Still More Free Online Short Stories

I return with some more wonderful short stories to carry you through the holiday season. Following up on last week's column I'll discuss more short stories from December Lights. I also have an intriguing Christmas story from Tor filled with spooky things and a talking dog with a taste for drink.

46 Directions, None of them North, by Deborah Coates is about a young lady caught in an incredibly frustrating situation. Her family is falling apart around her, the boy she likes is a perhaps a bit of a fool and her friends don't support her. But all of that isn't what's really bothering her. She's upset because she has an important meeting that she can't get to. Aliens are going to land in Alaska and nobody will take her to the rendezvous. She's getting texts from them, texts that her friends blow off as badly spelled spam, and she doesn't want to miss the most exciting thing ever. What's a girl to do? http://www.decemberlightsproject.com/stories/46-directions-none-of-them-...

Monstrous Love, by Jenn Reese is probably my favorite of this collection. It's told from the perspective of the son of Pygmalion and Galatea, who's happily ever after worked out pretty much the way you'd expect. Dad spends his time sculpting, Mom has to fight every male in the county and the son, whose name I never caught, is drifting a bit. He's inherited some odd characteristics that make school a drag and make him feel like he's never going to be good enough to get a girlfriend. When Maddie, a new girl that's caught his eye, tangles with a bully and he steps in to help he finds himself in increasingly confusing territory. http://www.decemberlightsproject.com/stories/monstrous-love

Lost Soul, by Marie Brennan is about musicians, specifically a young lady who plays fancypants music and a young man who tries to help her play something that will help put food in her belly. She may need more than a list of popular songs to get her where she wants to be. http://www.decemberlightsproject.com/stories/lost-soul

Death by Chocolate, by Tiffany Trent starts off with a description of the life cycle of the cupcake. The story only gets more full of fun from there. It ventures into forbidden fruit territory as well as explores some other familiar, and magical, tropes. If someone told you not to make Death by Chocolate cupcakes or something mysterious and dangerous would happen, what would you do? http://www.decemberlightsproject.com/stories/death-by-chocolate

Currer Bell Comes to America, by Merrie Haskell is a thought provoking story about what happens when all the lost ships and planes start reappearing, with the passengers and crew the same age as when they vanished. Taylor is less than thrilled when her dad brings Charlotte and Anne Bronte home with him. Why couldn't he have brought someone cool like Amelia Earhart? And why oh why does she have to let them sleep in her room? It's totally unfair. This story talks about what it means to create and be an artist, especially in a fast paced world. I enjoyed it very much. http://www.decemberlightsproject.com/stories/currer-bell-comes-to-americ...

The Trains that Climb the Winter Tree by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn is a scary Christmas story that starts with the murder of several members of a family and gets creepier from there. Another member vanishes, leaving Sasha, the little girl of the family, to try and discover what happened and hopefully fix it. There is a lot going on in this story including mysterious trains, traps and tricks, broken laws of physics, and a dog that absolutely should be kept away from all forms of alcohol. http://www.tor.com/stories/2010/12/the-trains-that-climb-the-winter-tree If you like the story you might want to take a look at this blog post, which gives a little of story behind the story. http://floggingbabel.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-write-collaborative-sto...

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from True Patriot who wrote in to say, "True Grit brings back the real America. As our forefathers were so should we be." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.