Flash Fiction: 365 Tomorrows

You might enjoy 365 Tomorrows if you like your science fiction in small, regular doses. Every day, it posts a new story that doesn’t take long to read (600 words or less). I don’t visit the site as often as I’d like to; I’m not the “visit every day” type, I’m more the “guy who ignores your blog for two months and then shows up and reads sixty days of posts in one sitting.”

When I decided to post about shorter fiction, I remembered a story that I read back in 2013: Vengeance by Bob Newbell. This story is about a “soft-style” alien invasion, which I’ve seen in science fiction before, but it throws in some new elements: a good explanation of why the aliens are going for the “soft” invasion, and an interesting human response to it (although I don’t think the humans really needed to make an either-or choice as presented in the story).

I’m curious what length of story my readers prefer, so help me out by answering the polls below and/or making comments. If you’re not familiar with word counts, I estimate that a mass-market paperback has about 250 words per page.

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12 comments

  1. I always seem to have a hard time reading longer works, as I keep feeling that I should be working on my own, not reading those from someone else. Silly, I know, but we can’t really stop our thoughts and self-depreciation attempts, can we?

    1. Yeah, I know that feeling. Keep this in mind: if you read a book about writing by a famous author, they will usually say that reading is one of the things you should do to improve your writing (practicing writing being the other thing).

  2. I love the little twist toward the end of “Vengeance.”

    1. Yes, I guess that’s why I remembered it after a couple of years!

  3. I couldn’t answer your second question because I don’t have ONE favorite length for fiction. (I don’t care for microfiction or flash fiction; I like everything else, although I do read fewer short stories than novels or series.)

    1. I have several friends who aren’t interested in short stories. I get the feeling they start to get interested in a story, but then are disappointed with the abruptness of the ending.

  4. I mainly picked novella for my favorite because it split the difference between short stories and novels. But I also remember when even 40K words used to be called novels.

    1. Good point. Jack Campbell / John G. Hemry talks about this in a foreword to one of his novels; he says 40k was the standard, then it moved up to 60k, and now it’s probably around 90k. I suppose the marketing people at the publishing houses determined there was some kind of perceived value problem with shorter novels. As a reader, I would have preferred keeping them shorter, and dropping the price. Sometimes I read a novel that is so good, I don’t want it to end, but more often, I feel like there’s a bunch of “filler” in a book, that bores me and drops me out of the story.

  5. I laughed at “guy who ignores you blog for two months” because I have such a hard time keeping up with all the great blogs out there. I feel guilty when I can’t find the time. I’m more of a novel person myself, but I love reading about sci-fi in all its forms.

    1. I used to be primarily a short story reader, but I’ve come to enjoy novels in recent years, to the point where I will usually read an entire series if the first novel is good enough. The longest I’ve read is the 20 (plus one half) novels of the “Master and Commander” series by Patrick O’Brian.

      1. That is a long one! Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga is probably my longest sci-fi series. But I’ve also read the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell and loved that a lot. I haven’t gotten around to Master and Commander, but I would like to.

        1. I like all the Vorkosigan books I’ve read (but haven’t gotten to the prequels yet) and the Sharpe series, although I’ve only read the first two (but have also seen a couple of movies based on the later books).

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