Recommend me a good short story author...

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Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby pernero » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:22 pm UTC

I've been reading a lot of Bradbury lately. I do really like it but I'd like to read something a little more...jarring.

Specifically, I'd like to start reading short stories with surprising or twist-endings.

Ray Bradbury is a master of the short story. The endings often leave you appreciating the story for it's lovable characters, storytelling and message... I'm just looking for a bit more of a mind-bender.

Thank you.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Ended » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:13 pm UTC

Have you read Roald Dahl's short stories? I'd definitely recommend his collected short stories, he's a superb writer and a master of macabre twists. One of his more famous stories, The Landlady, can be found online here.

I can also recommend Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier (as it happens, that edition has an introduction by Ray Bradbury). Again, great writing, and some very weird stories.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Czhorat » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

I love short fiction.

I'd not read too many in a row (they seem very similar in tone), but the unsentimental westerns of Annie Proulx are worth reading. (One of them became the film Brokeback Mountain).

You can't go wrong with classics. I find the short fiction of Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne surprisingly readable to a modern audience. You can find a nice selection of them for free at the Short Story America website.

I think Kelly Link has some work downloadable for free from her website or Small Beer Press. I'd very, very highly recommend her.

If you just want twist endings, you can always plow through the collected work of O'Henry. After a while, I find the twists predictable (and a sameness about the tales).

Happy reading.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:08 pm UTC

Look up Wayne Allen Sallee. You can find his stuff online, and it is most definitely more than a bit bent.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby clockworkmonk » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

Phillip K Dick. He is one of my favorite authors for his short stories, several which might be easily recognized as movies (Paycheck, Total Recall and Minority Report to name a few) that often have surprising twists.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby wannabe » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:33 pm UTC

Steven King has a few short story collections out there. Short and Jarring. Right up your alley! :)

Also, John Grisham has a book of short stories out there. Most have to do with the Law in some round about way, but different than his novels. Good stuff.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby fuzzycuzzy » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:18 pm UTC

pernero wrote:I've been reading a lot of Bradbury lately. I do really like it but I'd like to read something a little more...jarring.

Specifically, I'd like to start reading short stories with surprising or twist-endings.

Ray Bradbury is a master of the short story. The endings often leave you appreciating the story for it's lovable characters, storytelling and message... I'm just looking for a bit more of a mind-bender.

Thank you.

Arthur C. Clarke!!!! If you like 50's sci-fi, you'll love Clarke. I like his collection "The Wind from the Sun". Earthlight, however being a full-length novel, is still quite short.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Superisis » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:19 pm UTC

If by short you mean short and by good, you mean witty dialogue consisting of comebacks on par with Oscar Wilde, then I recommend Saki (Munroe). Especially his stories about Reginald. Amazing. You can buy them for a pittance at amazon, or any book store / book dealer, or read them for free online.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Bassoon » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:36 am UTC

I recommend Not the End of the World, by Kate Atkinson. I haven't read any of her novels, but this short story collection is really a treasure. She weaves interesting, connected stories that can still stand alone by themselves.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Kizyr » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:30 am UTC

Two of my favorites are Etgar Keret and Haruki Murakami. Both are similar in that there's a lot of absurdity/surrealism in their works. I'm not sure how much twist there is, but they should be interesting to turn to. (Murakami also has several full-length novels, but plenty of short story collections that I prefer.)

By the way, Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, and my favorite sci-fi author, if that makes any difference in the weight of my suggestions. KF
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Metaphysician » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:01 am UTC

The best short story writer I've ever read (in fact, I hated the form before I encountered this author). Is F. Scott Fitzgerald. I've never read an author that can so fully realize and develop a character in as short a span as he is capable. The stories themselves are fascinating and compelling. A great collection is "Flappers and Philosophers".

I don't know if I would describe his stories as Jarring, but it is Fitzgerald and he manages to take you places you never figured he was headed.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Ambermutt » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:11 pm UTC

Has anyone suggested Robert Bloch yet? I have a book of short stories by him called "Atoms and Evil". It's kind of Bradbury-ish, but all the stories are horror. They're also sci-fi, but that's not the main point of them.

Shirley Jackson (you know, The Lottery? I think most people read that in high school) also has a few good ones, although other than that one, they don't seem to have high impact endings. A lot of them have a delayed emotional impact, like something that lurks in your mind for a bit after you've read it.

I'll also second Edgar Allan Poe. His poetry is very good, too.

I suppose you've already tried Clarke and Asimov, if you're into Bradbury. If you haven't go now. Asimov writes short, snappy stories and all of them have some twist, or joke, or jarring situation in the last paragraph.

Cordwainer Smith (not his real name, btw, but cool none the less) is good. I liked Game of Rat and Dragon, and I think he also wrote Scanners Live in Vain. Both good stories.

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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Metaphysician » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:36 am UTC

Ambermutt wrote:I'll also second Edgar Allan Poe. His poetry is very good, too.


/facepalm! How could I have forgotten Poe? Perhaps because it has been a while since I've read him, but yeah Poe is fantastic.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Weertolon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:43 pm UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:Phillip K Dick. He is one of my favorite authors for his short stories, several which might be easily recognized as movies (Paycheck, Total Recall and Minority Report to name a few) that often have surprising twists.

Indeed, Phillip Dick is amazing. And from the recent movies by his novels there's one with Cage. Oh, finally remembered - Knowing.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby maybeagnostic » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:29 pm UTC

The first thing that comes to mind is R. A. Lafferty's "Nine Hundred Grandmothers." I haven't reread the collection in some time but I seem to remember the stories being quite suspenseful and there were some interesting twists.

I second the recommendation for Haruki Murakami. "The Elephant Vanishes" was a fascinating book of short stories although they relied more on a permeating sense of surrealism than surprise endings.

Roger Zelazny seems to be severely underestimated in the US (at least I rarely hear him mentioned). He's better known for his novels but "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, and Other Stories" is an amazing anthology, easily as good as Bradbury's stories. Zelazny's stories don't really have plot twists so it's not exactly what you asked for but if you liked Bradbury, you'll like Zelazny's anthology. At the very least read "A Rose for Ecclesiastes"- it is the most beautiful short story I have ever read.

I'm reading Michael Swanwick now and some of his stories have surprising endings but I like him more for the writing style and the incredibly different worlds described by each story. The stories are so different in tone and setting that I actually need to take a few hours' break between each so if you want to avoid a feeling of sameness in an anthology, I'd recommend his work.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:55 am UTC

Another vote for Saki here. Particularly his stories The Unrest Cure, The Schartz-Metterklume Method, and Sredni-Vashtar.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Euphonium » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:55 pm UTC

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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

A thread for recommending authors of short stories with twist endings and no mention of HP Lovecraft?

if you can put up with his archaic-even-in-his-own-time prose and opinions, he's worth reading for his twists and excess of imagination.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby clockworkmonk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

Lovecraft taught me that I am terrible at describing scary things. That people are quite capable of scaring themselves, and that I should let them. You know, set out the framework so they can scare themselves.

Oh, and back to authors with good endings. Roald Dahl. Just look to "Royal Jelly" and "Lamb To The Slaughter".
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby emceng » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:20 pm UTC

Gene Wolfe has some excellent short stories.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby superbum » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

I read some Lovecraft and didn't really like it, maybe I'll give it another go sometime

Like somebody mentioned, Stephen King is a master of short stories, I prefer his short stories to his novels, but I guess that's not saying much.

Who I really like is Neil Gaimen, I just finished his collection called Fragile Things, it is one of my favorite collections ever, I even liked it more than I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Angua » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

You can get some good anthologies of sci-fi short stories - I would look into those (look for ones where an editor has gone through their old anthologies and picked out their favourites). They can mix old and new authors, and you can choose who you like from there.

Also, Philip K Dick is awesome for mindtwisting stuff.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:13 pm UTC

superbum wrote:I read some Lovecraft and didn't really like it, maybe I'll give it another go sometime
The thing about Lovecraft can be summarized by other movements and genres and suchlike... that is to say...

Just because someone can be credited as creating a genre doesn't mean they're the best at it.

Lovecraft created modern horror, sure. He also isn't the bestest writer in the world.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby superbum » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:35 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Lovecraft created modern horror, sure. He also isn't the bestest writer in the world]


That's awesome, pretty much how i remember it.

I can't even quote your link yet, man you guys are hard asses.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:01 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
superbum wrote:I read some Lovecraft and didn't really like it, maybe I'll give it another go sometime
The thing about Lovecraft can be summarized by other movements and genres and suchlike... that is to say...

Just because someone can be credited as creating a genre doesn't mean they're the best at it.

Lovecraft created modern horror, sure. He also isn't the bestest writer in the world.



not sure if you noticed, but nearly all "reveals" in horror, or in fact a lot of fiction, are kind of lame, but the journey is, more often than not, just as important, if not more so, than the destination.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby The Moomin » Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

Clark Ashton Smith is good for short stories, he was a contemporary and friend of Lovecraft.

His collections of short stories are relatively cheap nowadays, and can also be found online. I've only ever owned the two 'Lost Worlds of Clark Ashton Smith' collections, but always meant to obtain more.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:Lovecraft created modern horror, sure. He also isn't the bestest writer in the world.
not sure if you noticed, but nearly all "reveals" in horror, or in fact a lot of fiction, are kind of lame, but the journey is, more often than not, just as important, if not more so, than the destination.
Sure. And Lovecraft is kinda a shitty, vaguely racist driver prone to meandering, uninteresting drives that occasionally give an interesting view but mostly seem to exist to kill time. And don't try to tell me that's how shit was then - Robert Howard's stuff does not read the same at all. And yes, I'm aware they were both paid by the word and had a financial incentive to pad their stories and draw them out and so on. Howard doesn't feel like he pads. Lovecraft does.

Read Lovecraft to find out where shit came from and get a better handle on the Mythos (which really all boils down to "Shit is incomprehensibly weird, you go insane and possibly die") but there's better writers out there so only read the stuff that really interests you.

Howard's a neat read.

Compare The Colour out of Space (Lovecraft) to Tower of the Elephant (Howard), both often viewed as Best Of by their respective authors.

But maybe it's just that I personally don't like Lovecraft's style. I've never been one to appreciate Thesaurus writing. (That is, where one uses a complex and rare word to express a concept that would be equally or even better served by using a more common, less complicated word or phrase.)
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Kewangji » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:11 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:But maybe it's just that I personally don't like Lovecraft's style. I've never been one to appreciate Thesaurus writing. (That is, where one uses a complex and rare word to express a concept that would be equally or even better served by using a more common, less complicated word or phrase.)

When I read Lovecraft, I noticed that he didn't even do thesaurus writing. He didn't vary his words. It was always squalid instead of dirty or filthy or foul or vile etc, always. The same with a bunch of other words but I've forgotten them.

Howard sounds cool, I will check him out.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby drash » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:56 pm UTC

If you're in to having your mind blown at the existential level, Ted Chiang is an uneven but superb author to spend some time on. "Seventy-two Letters" is a personal favorite, or you can check out "Hell is the Absence of God" or "Story of Your Life," and "Understand" is great for the transhumanistishly minded. He has a surprisingly slim library- you could knock it out in a day without too much trouble, but almost everything he writes has a Hugo or a Nebula. As far as I can tell, his goal as a writer is to affirm the beauty and wonder of basic natural principles by 'othering' them.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:44 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Lovecraft created modern horror, sure. He also isn't the bestest writer in the world.
not sure if you noticed, but nearly all "reveals" in horror, or in fact a lot of fiction, are kind of lame, but the journey is, more often than not, just as important, if not more so, than the destination.
Sure. And Lovecraft is kinda a shitty, vaguely racist driver prone to meandering, uninteresting drives that occasionally give an interesting view but mostly seem to exist to kill time. And don't try to tell me that's how shit was then - Robert Howard's stuff does not read the same at all. And yes, I'm aware they were both paid by the word and had a financial incentive to pad their stories and draw them out and so on. Howard doesn't feel like he pads. Lovecraft does.

Read Lovecraft to find out where shit came from and get a better handle on the Mythos (which really all boils down to "Shit is incomprehensibly weird, you go insane and possibly die") but there's better writers out there so only read the stuff that really interests you.

Howard's a neat read.

Compare The Colour out of Space (Lovecraft) to Tower of the Elephant (Howard), both often viewed as Best Of by their respective authors.

But maybe it's just that I personally don't like Lovecraft's style. I've never been one to appreciate Thesaurus writing. (That is, where one uses a complex and rare word to express a concept that would be equally or even better served by using a more common, less complicated word or phrase.)


I can't help but agree with you, buuuuut it doesn't stop me from enjoying having read HPLs works, if anything I love the fact that his writing challenges you as a reader, yes he's overly thesaurus-y, but the words he uses are interesting, and help set the tone, yes he spends a lot of time building up, but that just enhances suspense, I can totally see where you are coming from in regards to not liking his style, it took me a while to get used it, and I'm still not a "fan" and I doubt I will read his stories again any time soon, if ever, for that very reason, but I'm extremely glad I have read them. You could say I enjoy his works retroactively, or retrospectively, there are certainly very few authors that I have read, of whom that quality applies.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Narsil » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:35 am UTC

Jorge Luis Borges. I've kept his collected short fictions always by my bedside since I got it; its probably my most prized book. Explaining his stories wouldn't do them fair justice, but suffice to say they're mysterious, beautiful, short and fascinating. They're filled with symbols, mysteries, labyrinths, mirrors, and while I wouldn't call them twist endings, they will blow you away.

But enough gushing. To get an idea of what he's about, look up "the library of Babel" and "the lottery of Babylon".
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby TomRobbins » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:10 am UTC

No mention of Raymond Carver?


I recommend Raymond Carver.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby addams » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:01 am UTC

Jhon Humbolt Gates wrote short stories based on facts.
'Night Crossings'
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby emceng » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:53 pm UTC

Orson Scott Card also has some really excellent short stories. My only issue is that most of them are damned depressing.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby MartyJ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:28 pm UTC

If you like horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe will be the best choice to read. His language and style are amazingly terrifying and you won't forget his stories. That's for sure!
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:01 am UTC

Amy Hempel is, quite literally, the greatest author of short stories I have ever read. She crafts beautiful, meaningful prose that packs more emotional weight than many novels I've read. If you want something similar to her, but more fantastical then go for Kelly Link/
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Snark » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:53 pm UTC

Kurt Vonnegut. He has a few (2 at least) books that are simply compilations of short stories. Welcome to the Monkey House is the only one I've finished, but it's great.

His stories have twist endings a good portion of the time. A few are quite macabre - All the King's Men, for instance. Trigger warning for the story by the name of Welcome to the Monkey House (the compilation is named after the short story I believe) and maybe a few more - it's been too long to remember them all.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby Jorpho » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:51 am UTC

I rather prefer my anthologies to come from a variety of sources. With a lot of same-author short story collections, it sometimes becomes a little too clear that the author is just writing the same story over and over again.

I second the suggestions of Chiang and Dahl. You can legally read Chiang's "Understand" here, and you most definitely should!

Poe sounds like a good idea, but I tried to read this anthology a few years ago and it became a terrible slog. His style is a good deal slower than much of what you'd find in more recent decades.

I like David Brin, and he has two story collections too.

"The Machine Stops" isn't particularly short, and Forester isn't particularly known for sci-fi, but check my sig anyway.
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby addams » Sun May 26, 2013 5:06 pm UTC

http://www.spiritsite.com/writing/annlin/part2.shtml

This may not be the place for this.
But; I want to share it.

This is from School. It is a short story or an essay.
I can not find the complete text on The Internet.
It seems this essay is still being used.

What did you think?

Spoiler:
I loved this essay. We were required to read it.
I then went to class and the man that taught the class told us a story of Despair.
When I read it, I read a story of Hope, Responsibility, Luxury, Depth and Love.

It was a story of Choice and Belonging. (shrug.)

Was her husband sexually unfaithful? Yeah. Maybe. Who cares?
Was her youngest son murdered? Yes. That happened a long time, ago.

When I read it, I read a timeless story. I read it for the first time a very long time ago.
Is it hard for you to read? Are the concepts difficult? Is the language stilted?

The way I read it,
It was not Hell for her out on The Beach.
It was not Hell for her to be in a little shack on The Beach.

She had purpose even in her Solitude.
I life of Purpose. She was a shining light to me.
It was a very long time ago. The World has Changed.

I forgot to keep up. Today there may still be such Women.

Spoiler:
There have been times and places where:

Women were not only not allowed to read;
They sure as shit were not allowed to write.

To be fair Children;
Have you ever known a woman to Want to write?
When I was young People were the same way they are Now.

Do young women pour over long forgotten tales?
No! Young women are interested in Young Men!
They always have been. Some more than others.

What is The World like, today?
Who wants to Read?


Everyone is writing. Everyone is on the Internet chattering away like little birds.
Me, too. I am like most Humans. I am a compulsive communicator.

We are All talking. maybe I should Listen.

Thinking!
Spoiler:
Do you ever wonder Who started it?
Who started leaving a written record and why?

Cave people? Leaving notes for Themselves?
Cave people? Leaving love songs for Others?
Cave people? Drawing directions and maps into The Dust?
Cave people? Writing threats and curses?

I will never know. It does not matter.
We write.

Why? It must be more than a Habit.

Reading and Writing:
A Human compulsion to be know and be known?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.
addams
 
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Re: Recommend me a good short story author...

Postby doogly » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:24 am UTC

Proust's short stories are totally dope (and I found Recherche insufferable.)
LE4dGOLEM: What's a Doug?
Noc: A larval Doogly. They grow the tail and stinger upon reaching adulthood.

Keep waggling your butt brows Brothers.
Or; Is that your eye butthairs?
User avatar
doogly
Dr. The Juggernaut of Touching Himself
 
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Location: Somerville, MA


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