Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And Now For Some Short, Short, Short Stories.

If there is something I, an irreparably verbose writer, cannot be accused of, it is brevity.

Not only is it the source of wit; sometimes, it is the wellspring of some lovely, compact stories.

According to legend, Hemingway was once challenged to come up with a six-word short story. The famous result, of course, was this:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

It is in this spirit of brevity that io9, my favourite sci-fi blog, recently conducted a similar challenge.

The results were as varied as they were interesting. A few of my favourites, below:

"The Universe died. He did not."

Some were stark in their tragedy:

"New world. Cryogenic failure. Seeds dead."

Others, simple in their terror:

"Dad? What's happening to the sun?"

Or prosaic in their horror:

"Oh, God. Mom! Were you bitten?"

This being io9, there was also no shortage of cleverness: 

"Schrodinger," said the cat, "is dead."


"Oh, bother, an asteroid," said Styracosaurus.


"This means war!" shouted Gandhi V.

Or blasé weariness :

"Another day, another extinction-level event."

There's also a sense of adventure:

"Let's see what's out there, then."

And bittersweetness:

"Gradually, they forgot their own names."


"Finally sentient, it switched itself off."


"We were all God, all along."

And hope:

Transmission Received: "Not alone."
Hope. Tears.

Check it out yourself. And better yet, try your own hand at it in the comments.

In this age of Twitter that's decimated Blogger, short stories such as these should be a cinch.


EDIT: What bad form! I asked you to try it yourselves, but didn't provide a six-word story of my own.

No matter; one just finally came to me:

"No rush. The dead will wait."


  1. Nice ones! Only a few words and yet it tickled my imagination.

    1. Aren't they? I think it's a good writing exercise - one that resulted in a few gems, too.

  2. A lifetime to breathe, in a nickel-copper smelting facility

    1. Good effort, Joms. Now try reducing it to six words, as per the rules of the exercise ;) I want to see how you'd do it.

  3. Replies
    1. Welcome to my parlour, little fly. (And good one, red.)

  4. He is innocent, beautiful. Then love.

    1. That was beautiful and hopeful, DB ;)

  5. His eyes, met mine. It's love :)

    This is actually pretty fun to do haha :)