Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flush Fiction

Bite-sized short stories have been flowering for a few decades now, under many names. The most popular ones, “microfiction” and “flash fiction,” can be used interchangeably. There are several websites devoted to the form, and more than one literary journal includes a passel in each issue. Meanwhile, grandiose claims are made for the sub-genre, especially on the Internet. Some critics refer back to post-modern experiments of the 1970s and ’80s; others associate flash fiction with the hyperlink culture of the ’90s; still others invoke the shortened attention spans and kinetic speed of the 21st century. Flash fiction’s focus on format does seem particularly post-modern, and this sub-genre did proliferate in the deconstructive heyday of the late 1980s. The form had entered the mainstream by 1992, with the publishing of Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories (edited by James and Denise Thomas with Tom Hazuka). These editors selected works no longer than 750 words, self-consciously announcing that a piece of flash fiction should fit on two sides of one page. More from Brooklyn Rail
And Flush Fiction

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