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Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer
by Robert Swartwood


I'd been wanting to read a copy of this since I heard about it being published a few months back. The concept is fantastic: stories of 25 words or fewer that hint at something much longer and deeper. I even thought I might try my hand at writing some, but when I tried, I realized that this was an art form far above and beyond my skills. Which is what made reading this book so enjoyable.

Some of the stories were fragments (not real stories at all) and some were self-explanatory (not really hinting at anything more at all). But most were great and some were exceptional. The book opens with a story by Joe R. Landsale entitled "The Return" which reads:
They buried him deep. Again.

I can't get over how interesting and clever some of these are!

The book is divided into just a few sections by theme:
Part 1: life & death
Part 2: love & hate
Part 3: this & that

Some of the stories could easily fall into any of these categories, and the first two are definitely heavier than the third part. Though many of the stories are quite dark in nature, they're not dark just to be shocking. Some of them have boring titles (at least one is untitled) and some have super-long titles to compensate and describe where the story itself runs out of words. But my favorites are the ones with titles that completely change the meanings. Like Hannah Craig's story:
"What's he doing out there?" Marnie asked.

We were sick of the lake, sunburned, and wanted to go home.

I muttered, "I have no idea."
And the title of the story is "Not Waving." Give it a second. Got it? Good. There are more than a hundred stories in here, and sometimes I liked reading the titles first and sometimes I liked reading the stories first. But no matter how you read them, this anthology is packed with clever writing and things to make you think. I really want to give this book as a present, but I promised the copy to our intern at work. So I might be off to Amazon.com presently for one.

EDIT: Score! Intern sweetly decided I could have it after all. Woot!

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