Now that I own an iPad, I’ve been paying more attention to novellas. I like the idea of spending a dollar to easily pick up a quick read by a beloved author. A few weeks ago I reviewed three novellas by some of my favourite authors (Catherynne M. Valente, Rhiannon Paille, and Neal Shusterman) that filled in gaps in their series. I think this is a great use of the novella form. An author can now easily share pieces of a story that might not ever have been published. I saw a tweet where someone dismissed these types of novellas as marketing ploys. While I don’t doubt that they are in part attempts to capitalize on an author’s popularity, I think they can still be valuable stories for the invested reader. I think these three authors I’ve cited, at least, have their reader’s best interests at heart. Valente’s story, for example, was available for free online before it became an eBook. Paille and Shusterman’s stories fill in crucial information that addresses readers who wonder “But what about…”, thus making the main novels in their series more enjoyable. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of these ‘filler’ novellas from authors I enjoy in the future.
I don’t read as many short stories as I would like to. I can think of three collections that I own- Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors and Paul Glennon’s The Dodecahedron. I read a collection last year by Theodora Goss (In the Forest of Forgetting) that I enjoyed. What each of these collections have in common is that they tell fantastical stories, providing glimpses into unusual worlds, sharing enough to intrigue the reader while leaving enough questions unanswered to ignite the reader’s imagination. The Dodecahedron stands out because all the stories are interlinked in mind-bending ways (this review on GoodReads explains the connections). I would love to read more collections like these ones, where the stories told make good use of the short story form.