It’s no secret that, here at The Masters Review, we love animals. We will jump at the chance to read stories that include any type of creature—whether it be furry, vicious, magical, or all of the above. But there is much to be said about the way that animals are used in stories: they can serve as central characters, help advance the plot, set the tone, or add specific texture to a story. On Wednesday, the editors will discuss the different ways that animals are used in fiction, with studies of specific stories. On Friday, we will publish “House Hunt” by Jessica Lee Richardson, a story about a woman searching for a new place to live with her best friend, who just so happens to be a lion. To kick off the week, we give you a roundup of some of our favorite animal stories from around the web. These are not just pieces where animals appear, but where they play an essential role and serve as building blocks for the narrative. Enjoy.
“Shirley Temple Three” by Thomas Pierce, The New Yorker
A son asks his mother to harbor a cloned wooly mammoth. But what do you do when your wooly mammoth starts losing its hair and gets sick?
“Stone Animals” by Kelly Link, Recommended Reading
An unnatural number of bunnies congregates in the front yard of a family’s new house. And that is one of the most everyday elements of this story. Trust us, you will never be able to look at these creatures the same way again.
“Ponies” by Kij Johnson, Tor
Girls are invited to a “cutting-out” ceremony with their Ponies, who have horns, wings, and the ability to talk.
“The Barn At The End of Our Term” by Karen Russell, Granta
Presidents of the United States are reincarnated as horses. They ponder life, death, and their current existence. A few of them even consider escape.
“Tierkling” by Justine McNulty, The Masters Review
We were thrilled to publish “Tierkling” this last winter. In Justine McNulty’s story, a group of boys takes it upon themselves to liberate the exotic creatures in a pet store. Suffice it to say that things do not go as planned.
“What The Water Feels Like To The Fishes” by Dave Eggers, The Guardian
What would the fishes say if they could talk to us? In this piece of flash fiction, they instruct us on what the water feels like, among other things.