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Jake Freivald

January 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

Jake Freivald, Editor
Jake Freivald, Editor

Thanks very much for joining us in the new year. We hope that this year will be an improvement on the last one for you and yours in the ways that count most.

First, a few administrative notes.

The Preditors & Editors Poll is up, and polling only runs for about two weeks, so please get your votes listed. I’d be honored by Flash Fiction Online nominations or votes in any of the appropriate categories: Fiction e-zine, Artist (for R.W. Ware, our artist-in-residence), Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Story, Non-SF&F Story, Non-fiction Article (for Bruce Holland Rogers’s “Short-short Sighted” column), Author, and, if I may not seem too immodest, Magazine / e-zine editor.

The Flash Fiction Online podcast series is in full swing, and we’re bringing the stories of a year ago to audio format every month. Our December 2007 stories, including the award-winning “Reconstruction Work” and the haunting “I Speak the Master’s Will”, are available in MP3 format on their story pages, or, if you like, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Our January 2008 stories will be up shortly — we’re trying to put up one every week or two.

We’ve implemented a new commenting system on the site, so every story or column has a comment section directly on it, near the bottom. It requires Javascript — I hope that’s not too inconvenient for most people — so if it’s not working for you, that’s probably why. I actually turned it on last month as a quiet test, and since it seems to be working we’ll use it full-time from now on. As a result, I will no longer create topics in the Flash Forum for individual stories. The forum is still available, but you should note that earlier stories also have the comment capabilities turned on in them, so registration at the forum isn’t necessary.

Finally, thanks to those of you who have made contributions to the site through the tip jar. Every little bit helps, and people like Kathleen McDade, Lucas Barker, and Edna Sheedy help keep the stories coming.

Next, let’s talk about stories. Although I didn’t plan it this way, they’re all disaster stories in one way or another this month.

Our first story comes from Mike Resnick. If you know anything about science fiction, you know his name: He’s a five-time Hugo Award winner, and according to Locus magazine he has won more awards for short fiction than anyone else, alive or dead. The easiest way to learn more about him is by reading his page at the groundbreaking online SF magazine Baen’s Universe, where he is the editor. His story happens to be a reprint of a story that originally saw ink over two decades ago; yes, I know I don’t take reprints, but what the heck — it’s Mike Resnick, and it’s a really great story. Stories about the Devil are a hard sell to me, but this one strikes a perfect chord. It’s called, appropriately enough, “The Fallen Angel”. It is a pointed and oddly touching story related to the world’s very first disaster.

Our next story was written by Stefanie Freele, which means we’re starting the year off with her again — her first appearance in the magazine was exactly a year ago, when we published “James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry in South Lake Tahoe”. (Remember, Stefanie, three times means it’s an unbreakable tradition. Let’s make sure there’s something good for January 2010!) She’s done a lot over the past year, including holding the Fish Fellowship with the fine literary flash fiction magazine Smokelong Quarterly, where she has also joined the editorial staff, and editing an anthology called Dogs: Wet and Dry. She has developed a strong reputation for an original and distinctive style, which comes through in her latest story, “The Flood of ’09”.

Our third story is from a relative newcomer, Robin Gillespie. Her fiction work includes the adaptation of stories for graphic novels (The Wood Boy - The Burning Man and Lords Of Avalon: Sword Of Darkness HC), but from her bio it sounds like she really would rather play World of Warcraft. Her story is a speculative fiction piece called “As Their Eyes Touched God”, and it appears to be about the end of the world — although what’s really going on is a bit of a mystery.

Our Classic Flash is from Anton Chekhov, and it’s called “An Enigmatic Nature”. I didn’t know Chekhov wrote flash, and this may be his only one, but it’s a perfectly executed short-short story, as worth a read today as it was over a century ago.

Speaking of executing the short-short story, we have Bruce Holland Rogers’s latest column as well. This month he tells us to “Get Unreal” with expressionism, surrealism, magical realism, and fantasy. His example of expressionism, “Estranged”, shows why flash may be an ideal medium for the weirder forms of literature: It would get annoying at novel length, but as a flash it does what it does perfectly.

Thanks for reading!

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About the Author

Jake Freivald

The eyes of Jake Freivald

Jake Freivald lives in New Jersey in a house that teems with life: a wife, eight kids, two dogs, two cats, and ten fish. They’re all being neglected right now, so he’s going to stop writing this.

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