VSL//Fresh fantastical fiction by writers you wouldn’t expect

According to master storyteller Neil Gaiman, the four most important words in fiction are “…and then what happened?” Read Stories: All-New Tales (available 6/15), an absorbing anthology of short stories edited by Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, and you’ll have occasion for those words again and again.

The 27 never-before-published tales in Stories have in common the skill of their authors—which include Joyce Carol Oates, Joe Hill and Very Short List’s very own co-founder Kurt Andersen—and the strange sense of the fantastic that laces each entry: Oates delivers an account of horribly mismatched twin brothers; Hill writes of a murderer’s Dantean descent into hell; and Andersen depicts a lonely extraterrestrial anthropologist. These stories are part of what Gaiman and Sarrantonio call “a new literature of the imagination,” a rewardingly imprecise theme that guarantees that no matter how many times you dip into this tomish treasure chest, there will always be something surprising waiting for you inside.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.