At Books on the Nightstand, we’re dubbing 2013 “The Year of the Short Story.” In celebration, Ann is reading one story a day, for the entire year. We’ll also be highlighting new story collections, lit magazines, and online resources for short fiction.
Michael chose the story for this month, and I’m so happy that I did.
The story is “Fire Watch” by Connie Willis. It’s about a historian that can travel through time, though not always to the places he wants to go. It’s a conceit that informs several of Willis’ novels, including Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. I suspect that even those who don’t usually read science fiction will find this story enjoyable.
Originally published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it won the Nebula in 1982 and the Hugo Award in 1983, both awards for Best Novelette. Both awards define “novelette” as a story between 7,500 and 17,500 words. (A novella is 17,500 to 40,000 words).
Short story length is something that I’ve been thinking about lately. As a side-effect of Project Short Story, I’ve been gravitating to shorter stories, and finding myself impatient when reading longer stories.
I’m thrilled that Michael chose this story, because I’ve been reading almost exclusively literary fiction lately.
The link will take you to the story online, but if you prefer to read it in physical form, it is available in the new collection The Best of Connie Willis, which Michael talked about in BOTNS episode #238.
Please give it a read and share your thoughts here.