If you don’t want to bother with the entire meme but still want to play, it is highly encouraged to list some of your own favorites for today’s category in the comments.
When it came time to post this entry I was at an utter loss on how to rank these stories. I love all of them so much. So I'm not going to bother; they're more or less listed randomly. I've linked directly to the story whenever possible, so I hope one or two will pique your interest.
I had this as an assignment in a college English course. It's about promiscuity from the perspective of a teenage girl. It hurts.
You're probably familiar with this one. Even one of the webcomics from a previous meme day referenced it. It may have played some small part in why I kept my hair so long for so long.
"For this was a land where cursing and blessing and magic worked— not always, and not always in the way the person doing it might have planned— but sometimes the cursing worked, and in her case it had."
A piebald gelding at a therapeutic riding center falls in love with the girl with cerebral palsy who names him...and then things get weird.
"At the hole where he went in
Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin.
Hear what little Red-Eye saith:
'Nag, come up and dance with death!'"
This is a tearjerker of maximum severity. The final line, or variations on it, still comes to mind whenever I know someone coping with this kind of loss.
Another assignment from another English course, but a very different kind of story, which starts out already wild, keeps gaining momentum, and explodes into a bittersweet but ultimately joyful celebration of love.
I'm kind of cheating here because it turns out this section of the book Woman Warrior isn't available independently anywhere, so it's really more a chapter than a short story, but I feel it stands alone and btw, when I read it there hadn't even been a Disney version of this legend.
I had to choose carefully to keep O'Connor from dominating the list, and this is generally considered one of her best. It's also one that represents her as a writer very well, giving you that nice progression through "haha hmm OMGWTF" as you read.
Another chapter taken from a larger work (The Martian Chronicles), but this one seems more accepted as a short story of its own. The rest of the book is good too, but nothing's ever hit me quite like the imagery of the house in this one and oh crap, this is another sci-fi future where we're going to live through the date it uses.
Kipling is another author I had to limit carefully, but there was never any doubt the Cat would make his way onto the list. All places are alike to him, after all.
Okay, there's too much history behind this one to summarize neatly, but a story won a Hugo a few years back which bothered some fans because it wasn't quite award-worthy, and didn't match the genre that the award is supposed to be for. Cue Sad Puppies, but more importantly, one of the authors demonstrated the weaknesses of the story by producing one on the spot which retained its central themes but blew it out of the water in quality - and which was actually SFF. This is it.
“I cannot understand how a man who calls himself a Christian,” she said, “could bring a poor innocent girl over here and marry her to something like that. I cannot understand it. I cannot!” and she shook her head and looked into the distance with a pained blue gaze.
After a second he shrugged and let his arms drop as if he were tired. “She no care black,” he said. “She in camp three year.”
For my birthday a few years ago, janasbangel sent me the text of this story, along with a graphic she had made which changed the character's name to mine. It was a clear message that she wouldn't let the physical distance between us affect our friendship. I need that message now more than ever: "If you want to be with Janas, aren't you already there?"
This is not only my favorite myth but one of my...what would you call it...life themes. I relate to Psyche so hard, not because she's as beautiful as a goddess, but because she's vulnerable and in too deep before she understands what's going on. The only thing that can redeem and save her is love...and it does.