The Short Stories Of George Saunders So Far, In Order

35. "The Semplica Girl Diaries"

34. "Puppy"

33. "My Amendment"

32. "I CAN SPEAK™"

31. "Al Roosten"

30. "93990"

29. "The Barber's Unhappiness"

28. "Bohemians"

27. "Pastoralia"

26. "Tenth of December"

25. "Winky"

24. "The Falls"

23. "Exhortation"

22. "Home"

21. "Downtrodden Mary's Failed Campaign of Terror"

20. "Escape From Spiderhead"

19. "Victory Lap"

18. "In Persuasion Nation"

17. "The Red Bow"

16. "Sticks"

15. "My Chivalric Fiasco"

14. "My Flamboyant Grandson"

13. "Bounty"

12. "Christmas"

11. "The Wavemaker Falters"

10. "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline"

9. "Adams"

8. "The 400-Pound CEO"

7. "Brad Carrigan, American"

6. "Jon"

5. "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz"

4. "Isabelle"

3. "The End of FIRPO in the World"

2. "Sea Oak"

1. "CommComm"


An Unexpected Masterpiece

As National Novel Writing Month continues on, the next in our series about the novels that we started writing but, for whatever reason, never finished. READ MORE

Until Further Notice: Non-Negotiable Instructions

Wake up when you have to.

Take as much air you need.

Examine trivial details, the bubbled foam on a just-used but not-yet-rinsed toothbrush.

Eat what you eat too often.


Have or dwell on the possibility of sex.

Envy things but realize it is not the things you desire so much as the comfort of envy itself, the notion that you might one day have more.

Consider not death but certain dead people.

Forget nonevents before they happen.

See that building you've been seeing every day, every day.

Periodically touch your genitals as if to assure yourself they have not grossly mutated since last you touched them.

Use words with two meanings.

Overhear conversations without intending to, then listen.

Inwardly criticize your own small talk.

Picture strangers naked or acknowledge their invented bodies, ferrying consciousness to and fro.

Make decisions that require no action.

Tolerate what is both intolerable and not changing anytime soon.

Pass through moods that are undoubtedly influenced by weather yet seem, on the contrary, to orchestrate it.

Doubt your memories.

Feel money folded in hand, coin edges geared on fingertips.

Cultivate and maintain a spectrum of habits, most harmless or idle.

Mistake loved ones.

Sometimes know that you are thirsty or have to pee and fail to do anything about it right away.

Sabotage your designs.

Suspect that even as you endure it, a person in the distant future is trying to conceive of life in this era—and failing.

Lack answers to anticipated questions.

Notice how animals cut through space, the upcurve made by a flock of birds.

Imagine what it’s like in countries you’ll never visit.

Perceive time, rather clumsily, as order, change, and infinite horizon.

Don’t always adjust.

Sleep when you can.


"Hecuba": From Miles Klee's "Ivyland"

Miles Klee's debut novel, Ivyland, takes place in a crumbling, violent, post-urban New Jersey. Published by OR Books, the novel's been getting praise for its dark vision of a burned-out world where drug companies rule, nature is reclaiming what it can, and locals like Hecuba—the bus driver in this excerpt—can only look on in weary disbelief as the past disappears. READ MORE

Some Revised Tourism Slogans

Acapulco: Not That Many Decapitations Per Capita READ MORE

Eleven Impossibilities

Doctor Says I Can’t Fly Anymore

Something to do with kidney strain. Now, absurdly, my feet are what move me. I look to the sky, clouded by people: executives floating to work in suits... kids soaring too high, backpacks dangling by a strap. Police officers hover ten stories up, analyzing the flow of traffic. When my neck aches from tension and longing, I return to the rippled shade of the sidewalks, which are in severe disrepair, as everyone in this city flies. I avoid fellow terrestrial travelers, who inevitably seek to combine their misery with mine. The path is dim—is cracked, unreal and lonely—but veined with a sunlight sifted down through gentle, weightless limbs. READ MORE

Drunken Notes from Last Night's Republican Debate That Will Also Serve as Notes for the Next Eleven Republican Debates


A Few Environments

Playground next to low-income housing. At night. Modular squares of beaten rubber serve as gridlike, lunar ground. Swoop of a tubular plastic slide. Sag of a miniature plank bridge that joins a pair of raised platforms, one outfitted as nautical helm, the other roofed with a ziggurat. The vast brick cake—apartment complex—beyond. Counterfeit moons in clustered bulbs, the color of scrambled eggs, on poles. READ MORE

24 Varieties of Silence

The landlord is about to pounce. An odor of sweat via sweatshirt informs you halfway down the last flight of stairs. He is in the lobby, mopping, maybe. Or red-ink-emphasizing every line of his trash-collection dogma, taped up in furious triplicate. He will speak explosively at you, incensed by treasonous acts. You set off the roof alarm. You trod upon the sacred strip of dirt out front. You will nod; your nods will nod. I know it was you, he will say at least twice as you sidle past. But in theory your fate might still be unstitched; he has not yet seen you; he will turn his back soon, any second now. READ MORE

How To Share Big Files

Try to attach a file that's 25 megabytes or bigger to an outgoing Gmail message and what do you get? I have no idea, because I would never attempt such a stunt, but I'm guessing it's a friendly error message informing you that the raw video trailer for your documentary about paperclips is the digital equivalent of a wide-load trailer and unfit for this particular mode of travel. What now? You've tried everything! Except no, you haven't. READ MORE