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Flash Fantastic!

No. 6April 2004

By C. Dennis Moore

In his will, Lester left a novel and royalties to Peter. All Peter had to do was finish it. The problem: five years of writer's block. Still, he tried. Weeks rolled into months as the screen stared back, unmarred. Then, slowly, words came. His joy soared as his craft returned, words flowing like wine from his fingers, the clacking of keys like the voices of angels.

At "The End," Peter looked over the pages, pleasure becoming confusion as he saw Lester's writing, not his. Peter screamed when the mirror showed Lester grinning back, emerging a page at a time.

by Charles Schaeffer

Three strikes on the police docket. That’s me. I’m a loser with nothing to lose.

So I listen up as the crooked teller lays out his plan. Remember, I got nothing to lose.

We’re in line. I hold the gun on him from the rear, like he said.

He hisses to his colleague behind the barred window. “He’s got a gun in my ribs. Give me your cash-drawer stake or I’m history. Don’t press the alarm.”

The stickup works; we leave slowly, undetected by the bank dick. A mile away, the teller coughs up the rest of the plot. He needs an authentic touch for exoneration.

“Shoot me in the hand,” he says. “Make it a flesh wound, you know, the kind the white hat movie cowboys get.”

I ask: How about my share of the haul?

“I swear, it’s yours,” he says, holding his right hand over his heart. I shoot the hand. He drops dead. I wonder why he doesn’t hold his left hand in the air like they do with that oath in court.

By N. K. Jemisin

I was sent from my homeland as a gift. Blessed with my god's beauty, trained into cunning, I could make good men great, warriors heroes, and kings... emperors.

You scorned me. "A man?" you said. "I need a queen, not a catamite. Begone." And you gave me then to your soldiers.

But I am undeterred. The captain of your guard has claimed me for himself. He is handsome and clever, and after a single night in my arms he knows my worth. Or rather, he thinks he does.

He will know it better when I give him your throne.

Special Feature

Flash Fantastic book review
A review by Patty G. Henderson for FLASH FANTASTIC


“Minimalist horror is a shotgun shell: a tightly wadded package of shrapnel designed for maximum coverage, minimal escape. Boom. Hack. Slash.

That’s an excerpt from Michael A. Arnzen’s introduction to his new flash fiction collection, 100 JOLTS-SHOCKINGLY SHORT STORIES. You can tell right away that this collection is different. Michael Arnzen’s fiction is different.

If you’re not familiar with Arnzen’s particular brand of horror, then hold on to your seat and your stomach. Michael Arnzen writes slam-dunk horror. No prisoners and no cowards. Arnzen is the author of the Bram Stoker winning novel, GRAVE MARKINGS (Dell Books), and has had poetry chapbooks and a short story anthology published.

100 JOLTS is Arnzen’s first collection of flash horror fiction. Some of the flash pieces are short. Deliciously short. Some are longer. None are forgettable. This collection is not for the squeamish. The stories attack every horror stronghold with visceral savagery, creating vivid, hard-hitting imagery. Arnzen leaves nothing to the imagination. But don’t let that lead you to believe that Arnzen merely assaults you with gruesome images. This guy handles flash horror like a skilled surgeon with words that sing darkly. And he didn’t forget humor. 100 JOLTS delivers plenty of that. The humor is like chocolate dessert after a bloody heaping of raw meat.

There are 146 pages of flash stories and a great bonus interview with Michael Arnzen on writing flash fiction in the back of the book. Get this book. Order it right away.

I loved so many of the stories that I can’t really point to one, although “Valendine” made me want to check my teeth...Oh, did I mention Michael Arnzen has a flash fiction story coming up in FLASH FANTASTIC? No? Now you know. No excuses. Keep coming back.

THIS ISSUE OF FLASH FANTASTIC -- "Ghost Writing" is ©2004 by C. Dennis Moore.  "The Plot" is ©2004 by Charles Schaeffer.  "The Power Behind The Throne" is ©2004 by N. K. Jemisin.   The book review of "100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories" is ©2004 by Patty G. Henderson.  All contents of Flash Fantastic edited by Patty G. Henderson.  Final formatting and additional graphics by Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Crazed Fanboy dotcom and Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.

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