- Saints Alive! (in which Harry Saunders discovers a large egg in his bathtub)
- Thursday Night Game (Jack Radney is…perhaps not quite normal)
- Not for Hire (an assassin rethinks his approach to customers)
- Freethought (it can be dangerous to let your mind wander on an airplane)
- Accidentally on Purpose (concerning a train that needed to be stolen)
- …come what may (if ants are our successors, do we still declare victory?)
- Hard Roads (a trucker explains: the rigs are supposed to move)
Note from me:
There’s a story behind this collection. Back in September I thought it might be a fun exercise to write 30 stories in 30 days…which was ridiculous, but I set out to do it anyway.
Of course there was no way I could come up with that many ideas in advance. As for outlining? That wasn’t going to happen. I mean, it would be hard for anybody–but I can’t really write to an outline anyway.
Mostly what I do is sit and tell myself stories as I go along. If I need to figure out what happens next, it’s easy: I write whatever I think might be the most fun to read. For me. Oddly, that tends to end up creating some sort of cohesive whole. Eventually, and after a lot of rewriting. But it works.
So I tried another approach. I came up with 30 initial sentences, and told myself I could choose one of them per day. I would come up with a second sentence that established some sort of tension or conflict with the first, and go on from there. Blindly, I would discover what I wanted to write about.
Guess what, though? I didn’t write 30 stories.
My basic scheme sort of worked, but I would often get to a point where it felt right to stop, go to sleep, and see what my fingers felt like doing in the morning. It turned out that I actually liked the stories I was writing, and I didn’t want to short-change them.
So…I wrote seven stories in 30 days. And here they are.
Some are crime fiction, some fantasy, one might be considered science fiction if we remember Clarke’s Law (“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”), and every single one of them is an experiment. In a couple of cases I later wanted to change the initial sentence, but I wouldn’t allow myself to do it.
I hope you enjoy what I came up with. I know I did. And just for fun, most of my initial 30 sentences are included in the book’s Afterword.
Where to get it: