Sunshine Short Story Club


Archive of Read Stories

With thanks to Sunshine Centres for Seniors


for the Zoom Link & Support

The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield (2,800 words)
In the first story, a family friend gives a magnificent doll’s house to the children of a well-to-do family. Their mother allows them to invite all but two of the girls at their school to come and see it.

Kathleen Mansfield Murry was a New Zealand writer and critic who was an important figure in the modernist movement. Her works are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages.


The Washerwoman’s Children
- Witi Ihimaera(5,000 words)
In The Washerwoman’s Children, the tables are turned. One of the outcast sisters has achieved success far beyond any other student from the school.

Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler is a New Zealand author. Raised in the small town of Waituhi, he decided to become a writer as a teenager after being convinced that Maori people were ignored or mischaracterised in literature. He was the first Maori writer to publish a collection of short stories.
Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell (3257Words)

The essay describes the experience of the English narrator, possibly Orwell himself, called upon to shoot an aggressive elephant while working as a police officer in Burma. he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant's slow and painful death. The story is regarded as a metaphor for colonialism as a whole, and for Orwell's view that "when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys."[
 
The Artist – Rabindranath Tagore (2,053 words)
Embrace your passions and don’t let the criticism of others or worship of money stand in your way.
Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury (3,100 words)
An inattentive mother, a feisty seven-year-old girl, and her imaginary friend Drill. Invasion!
The Devil and Tom Walker – Washington Irving (4.800 words)
The major theme of this story is greed. Other themes include storytelling, usury, religion and hypocrisy. A miserly, poverty-stricken man (Tom Webster) meets “Old Scratch” (the Devil) as he takes a short-cut home through a swamp.
 
The Man Who Would be King By Rudyard Kipling  (14,302 Words)
An accurate and moving portrayal of the British Raj in India told by Kipling who worked as assistant editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, and later, The Pioneer in Allahabad.

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) was born in Bombay but returned to England, at age six, to be cared for by a couple whose cruelty became the basis of his work. Recognized as an incomparable interpreter of the British Empire, Kipling wrote “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888) about the imperial impulses of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme Jr. (1,366 words)
A girl has a special talent; she can will her dreams. When told she cannot leave the City of Churches she threatens to dream the life [they] are most afraid of.
Swarm X1048 - Ethological Fieldeport: Canis Lupus Familiaris, “6”  by F.E. Choe (2870 words)
Point of view story. An alien culture surveys the earth and on special wolf pup.
AUDIO
All You Zombies – Robert Heinlein (4,667 words)
Despite the title, this fascinating story from science fiction writer Robert Heinlein has nothing to do with zombies of the “walking dead” kind. Rather, it is a cleverly constructed brainteaser that explores some potential problems and paradoxes of time-travel.
AUDIO 28 Minutes
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (21,950 words)
A man who works hard as a traveling salesman to support his parents and younger sister wakes up one morning having metamorphosed into a giant bug.
Divine Beat by Shehzad Shah (1000 words)
This story deals, touchingly, with the interaction between a young boy and a Djinn.
Note: While their natural form is invisible, jinn have the ability to transform into human-like beings when they choose to do so
T
he story was sent to members as an email attachment.
A Life of Color by N.V. Haskell (6300 words)
Laura’s job with the Department of Magical Resources has left her no time or desire for human connection but when a mysterious magical infant is thrust into her care, she is forced to confront elements of her painful past.
The Coffee House of Surat by Leo Tolstoy (2,797 words)
Customers in an Indian coffeehouse overhear a disillusioned religious scholar questioning his servant about the existence of God.
The Rockpile by James Baldwin (3,500 words)
This partly autobiographical story from James Baldwin explores aspects of African-American life in Depression-era Harlem. It contrasts religious zeal with violence and division in the community.

Cat in the Rain – Ernest Hemingway (1,147 words)
A woman feels pity for a cat she sees trying to stay dry under an outside table.

The Subliminal Man by J. G. Ballard (6,456 words)
A dystopian future where people’s lives are conditioned by subliminal messages disseminated through advertising billboards and the mass media.
Tales of Houdini by Rudy Rucker (2152 Words)
An unlikely tale of perilous escapes

Rudy Rucker (born March 22, 1946) is an American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. He is a direct descendant of the philosopher Georg Hegel.

The War Prayer by Mark Twain (1,282 words)
Following Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, it seems appropriate to feature one of literature’s most famous “anti-war” stories. Written in 1905, this narrative essay by Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is a condemnation of the American imperialist agenda that led to the Spanish and Filipino-American Wars.

The Moon Rabbi by David Ebenbach (4280 words)
You see things differently when you're on the moon.
AUDIO 26 Minutes

The Secret Of Goresthorpe Grange by Arthur Conan Doyle (5193 Words)
Goresthorpe Grange is a feudal mansion bought by a successful businessman who is disappointed there is no ghost and attempts to buy one.

Arthur Conan Doyle is, of course, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

My Grandfather in Chicago, Illinois and Valparaiso, Indiana (501 words)
Life was different back then. An enterprising person could work in many different ways.

A Subway called Mobius by Armin Joseph Deutsch (5792 Words)
Shortly after the opening of a new track known as the Boylston Shuttle, Boston MTA train No. 86 goes missing. Whyte, the manager of the system, cannot explain its disappearance nor account for the fact that the system acts as though it was still there, drawing power and causing signals to operate automatically, sometimes miles apart.

Armin Joseph Deutsch was an American astronomer and science fiction writer.

Clean Sweep Ignatius by Jeffrey Archer (2,372 Words)
Ignatius Agarbi did a good job clearing up his countrys reputation for corruption. He wants to figure out Swiss banks hidden money in secret accounts.

Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English novelist, life peer, convicted criminal, and former elected politician who remains a member of the House of Lords. Before becoming an author, Archer was a Member of Parliament but did not seek re-election after a financial scandal that left him almost bankrupt.

Small Things by Sonia Brock (856 Words)
Little things can mean a lot.

Three of these little stories are from Sunshine Centre members.

The Fat Girl – Andre Dubus (6.429 words)
This story highlights the psychological damage that can arise when young people are shamed for not fitting community or cultural norms.

Dubus grew up in the Bayou country in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was educated by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order that emphasized literature and writing.

The Chessplayers by Charles L Harness (5,000 words)

Harness's ideas influenced numerous writers and he continued to publish until 2001, being nominated for multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. In 2004 he was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson (4,551 words)

Terry Ballantine Bisson was an American science fiction and fantasy author best known for his short stories, including "Bears Discover Fire", which won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and "They're Made Out of Meat".

They're Made Out of Meat by Terry Bisson (813 words)

Bisson was one of a group of twelve students who traveled to Washington, D.C., during the Cuban Missile Crisis supporting U.S. President John F. Kennedy's "peace race". Kennedy invited the group into the White House (the first time protesters had ever been so recognized) and they met for several hours with McGeorge Bundy. The group received wide press coverage, and this event is regarded as the start of the student peace movement.

Memoir by Phyllis Fricker Brock (466 words)

I'm taking an online course on MS Publisher. This tiny exerept was done as a class assignment where I saved the Publisher file to a PDF. It is more Canadiana.

To Build a Fire by Jack London (6700 words)
In the frozen north building a fire is life itself.

Jack London was an American novelist, journalist and activist. A pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines, he was one of the first American authors to become an international celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.

THE FALL OF THE SPIDER MAN - Folk Tale  (2333 words)
This charming story is based on an native origin story.

From Canadian Fairy Tales by Cyrus MacMillan

In Port Dover by Phyllis Fricker Brock (1300 words)
From my mother memoir
How to Live to be 200 by Stephen Leacock (1276 words)
Humourous health advice.

Stephen Leacock was a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humourist. Between the years 1915 and 1925, he was the best-known English-speaking humourist in the world.

Franchise by Issac Asimov (5700 words)
Antique view of our computer future, a well-told tale.

Isaac Asimov. born in 1920 was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.

WHY I LIVE AT THE P.O. by Eudora Welty (4,850 words)
When a prodigal daughter returns with a two-year-old child in tow the petulant narrator, who has remained at home, is far from welcoming.


Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an American short story writer, novelist and photographer who wrote about the American South.. She
won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973
Fragments of a Symbiotic Life by Will McMahon (846 WORDS)
A different kind of disability/ability.

Will McMahon is a union organizer and writer living in Brooklyn, NY.
FAMILY VIGNETTES by Phyllis Fricker-Brock
Four short items from my mother's memoir.

From my mother's memoir site at https://www.soniabrock.ca/Phyllis/
Evening Primrose by John Collier (3,464 words)
The experiences of a failed poet who gives up the outside world to spend the rest of his life living in a department store.


John Collier (3 May 1901 – 6 April 1980) was a British-born writer and screenwriter best known for his short stories, many of which appeared in The New Yorker from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Maneki Neko by Bruce Sterling (5680 WORDS)
“Maneki Neko” is the story of a man who does what his phone tells him to do, the trouble he gets in, and how it gets him out. Because his phone is connecting him to a series of other people who are all trying to do small acts for each other, to help each other out. With computer co-ordination.


  Michael Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction author known for his novels and short fiction. In particular, he is linked to the cyberpunk subgenre.

  Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of lowlife and high tech", featuring futuristic technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cyberware, juxtaposed with societal collapse, dystopia or decay.

By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét (5,642 words)
A remarkable description of a post-apocalyptic world devastated by weapons of mass destruction. Survivors lead a primitive existence.


  
Stephen Vincent Benét was an American poet, short story writer, and novelist.
He received the Pulitzrer prize for poetry. "By the Waters of Babylon" was published in 1937.
The Butler by Roald Dahl (1,207 words)
A newly rich man who tries to buy his way up the social ladder. He employs an expensive butler and French chef and hosts many lavish dinner parties. To impress his guests, he buys some of the world’s best wines and learns a lot about them.


  Roald Dahl was a British author of popular children's literature and short stories. He was a poet, screenwriter and a wartime fighter ace. His books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. He wrote "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
 
The Eatonville Anthology by Zora Neale Hurston (4,400 words)
Aseries of vignettes and anecdotes about life in a small African-American community outside Orlando, Florida in the early 1920s. Eatonville was Hurston’s hometown, and the power of her anthology is that each story is based on either real people and events or local folklore.
The Dinner Party by Mona Gardner (472 words)
An Army officer argues that men are better than women at staying calm during a crisis. The host’s wife proves him wrong by demonstrating nerves of steel when the guests are threatened by a deadly visitor.
All Summer in a Day – Ray Bradbury (1,936 words)
The climate in this story, set on the planet Venus, features almost constant rain. The only break comes every seven years, when there are two hours of sunshine. The children of the Earth space travel families on the planet are all looking forward to playing outside during the short break.
Bigfoot Stole My Wife by Ron Carlson (1,837 words)
Two linked stories from Ron Carlson: Bigfoot Stole My Wife and I am Bigfoot. In the first, despite a host of context clues suggesting that the protagonist’s wife has left him, shame and denial lead him to believe that the legendary Bigfoot has abducted her.
I Am Bigfoot by Roy Carlson (695 words)
In the ironic second story, credibility comes as Bigfoot issues a fearful warning to all men of the world.
We Shall Not Be Bitter at the End of the World by David Anaxagoras (2988 Words)
It’s my twelfth birthday and we’re all waiting for Wormwood and everyone is here and I mean everyone. Me and Mom and Dad and Big Pa which is my grandpa who was the strong man at one of the last traveling carnivals in America, and Bigfoot of course, and a swarm of killer bees collectively named Kyle who aren’t really so mean.
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (3420 words)
An explanation as to why there are so many cat pictures on the Internet ane elsewhere.
The Enormous Radio by John Cheever (4,400 words)
A seemingly contented couple’s life changes when a malfunctioning radio begins to pick up conversations from people in surrounding apartments. Video
The Egg – Andy Weir (997 Words)
The story comprises a conversation between “god” and a dead man about the meaning and purpose of life (to grow his soul through new experiences), and his place in the universe.
The Green Door by O. Henry (2,745 words)
A man is standing outside a building distributing cards promoting an upstairs dentist’s office. The card he hands to Rudolf contains the words: “The Green Door”. Rudolf goes inside and knocks on the only green door he can find. This leads to a series of events that could change his life forever.
The Shifty Lad Traditonial Irish Folk Tale (4,404 words)
A boy who likes to play tricks on people and wants nothing more than to grow up to be a thief. His mother warns him that if he does become a thief he will be caught one day and hang from the Bridge of Dublin.
The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick (1,080 words)
A satirical look at the clichéd use of English idioms in popular fiction.
Silo, Sweet Silo by James Castles (4550 words)
James Castles is Head of Special Projects at Who Gives A Crap; a toilet paper company that donates half of its profits to fund access to sanitation and clean water for people in need. Born in Melbourne, Australia, he has lived in six countries, including the USA, Singapore and Ireland.
AUDIO 32 Minutes
Janus by Ann Beattie (2,300 words)
Janus is about a realtor (Andrea) who strategically places her most prized possession (a decorative, “lucky” bowl) in houses she is showing in the belief it will help them sell.
The Drummer Boy of Shiloh by Ray Bradbury (2,000 words)
A fourteen-year-old drummer boy who must march into battle with no gun or means of protecting himself is a bundle of nerves on the night before his first encounter with the enemy. An inspirational talk with his commanding general teaches him that his drum may be one of the most effective weapons in the army.
The Catbird Seat by James Thurber (3800 words)
Set in 1940s New York, this story is a not-so-gentle satire of the lengths to which desperate people will go to resist change. A meek, solitary man believes the brash efficiency expert brought in to streamline his employer’s workflows threatens his job and must be “rubbed out”.
The Story of Ming-Y by Lafcadio Hearn - 1850-1904 (4868 words)
A young man meets a beautiful, noble-born widow who has a crush on him; the noblewoman’s servant girl helps the two of them orchestrate their trysts. But all is not what it seems.
LOKI 7281 by Roger Zelazny (2326 words)
Computer gets into trouble when it starts changing its owner's stories without his permission.  Audio 14 Minutes
Bigger Fish by Sarah Pinsker (5005 words)
Robots again but told humorously through the eyes of a Private Detective.
The Direction of the Road – Ursula Le Guin (2650 words)
Only an author as creative as Ursula Le Guin could conceive a story where the protagonist is a ‘murderous’ roadside oak tree. It's all a matter of perspective.
Answer – Fredric Brown (254 words)
One of the most concise SciFi horror stories. There are eerie similarities between the new supercomputer’s response to the first question asked of it in this story and the final sentence of Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question. Both stories were published in the mid-1950s and reflect concerns about the future influence of computers on society.
RAFI BY Amal Singh   (6110 words)
Rogue Robots and trees.
The Blues I’m Playing by Langston Hughes  (5,525 words)
A wealthy, white, middle-aged widow finds purpose and intimacy through the patronization of young artists. Tensions emerge when the woman, who expects her protégés to behave in a manner consistent with her high social standing, takes on a black pianist for the first time.
The Open Window - H.H. Munro (Saki)
Saki's tale of the anxious Framton Nuttel's ill-fated encounter with the imaginative young Vera in the English countryside—is, ultimately, a satire of excessive decorum.
Magic and Other Honest Lies by Robert Buettner
Good old-fashioned space opera stuff. Interesting to see how the trick is done and there are some clever bits within a well-worn theme.
Tobermory – H. H. Munro (aka Saki)
Clovis attends a weekend house-party. Among the other guests is a visiting scientist who was invited in the hope that his cleverness would contribute to the general entertainment. All are amazed when the scientist teaches Tobermory, the family house-cat, to speak perfect English.
Toy Shop – Harry Harrison
An Air Force scientist buys a trick rocket from a toy fair. A thin piece of string makes the rocket rise and fall, and he plans to entertain some other scientists with it at a poker party. At the party, the scientists discover that the trick only works in certain conditions. They are curious as to why, because it seems that the toy may break a basic law of physics.
The Kugelmass Episode – Woody Alllen
This story includes elements of fantasy, science fiction and farce. Kugelmass, bored with his “oafish” wife, wants a lustful extra-marital affair with no commitments either way. His wish seemingly comes true when a failed magician offers him a chance to seduce any woman from world literature.
Key Item – Isaac Asimov
In this Asimov story, Multivac has problems. It does not respond to commands, and isn’t following its built-in program to self-diagnose the cause. As the global economy depends on Mulitvac, this could result in panic across the world.
Chivalry – Neil Gaiman
Mrs. Whitaker is a nice old lady with nice friends, who lives in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. She was also living a nice, peaceful life until one day her routine was interrupted by Sir Galahad, a handsome knight on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
The Star – Arthur C. Clarke
A group of scientists travel to the edge of the galaxy to explore a nebula (cloud of interstellar gas) surrounding a collapsed star. To their surprise, within the nebula is a burnt out planet that survived the explosion. On the planet is a huge stone marker left by a highly advanced civilization that did not survive.
Voodoo – Fredric Brown
Exploring the use of black magic to solve a marriage problem.
The Empty House – Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Blackwood’s most famous ghost story
ANCIENT ENGINES BY MICHAEL SWANWICK
Robots and life. Audio 23 Minutes

Hermann the Irascible – H. H. Munro (aka Saki)

H. H. Munro (aka Saki)’s story Hermann the Irascible is a classic example of the use of reverse psychology to achieve a desired result. The story first appeared in 1909 at the height of the suffrage movement in Britain.

Listen to The Aberdeen Horse-Boy by Robert Dodds

April in Paris – Ursula Le Guin
A 15th century French scientist, frustrated with being unable to prove a theory he had developed, decides his work is a waste of time. He experiments with black magic and is surprised when his first spell is a success, allowing him to teleport kindred spirits from the past and future to join him.

Filboid Studge – H. H. Munro (Saki)
The young character shows great perception in realizing that you can sell the most vile, foul-tasting food by making people feel guilty for not buying it.

The House, the Witch, and Sugarcane Stalks by Amanda Helms
The house wakes from its somnolence as the witch trudges up the path made of tarts. Through its rock-candy windows, the house scans her figure for any signs of hurt.
The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane
The taming of America’s ‘Wild West’. The instrument of change is the railroad, which brings ‘Eastern’ ways to previously isolated communities like Yellow Sky.
The Ant and The Grasshopper – W. Somerset Maugham (Text only)
A new take on an old fable.
Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien
He was the sort of painter who can paint leaves better than trees. He used to spend a long time on a single leaf, trying to catch its shape, and its sheen...
Audio 36 Minutes

Aunt Agatha Takes the Count
by P.G. Wodehouse
A humourous tale of fashion and skulduggery with the inimitable Jeeves in attendance.
AUDIO 36 Minutes

The Verger
by W. Somerset Maugham
Text 18 Minutes

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
by James Thurber
AUDIO 15 Minutes
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
AUDIO 30 Minutes

"The Veldt" by RAY BRADBURY • Classic Radio Play Read by Leonard Nimoy Audio 28 Minutes

The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

The Three Strangers by Thomas Hardy    AUDIO 27 Minutes

The Ransom of the Red Chief by O. Henry

The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte (1839-1902)
Audio

The Signal Man by Charles Dickens
Audio BBC short drama

Craphound by Cory Doctorow

The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet

Rikki Tikki Tavi Rudyard Kipling

When the Yogurt Took Over by John Scalzi


THE McWILLIAMSES AND THE BURGLAR ALARM by Mark Twain
AI and the Trolley Problem by Pat Cadigan

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