I’m writing about your Best Short Stories of the Century anthology that you put out with ______ Press. I realize it’s about eleven years old now and you probably don’t get much mail on it, but my dad got it for me since he said if I want to be a writer I need to know what serious writers write about, not all elves and lasers and crap. Those are his words, not mine. I don’t even like scifi much. My brother was also a big fan of yours until the Iraqis killed him. So I figured I’d give you a chance.
I don’t mean to be rude but you have shit taste in stories. I don’t like science fiction, but how come none of the best short stories of the century were scifi? Or fantasy? Or detective stuff? Or funny? I can stop my door with your book and not one story in here is funny. That’s fucked up. Mark Twain was funny, and I know he was before that century, but fuck man. Was nobody funny after Mark Twain? Every story in here is sad or melancholy, and melancholy is just sadness that jacks off when no one’s looking. Those are my brother’s words. He was very funny and he liked you. That’s why I don’t understand why you’d put this book together.
These don’t seem like the best stories of any century. I was a kid for the few years of that century I was around for at all. Maybe you had to be there. But Jesus! Nothing happens in most of them until the end, and then it’s like the writer is making up for doing nothing by killing the guy or making somebody leave. They’re so whiny. Like, I get that a racist story about a black guy is going to an angry story. But what the fuck is up with all the disgruntled immigrants, rich people, middle class, and everybody? Also, there’s only one story in here about black people. My brother would have totally called you on that if he read this. He was into equal rights.
He never wrote you fan mail because he was a little slow. He could read, but wasn’t so good at writing. It intimidated him. You missed out, because he was an awesome guy. If you played him three songs off any album he could imitate their stuff so well and make it hilarious. He was smarter than they thought. Too slow for college, but smart enough to get into the military. We had a plan. He was going to do all the legwork, make money. I was going to go to college instead. I’d be the brains. Those were his words. Now his brains are on a street somewhere. They wouldn’t ship the body back so Mom could see it. That’s fucked up and if he was alive he’d make fun of it. Why doesn’t anyone grab life by the balls in your book? Nobody makes fun of death. Nobody works until his little brother makes it to Yale.
That’s what’s wrong with your book. A whole fucking century and not one story that’s honest to your fans. Sure, Dad likes all your stuff, but this is not the shit my brother would like. Mom thinks you have a psychotic complex against women and I think you’ve got shit taste in stories. That means 2/3 people in my house think you suck. When my brother was alive it was tied. Now it’s 2/3.
This is my English assignment to you, from Mrs. ___’s tenth grade English. Write something funny that’s great. It’s a new century. It’s my fucking century. So give me and my brother’s memory something different than the same angry/sad shit that was apparently all the 20th century made. You can write about my brother if you want. You can even write about him being blown up. It was a bomb disguised as a brown paper bag on the side of the road. But don’t you only write about that shit. You write about how he nearly made me piss my pants making fun of the Jonas Brothers on the last call home he made. If you make that story sad, you will fucking fail my century.
Also, don’t you think it’s kind of sad that you put one of your own stories in there? Remember in high school how lame it was when a kid editor put her own shit in the paper? They do it all the time and it only gets lamer. I won’t do that shit when I’m famous.