172. Flash Fiction Day

Today we have a short post on a short subject.

This Saturday, June 25, is Flash Fiction Day in Great Britain. The nice thing about the internet, is that even Americans can click on a British site, so you can check them out.

The term flash fiction is relatively new to me. I discovered it about a year ago while I was writing the blog entry A Very Short Story over on Serial. That entry has since been moved to Backfile.

The story in question was Koan; at 175 words, it would not be eligible for Saturday’s 100 word contest, but it’s short enough not to take itself too seriously, which seems to be important in flash fiction.

I remember, many years ago, one of the science fiction magazines ran a series of vignettes (think of vignette as an old word for flash fiction), then ran a contest for “The Shortest Science Fiction Story Ever Told.” The subject of the contest was, “The last man on Earth sat alone in his room. There was a knock on the door . . .”

Most of the entries were forgettable, but one stuck in my mind for its cleverness, brevity, and sheer laziness – yes, what else would you call adding only seven words. The entire story read:

The last man on Earth sat alone in his room. There was a knock on the door. It was the last woman on Earth.


I have to warn you about the British website. There isn’t any science fiction there. It’s all fuzzy and warm and about feelings and relationships. Very academic, very much “literature”, pretty much what you would expect from a site which announces Supported using public funding by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND on its masthead.

If you want another kind of flash fiction, just Google. There are all kinds. For example, National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand is on June 22, because it’s the shortest day in the year – in the southern hemisphere. I like that.

So, how shall I end this bit? Of course — A flash essay about flash fiction. Eighteen words ought to do it.

Steak is good. Vegetables are good. A balanced diet is admirable. But there’s nothing wrong with potato chips.


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