Online Short Fiction, For A Fee

New subscription-based mobile reading service, Oolipo due to hit mobile devices next year, is being cited as the up coming YouTube for short fiction.

But is it just the latest attempt by a publisher to monetize and get people to pay for, what will amount to, flash fiction?

Seriously though, are we not already having our faces sucked off, and our brains milked dry by our so called smart devices? Begging the question, if they are so smart, what does that make us, dumb?

I stopped by the website, nonetheless intrigued, having just read Melville House’s article and, well, quite frankly, was appalled at the lack of any information. Either to readers or to the writers/agents/publishers they are looking to recruit.

A writer, want to sign on to the program? Send us an email. That’s it. I’m guessing they’ll write back if they’ve heard of, or can research your sales. But don’t hold your breath at getting on the in.

A reader? Want to beta test our app, for free (as we cannot be bothered to pay anyone to do the process for us as we can get mules to do it for nothing) great, sign here.

Am I being cynical? You bet.

But here’s the thing, do we really want, let alone need a YouTube of storytelling? And what, in the end, will this do for writers and the art of storytelling? Four-second fiction for the masses, who’s attention span is … oh, look, shiny!

Besides, writers are already doing this on their website, some (like myself) in the form of blog posts. For free. Because? The truth is, and it hurts … Most people do not want to pay for flash and or short stories, especially those they regularly digest via RSS, again, for free.

So will Oolipo last longer than ByLiner, Oyster, or The Magazine, or any of the ebook subscription services that have popped up in the last 3 years and, promptly closed up shop?

I guess, only time will tell.

For more reading, check out:
The Bookseller
The Digital Reader 


Q&A with author, Kevlin Henney


Kevlin Henney might be considered a man of few words, but is prolific enough when it comes to writing flash and drabble fiction, which he enjoys sharing at Spoken Word events. He generously took time out of a packed schedule to answer a couple of questions, some at length, and explain why he write what he writes.

First up, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself and background?

I live in Bristol — one wife, two sons, no cats or dogs — and work as a software development consultant. I’ve written books, columns and articles on software development. A few years back, after a brief hiatus (of a couple of decades…), I decided to get back into writing fiction. This was possibly some kind of manifestation of mid-life crisis.  Continue reading

A Clean Sweap

Now look what you’ve gone and made me do … the dusting.

And I had to rearrange the furniture and push the vacuuming cylinder across the linoleum chasing those dastardly dust bunnies. It really doesn’t pay to live in the desert. And all that noise. Oh my! Anyone would think this was a testing ground for those Atomic Boys and their toys. Blasting huge craters in the sand. I mean, it really doesn’t do, now does it? What did the sand ever do to deserve that kind of treatment?

What? Sorry, where are my manners? I almost forgot you were there, darkening my doorstep.

Please, come in, yes, take a seat.

Yes, I know, I moved it so you could look out the window and see those strange mushroom clouds off in the distance. Marvellous don’t you think. They say it’s bad weather coming in. But that Mikey, you know, who delivers the newspapers, said it was a sign of something though what, exactly, he didn’t know. Bless him. He’s only ten. I mean, what would a ten year-old know about the weather?

Exactly! Nothing. But I tell you, that whooshing sound does hurt me ears and all that dust? I keep telling Fred, it’s no good. He’s going to have to do something to seal the windows better, because I swear, I’m at my wits end with dust, the shaking, and all that noise. Morning, noon and night, why, anyone would think we were at war, and the Boys were cooking up some strange new fangled devices to fight the enemy, in those huge hangers of theirs.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

But don’t mind me … how about we sit in the kitchen, away from the windows, and have some nice, cool, refreshing coke? My, that does sound good.


BILLY RAY MELNIK (aged 13) of Pensacola, Florida, died today, March 6th, when his DNA register his final act of stupidity and terminated his existence under the Statute of Evolution regulations, section 7(a) para 1(b). Which states that, no entity can forthwith continue its existence if deemed to be in violation of watering down the Gene-Pool.

Termination occurred on the corner of 12th and Main, as, spray-cans in hand, Melnik engaged in the vandalous act of graffiti.

A bio-hazard clean-up crew for the city managed to collect enough of the gelatinous remains to fill a funerary pot. An interment service will be held Monday at the Pensacola City cemetery.