Saturday, January 6, 2018

A List of Forty-Nine Lies by Steven Fischer

A Review

Here'show the story begins:

My name is not Levi. I am not afraid.

This is a great example of how much work a properly-chosen title can do. Two sentences into the story and we know that the protagonist's name is Levi, that he is afraid, and that we are only forty-seven lies from its end.

Reading a series of negatives and decoding them into positives would be exhausting for the reader if the story went on too long.Thankfully, Fischer knew to "write to length," as the Old Hands like to say. A novella unnaturally compressed to novelette length will feel rushed and unsatisfying. A short story made into a novella will feel padded. This is a natural flash fiction. It is, most satisfactionaly, written as one.

Were I to say much of anything about the plot of a story that is only, as promised,forty-nine lies long, it would spoil at least much of the experience for the reader. So. In summary:

It's short.

It's a good story.

I like it.

A List of Forty-Nine Lies was published in the January/February issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.


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