Storyglossia is the online magazine I turn to if I feel like reading long short stories – rich, complex stories that feel old-fashioned in the same way original wooden floors are old-fashioned: darkly lustrous and strong enough to carry some weight. The magazine's sparse, easy-on-the-eyes layout (large font, no frills, cream-colored background) resembles a plain book page, aptly enough, since the stories compare to the offerings in printed magazines both with regards to style and length. Not very flashy, perhaps, but so satisfying!
Issue 23 presents the winner and four finalists of Storyglossia's 2007 Fiction Prize, great stories all. The winning story, Stephanie Dickinson's "Watch the Flashlight Girls Run" is a breathless, feverish mini-thriller from the point of view of a girl abducted by her mother's boyfriend – a virtual page-turner peppered with details so vivid they appear surreal. Lydia R. Cooper's "My Brother, the Snakes, and Me" is another depiction of a dark, convoluted relationship, this time between the pacifist narrator and her veteran brother. Both stories crank up the tension with each paragraph and linger long after you finish reading them. Matt Bell's "Alex Tierbeck Never Eats Fried Chicken" and Larry T. Menlove's "Rutting Season" take a different approach: The identification of pain via wit. Both stories are very much "voice pieces," in which the narrator seems to beat eloquently around the bush, until you realize you're witnessing a moment of loss and disillusionment. And then you're sorry you fell for the jokes.
Storyglossia appears roughly bi-monthly. It comes with a blog, in which the editor, Steven J. McDermott, comments on published stories and sometimes interviews authors, among other things. All in all, a good place for fiction lovers. [Editor’s note: Matt Bell is a former reviewer for NewPages.]