what the wager actually was. The devil is ready to chop the man's head off with an axe, but the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
69 views

What is the name of German-language horror or crime pulp novel series from late 80s/early 90s?

Back in the very early 90s, my father worked in Germany. The previous tenant in his apartment left some 80s/early-90s 7" vinyls, floppy discs and some horror/crime stich-bound short novels. ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Confusing paragraph from the story 'Evans tries an O-level' by Colin Dexter

"Evans the Break" as the prison officers called him. Thrice he'd excaped from prison, and but for the recent wave of unrest in the maximum security establishments up north, he wouldn't now ...
2 votes
2 answers
153 views

How is "They seem to have a lot of parsons there, don’t they?” a joke?

This is from the story "Evans Tries An O-Level" by Colin Dexter", page 2, last paragraph. How is it a joke? "They seem to have a lot of parsons there, don’t they?” The two men ...
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

What does this paragraph from "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" By John Updike mean? [duplicate]

In class we're doing "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" by John Updike. A part of the last paragraph is a little bit unclear to me: “The poor kid,” he answered, and with utter weariness watched his ...
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8 votes
1 answer
141 views

Short story about chess

In the book The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James, the following passage appears on page 156. Alekhine, near the end of his life, lonely and sick, but still world champion, told a ...
2 votes
1 answer
281 views

When in "The Dresden Files" does "Little Things" chronologically take place?

"Little Things" has been released in Butcher's Dresden anthology Heroic Hearts. When does it take place?
1 vote
0 answers
33 views

Satire of old lady laying flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier, Paris - what is this french short story?

In a german textbook in high school we had a short story the name and author of which I am looking for. I think the story was written between WWI and WWII or right after WWII. It is about an old lady ...
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10 votes
2 answers
122 views

Looking for a collection of British medical short stories circa 1950's

Circa 1977 I read a collection of short stories, all with a medical theme and all told from a British doctor’s point of view (this was in a British library). I have often remembered it, but have never ...
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3 votes
0 answers
24 views

Is the phrase "memory therapy", used in Rain of Days, to encompass a broad range of practices?

In Rain of Days by Ray Nayler, the story describes memory therapy sessions in a future with doctors providing care through avatars. In an opening scene the doctor explains the basis of the simulation ...
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1 vote
0 answers
33 views

Killer abducts woman (witness to a killing?). Her attempt to escape from the hotel room is foiled by a door wedge. Ambiguous ending

This may have been a short story in an Alfred Hitchcock story collection, as I read a lot of those as a child. It would have been read prior to 2000, after 1988 or so, since that's when I started ...
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4 votes
1 answer
55 views

Why is Happy Buddha playing the "Titanic" theme in "How to Be Chinese"?

This is some description of the restaurant Happy Buddha from the short story "How to Be Chinese". Bolding is mine. Look around to see what it’s like in a real Chinese restaurant. The ...
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