Monday, October 26, 2009

Short Story Poseurs

I've made it a point to read short stories this year and it has been an effort that I have greatly enjoyed. However, one aspect of short story anthologies that I have been running into that really bothers me is novel excerpts posing as short stories.

Sometimes this is unavoidable. A writer writes a piece, finishes it, and it turns out to be of 'short story length' only to expand upon it at a later time and develop the work into a novel. But the blatant inclusion of the these not-short-stories in the hopes of getting readers to purchase a collection on the off chance they only want to read author 'X' is offensive, and will probably turn reader off from reading more short stories in the long run when they see author 'X's' new novel out; now with eighty percent more of the short story you already enjoyed for twice the price sandwiched between chapter nine and eleven.

If you want to publish a collection of related novel excerpts, then do so and market them as such, but don't mislead and imply that an excerpt and a short story are one and the same. Very few of these novel excerpts can stand well on their own, hence the reason they are novels. From the editors stand point it looks good to put "Neil Gaiman's" name or whomever on the cover. As a reader, it pisses me off and I feel it does damage to the collection as a whole. Anyone care to call me out with a contrary argument?

Tangent: the spelling of the word poseur gave--and still gives--me a bit of trouble. It seems 'poser' is totally wrong yet completely acceptable. Which really makes me wonder about 'y'all,' a third person plural contraction that is found in an large number of languages yet is frowned upon in English as improper 'southern grammar.' As a southerner I'm offended and as an American speaking English (armour, honour) I'm confused. Latin retention seems a bit arbitrary, archaic for the hell-of-it, and wholly unneeded.

Semantically confused, and hating all you posers


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