Every so often, in order to fill a few inches of space or post something to a blog, a writer will either declare that the short story is in the midst of a renaissance or that the “short story renaissance” is hollow hype and one more instance of literary wishful thinking in the triumphant landscape of electronic media. Meanwhile, writers keep writing short stories, and somebody, somewhere, keeps reading them. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But as always, there are atoms of truth in these viewpoints. Devotees of short stories and its ADD cousin flash fiction make the case that in our society of information overload, short forms have an advantage in that they’re, well, short. Alas, those with short-attention spans have no desire to read anything longer than 140 characters — they’re the folks glued to TV shows, movies, video games. Most true readers of contemporary fiction want precisely the opposite: big,