I’ve always thought that in its immediacy and fleet-footedness, the e-environment was perfect for the short story format. So I was pleased when an email dropped into my inbox acquainting me with Byliner, whose motto is “A perfect story, every time.” Now the digital publisher is launching a new imprint, Byliner Serials, that focuses on serialized storytelling. Up first: the masterly Margaret Atwood’s blackly funny “Positron,” which continues the story she started in “I’m Starved for You,” published with resounding success under the Byliner Fiction imprint in March. Now available, the second episode, “Choke Collar,” updates us on the travails of Stan and Charmaine, a couple struggling to get by in a near-future totalitarian state. For true-crime fans, there’s also Joe McGinniss’s “15th Gothic Street” serial, following events at a typical American courthouse over the course of a year.
In another development, Harper Voyageur is previewing Kim Harrison’s Into the Woods, a short story collection due in October, with the release of the digital novella “Pet Shop Boys” (eISBN 9780062237682), available now wherever ebooks are sold. Yes, the novella’s tone is set by some downbeat lyrics by the eponymous British electro-pop band, and, yes, it opens in a pet store, whose lone employee one cold, dark, mysterious winter’s night finds himself swept away by a cold, dark, mysterious woman. The novella reputedly takes Harrison in a new direction, so fans should take notice.