Armchair BEA 2014, Day Three: Novellas/Short Stories

With last night, so closeth day two of Armchair BEA. The primary topics of focus were author interactions and forms of expression that go beyond mere words. 

The second topic resonated with me in particular, and I decided to chat a bit about the format of comics/graphic novels. 

If anything was derived from the many discussions yesterday, it's that reading/storytelling can come in many different forms. Which is perhaps why it's apt that today's topic encourages everyone to think beyond the full-length novel and explore...

Novellas/Short Stories

Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors? 

+ Fiction = <3
Much like I'd noted yesterday, this is such a timely topic for me, personally. For the last month or so I've been reading almost exclusively short stories. Science fiction shorts, to be exact. It began with an awesomely fun experience in April at AwesomeCon 2014 in Washington, DC. It was a gathering of thousands of fans of all things geek culture. I'd attended several panels discussing speculative fiction. Such wonderful dialogues about the most beloved of sci fi novels, with fascinating info about the master authors of science fiction, it spurred me to reread old favorites and check out new-to-me stories. Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang... reading stories from these authors was a delight.

Science fiction in particular can lend itself very well to the short story format. One might think the opposite is true, given that science fiction can tend to be particular about...well, the science, and technical detail to worldcrafting. But some of the most enjoyable spec fic short stories that come to mind are those that focus less on building a world than on building a scenario that hints at an immense world beyond. With short stories in general, there's a lot less "storytelling baggage" that can often plague full-length novels And with speculative fiction short stories, there's the added benefit of being able to pitch the tentpole of reality wherever desired! (Is the baseline reality that we live on Mars and speaking telepathically? Well, all rightie then, perfect!)

If looking for a place to start in checking out short stories--especially in speculative fiction--I'd recommend reading some of the public domain works of Philip K. Dick. His stories "The Hanging Stranger" and "The Crystal Crypt" are exciting and supremely chilling, while "The Skull" and "The Defenders" weave in really impactful messages with unexpected resonance.

I'd also recommend checking out speculative fiction magazines like Strange Horizons and Asimov's Science Fiction (or one that I'm fond of for personal reasons, Penumbra  eMag) provide a diverse set of stories on a recurring basis, and from both new and established talent.


How about you? Do you often read novellas or short stories? Are they easier/more difficult to access, to enjoy? What are some of your favorite short stories?


  1. I remember reading science fiction short stories -- they do work well in that format! That could be a fun genre to revisit.

    Joy's Book Blog

  2. Ah! I love the occasional short story and novella but honestly I'm not a huge fan unless they come in print copies! ;P

  3. I haven't read many scifi shorts but the ones I did, I loved them a lot. They are certainly a lot more enjoyable and more happening than other stories.


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