Short stories are dangerously close to extinction. It’s difficult to find them at all unless you’re a literature major or read The Atlantic or The New Yorker. The situation makes me sad, because the short story used to be a worthy form of writing, and now it has mostly died out as a format for serious literature. When I was in college (the first time, for my literature degree), professors said, “Failed poets become short story writers, and failed short story writers become novelists.” So apparently all published authors now are failures, because mostly we just have full-length books.
It’s free! So that’s awesome. It looks pretty, too, with cool photography and a totally uncluttered interface. It has the usual social media sharing options and the ability to place a bookmark if you have to step away from iPad. Some of the “stories” are video, so it’s kind of performance art.
Minor quibbles: you can’t highlight or make notes. I love this aspect of reading on a tablet and miss it. But again: free. Also, there is horrible tinny music that starts playing when you open it. Happily, you can shut it off, but I’d rather have a smaller download.
Major quibble: most of the stories suck. They’re worth a try, though, because horrifying dreck appears cheek by jowl with authors like Jonathan Franzen. The app is limited to stories in the public domain, I think, so options are limited. Still, I look at the venues that some of these stories were published and scratch my head. I need to do some investigating into the current short story atmosphere, because if major publications are selecting this crap, pickings must be slim.
Anyway, for people like me who’ll read anything, including the back of a cereal box, this app is a no-brainer.