...for each of the "Four Centuries of Mormon Stories" contest finalists.
Because you really do need to take twenty minutes to vote in this election if you want to think of yourself as a decent person after tomorrow. Remember: you need to read at least six of these twelve very short stories and rank your top four in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Little Karl" by Melissa Leilani Larson
Pitch: It's a ghost story with no ghost, a tale that tells us why we're still haunted by our history.
"Ruby's Gift" by Emily Debenham
Pitch: A father's sacrifice is a burden for his whole family: how will they choose to carry it? A subtle, thoughtful story about the costs and blessings of service.
"Numbers" by Melody Burris
Pitch: We are how we see. Melody's story creates engaging characters through their distinct ways of seeing.
"Maurine Whipple, age sixteen, takes a train north" by Theric Jepson
Pitch: The story is made up, but the names are real. Voting for this story about two past Mormon writers gives you Mormon Lit street cred. Which everyone needs...
"When the Bishop Started Killing Dogs" by Steven Peck
Pitch: Mormons are known for valuing practicality. This story presses that value just past its limit (which is just where a good story should go).
"Something Practical" by Melody Burris
Pitch: There's a gap sometimes between what we think we want and what we actually need. This story helps close that gap, but only if we're willing to find out what lies beneath the casserole...
"The ReActivator" by Wm Morris
Pitch: The lone but capable standard-bearer of serious contemporary realistic fiction. The other stories explore real Mormon dynamics, but this one feels like it might actually happen to real Mormons today.
"Oaxaca" by Anneke Garcia
Pitch: When crises come, we often have an opportunity to see the accumulated effects of our mundane, forgettable, everyday decisions. This story helps give me such a vision in advance.
"The Defection of Baby Mixo" by Mark Penny
Pitch: A smart, surprising piece which feels just a little dangerous to read. Deliciously dangerous? You be the judge.
"Release" by Wm Morris
Pitch: The situation is influenced by Mosiah 24. A key phrase is borrowed from Moses 7:69. The central dynamic brings Matthew 25:37 to new life for me. This story is a symphony of silent scriptures--never referenced, but woven deep into the work's soul.
"Avek, Who is Distributed" by Steven Peck
Pitch: A professor of mine once referred to long-term optimism as a "Star Trek view of the future." This story has an android apostle in it.
"Waiting" by Katherine Cowley
Pitch: Two of the key recurring motifs of the (allegedly male-centered) Bible pregnancy and birth. This story extends that tradition into Mormon sci-fi, and gives us a compelling human story in the process.