LitApp review: QUICK FICTIONS

Who, what, where?

A collection of short stories (300 words and under). Professor Nicholas Royle of the University of Sussex started off the Quick Fic revolution among the students and reading evenings. Now there’s an app, made by Aimer Media and Myriad Editions. Part of Aimer’s intensely cool mission statement reads:

We believe that many forms of publication contain much more structure and “cleverness” than can be seen on the printed page, we are dedicated to bringing out as much of that editorial vision as can be squeezed into a download.

Amen.

Myriad, meanwhile, is a Brighton-based publishing house, home to novels including Isabel Ashdown’s Glasshopper and Elizabeth Haynes’s Into The Darkest Corner. Students and staff from the University of Sussex, as well as established writers, authored the contributions.

 

On the surface

The app looks like this (click the image to go to its home at Aimer):

Smooth, clean, cool. When you first launch the app you are met with the opening screen shown on the phone above, which in turn goes into a random story from the selection. Scroll left or right to get to the next story; do it fast and you’ll roll through the selection, free to stop whenever you want.  The stories themselves are not connected: you are free to randomly scroll, or organise in alphabetical order by author or title.

 

Quick content review

With a range of experience, age and fields under the skin of these pieces, it is small wonder that you end up presented with a virtual buffet of genre and skill. The bitesize biographies under each story roots them in academic, hobbyist and other backgrounds. Of note is Holocaust meditation “Teeth” by author Sue Eckstein, and “Fortification,” a grimly funny serving that gives a new meaning to the phrase “a murder of crows”. Occasionally, however, the stories miss marks: the aimless “Mourning Due” exhibits talent but, really, veers towards becoming Carrollesque, rambling about time, space, and starting yesterday. “The Functions of Theory” begins promisingly before giving into a very student tendency to namedrop Derrida et al.

These hiccups aside, the power of the short story is not lost in these contributions.  On the whole, the app’s selection is strong, continuing to feed the genre.

 

Extra perks

Should you feel inspired by the fics, you are invited to submit your own for consideration. This could potentially develop into an excellent springboard for new writers, or, as is the case here, experts in other fields who want to showcase their creative writing.

There is also a “Favourites” section – the one in mine is Abi Curtis’s contribution, Lighthouse, which is poetically constructed with such phrases as “Rabbits, shocked at the human presence, scatter, basalt-eyed”. (Curtis herself is a highly skilled poet – see her latest collection, The Glass Delusion.)

 

Overall rating

Brilliant idea – pleasantly designed – loses a star for some of the more pretentious content

★★★★☆

Quick Fictions will set you back the princely sum of 69p, and you can get it here.

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About fictavia

Fictavia (noun): writer, critiquer of the publishing world and witty reviewer.

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