I’ll confess that I’m easily won over by stories that play with form and structure. I’m also love texts that use the conventions of one form of writing to speak in a different voice outside of that convention. I’m also lazy, so stories that are also very short have an advantage with me. Even conceding these personal biases, I do think ‘STET’ by Sarah Gailey is remarkable.
The core of the text is a single paragraph but within and surrounding that paragraph are footnotes and editorial comments. Together they piece to together a portrait of a character, their emotions and a tragedy that precedes the piece.
It’s not long on plot, hence why I call it a portrait – there’s a sense of a snapshot in time and then a backstory to that snapshot. However, it manages to cover some deep themes about the ethics of algorithims, grief and some darkly funny references and book titles.
The overall design of the text is excellent as well (apparently differently fomatted for web, ebook and print but I’ve only seen the web version) cleverly suggestive of a text under review as well as deliniating the voice of a second character commenting on both the text and the well being of the narrator.
Well worth a read. It’s available here: https://firesidefiction.com/stet