Interesting Story Formats

I’ve long had a fascination with non-standard story formats, and by non-standard, I mean not typical stories – things like listicles, epistolary stories, etc. Here’s are some of my favorite ones.

WikiHistory by Desmond Warzel (originally published in Abyss & Apex 3rd Quarter 2007) reminds us that everyone has thought about the going-back-in-time-to-kill-someone idea. Likewise, everyone has met *that person* in an online forum. This isn’t actually a wiki, per se, but it’s definitely delightfully funny.

Footnotes by C. C. Finlay (originally published in F&SF in August 2001) is written entirely in, well, footnotes. Just like it says on the tin. Interestingly, the original paper to which these are the footnotes isn’t shown, which lets the reader figure it out for themselves, which I like very much.

43 Comments to “In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako” by Barbara A. Barnett (published in Daily Science Fiction on February 5, 2016) combines features of the previous two stories. Again, the original article isn’t shown, we deduce its contents based on the comments, and once again, there’s That Guy we all know….

This came to mind this week (although I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while) because there’s just been published a new story that I really like – a faux-interactive fiction in the form of editorial notes. In Stet by Sarah Gailey (published in Fireside October 2018) we get an excerpt of the ‘original text’ (unlike in Finlay and Barnett’s stories) but in this case the real story-behind-the-story takes place in the conversations between the fictional author and editor. It’s short but packs a punch.

So, there’s my list. Any particularly good ones that I’m missing? I’d swear I’ve read at least a couple that are instruction manuals or similar, but I can’t seem to find them in my (large and not very well organized) favorites file. Suggestions? Recommendations?

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5 Responses to Interesting Story Formats

  1. Laura says:

    In defense of WikiHistory’s title – I think it’s referring to history itself as a wiki, with time travelers as editors.

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  2. mik says:

    Look up wikipedia for “Stanisław Lem’s fictitious criticism of nonexisting books”

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  3. Aphotic Ink says:

    I’m not sure if it *entirely* counts, but there’s Douglas Hofstadter’s “A Person Paper on Purity in Language” – https://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs655/readings/purity.html ?

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  4. Pingback: Interesting Format Stories – part II | Insufficiently Obsequious

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