I’ve just read ‘English Short Stories 1900 to the Present‘ and by far my favourite short story in there was ‘The Intensive Care Unit’ by J.G.Ballard.  A great little story where people live in isolation from each other and only have contact via tv screens and cameras, much like webcams basically.

A family eventually meet-up with disastrous consequences, highlighting human nature.

I can’t find a sample online so you’ll have to buy a book yourself, try this one.

Some of the stories in that book were pretty lost on me in their literary significance and has now left me at the beginning of the new year thinking am I a bad reader or just ignorant?  Does this make for a good writer?

I think I just realise what I do and don’t like.  A collection of stories like that puts stories and authors in your lap which I wouldn’t normally gravitate to.  I think stories based on pure whimsy and style are the ones that left me frustrated at being short changed on plot and conclusion.  I can feel the author trying to enchant and hypnotise me with their penmanship and I’m just looking back at them like a dumb dog – throw me a bone or a tennis ball at least.

The J.G.Ballard one, plus others by Ian McEwan, H.G.Wells and W.Somerset Maugham, shed light on really great short stories I enjoyed and could I ever come close?

Nothing like doubt and uncertainty to start off the new year.  No better tools to begin a new novel with.

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