Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer - Robert Swartwood, Kathleen Ryan, Donora Hillard, Mercedes M. Yardley, Barry Napier, Jeremy D. Brooks, Tara Deal, Jane Hammons, Randall Brown, Val Gryphin, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Sophie Playle I had never heard of flash fiction or micro fiction or any of that other stuff before I read this little book. Hint fiction is apparently a new concept made popular by Robert Swartwood, the editor. He hosted a contest in which people had to submit stories that were 25 words or less with the full impact of a regular-sized story. He says “a story should do four basic things: obviously it should tell a story; it should be entertaining; it should be thought-provoking; and, if done well enough, it should invoke an emotional response.” I thought this was a pretty cool idea, and I enjoyed reading this anthology. Most of the stories do fit into that criterion, but there were definitely some that I didn’t think had enough influence to be included. The whole notion of writing such short stories does remind me a bit of Twitter though, which I despise. It’s just a bunch of people vying for everyone else’s attention, writing the most stupid, mundane shit that ever runs through their minds, hoping desperately that someone will talk to them and reassure them that they’re important. But now I’m rambling. I’ll just include some of the stories I liked best:

“Through the Tiny Windows” by Barry Napier
When they opened the cadaver, they found a house. A couple argued inside. There was rhythm to their words, like the beating of a heart.

“That Moment” by Jack Ketchum
The old cat blinked once, focused. Then was lost to her forever.

“Pushover” by Nicky Drayden
He shoves me aside to get a better view. I never fight back. He’s worn me down, weaker than that railing at the canyon’s rim.

“Philip” by Jason Rice
The sound of breaking glass got Philip out of bed, and then he remembered he was no longer in love with his wife.

“Mein Führer” by David Joseph
By now I’ve burned more pages than I’ve read.

“Art Alone Endures” by William J. Brazill
The Art League had a competition for artists to depict the future. By accident Bogdan included a blank canvas among his submissions. It won.