Don’t be fooled by its breezy, almost blase tone. Ruth Crossman’s subversive inversion of the Cinderella fairy tale, “The Shoes,” is a small-scale tragedy of disturbing power and contemporary relevance.
A perfect romance or a claustrophobic prison sentence? Elizabeth Stix brings the inarticulate paralysis and stifling compromise of a suffocating relationship to lurid life in her reality-warping short tale “Gustavo and Emiline.”
The all-powerful child is a memorable and chilling figure in weird fiction — from the original Star Trek’s “Charlie X” to the Twilight Zone-adaptation of Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life.” Oakland writer Laur A. Freymiller updates the trope for the #MeToo era in this striking narrative of abuse, confrontation, and literal erasure.
“I am a carpet of pornography formed by discarded sex worker advertisements along the Las Vegas strip, circa 1995.” So begins Joel Page’s blithely surreal tale of sex, commerce, and the personification of the object.
Janie Le’s unsettling tale of postmortem injustice is, in its way, a seasonal telling for this solstice time of endings and renewal.
In Arizona writer Dan Schwartz’s skewed yarn, sarcastically chatty animal spirits offer no easy answers to life’s existential dilemmas.