Cover designed and illustrated by Mike Annear; click for full-size version

Welcome to the hub page for The Chamber Four Fiction Anthology.

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• Download it

• Description

Complete table of contents

• Author bios

• Bonus content (interviews & more)


(just click the bolded links to download any format below)

Download the ebook at Smashwords.

Paperback – Now available! Order a copy at the Harvard Book Store—click here. It’s $11.88, which is at cost.

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This anthology contains 25 of the best short stories published on the web in 2009 and 2010 as chosen by the editors of, a website dedicated to making reading more enjoyable and more rewarding.

In this collection, you’ll find traditional, Carver-esque stories alongside magical realist tales of teleportation, long pieces that slowly pull you in, and single-page punches to the solar plexus. Some of these authors you’ve heard of, others you’ll be discovering for the first time, and you can be sure you’ll see them all again.

There is no factor that unifies the pieces collected here beyond their availability online and that hard-to-define but unmistakable hallmark of quality. These stories are as diverse and as wide in scope as the Internet, but each is true to their shared subject: the attempt to reconcile our world to the struggles of the human soul.

This anthology is DRM-free and free to download. Anybody charging for it is ripping you off.

Scroll down to browse a complete table of contents.

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Below is a list of every story in the anthology, in the order in which they appear. Click the title of the story to see its original home on the web. Click the name of the author to see their bio on this page. Click the title of the magazine to visit that magazine’s home page. Use your browser’s back button to navigate back.

Liz Phair and the Most Perfect Sentence
by Andrea Uptmor
from Hot Metal Bridge

Eupcaccia (PDF download link)
by Angie Lee
from Witness

by Scott Cheshire
from AGNI

Seven Little Stories About Sex
by Eric Freeze
from Boston Review

Men Alone
by Steve Almond
from Drunken Boat

For the Sake of the Children
by Sarah Salway
from Night Train

Semolinian Equinox
by Svetlana Lavochkina
from Eclectica Magazine

The Girl In The Glass
by Valerie O’Riordan
from PANK

by L.E. Miller
from Ascent

The Naturalists
by B.J. Hollars
from storySouth

The Affliction
by C. Dale Young
from Guernica

Bad Cheetah
by Andy Henion
from Word Riot

Nothings (table of contents)
by Aaron Block
from Alice Blue Review

by Steve Frederick
from Night Train

On Castles (PDF download page)
by Trevor J. Houser
from StoryQuarterly

Black Night Ranch
by Roy Giles
from Eclectica Magazine

The Eskimo Keeps Her Promise (PDF download page)
by Emily Ruskovich
from Inkwell

Helping Hands
by David Peak
from PANK

The Next Thing on Benefit
by Castle Freeman, Jr.
from The New England Review

The Night Dentist
by Ron MacLean
from Drunken Boat

by Corey Campbell

Everything is Breakable with a Big Enough Stone
by Taryn Bowe
from Boston Review

The Abjection
by Michael Mejia
from AGNI

American Subsidiary
by William Pierce
from Granta

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Below is a list of all the authors featured in the anthology, in alphabetical order. Click the title of their story (in parentheses) to go to their entry in the table of contents on this page. Other links should be fairly self-explanatory.

Steve Almond (“Men Alone”) is the author of six books, most recently, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. He is also, crazily, self-publishing books. This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey, is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing. Letters from People Who Hate Me is just plum crazy. Both are available at readings. In 2011, Lookout Press will publish his story collection, God Bless America.

Aaron Block (“Nothings”) received his MFA from Emerson College, where he teaches college writing. When not teaching or writing he is usually buying records, eating a sandwich, or doing online jigsaw puzzles. His heroes include Orson Welles, Gary Giddins, and whoever came up with online jigsaw puzzles. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend, Fritha, and their cat, Ella.

Taryn Bowe (“Everything is Breakable with a Big Enough Stone”) has published fiction in literary journals, including Boston ReviewThe Greensboro ReviewThe Beloit Fiction Journal, and Redivider. She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and baby daughter.

Corey Campbell (“Pool”), a student in Warren Wilson’s MFA program for fiction, published “Pool” at and “The Plants” in New Southerner Magazine. Her story “Everyday Things” was showcased in the New Short Fiction Series at the Beverly Hills Library. A runner-up for Open City’s RRofihe Trophy two years in a row, Ms. Campbell has taken workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is the recipient of a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences scholarship for her writing.

Scott Cheshire (“Watchers”) earned his MFA in fiction at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is currently working on his first novel.

Steve Frederick (“Dragon”), a lifelong journalist, is inspired by the high lonesome prairie. His fiction writing can be found in Night Train; Snow Monkey; You Have Time for This: Contemporary American Short-Short Stories; Best American Flash Fiction of the 21st Century (a book used as a text in China); Emerging Voices; and in a variety of online sites, including Vestal Review, The God Particle and The Story Garden.

Castle Freeman, Jr. (“The Next Thing on Benefit”) is a novelist and short story writer living in southern Vermont. His stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines, and his most recent novel, All That I Have, was published last year by Steerforth Press, Hanover, New Hampshire, and by Duckworth Publishers, London.

Eric Freeze (“Seven Little Stories About Sex”) is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at Wabash College. He has published stories and translations in a variety of periodicals including most recently The Southern Review, Boston Review, and Tampa Review.

Roy Giles (“Black Night Ranch”) is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is a founding member of Arcadia Literary Journal where he serves as the drama and assistant poetry editor. “Black Night Ranch” is his first published story and originally appeared with Eclectica Magazine where he was chosen as the “Spotlight Author” of that issue.

Andy Henion (“Bad Cheetah”) likes sharp-tongued movie sidekicks, burnt-orange automobiles and hominy from a can. His fiction has appeared in Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, Pindeldyboz, and other places. He lives in Michigan with some people and an animal.

B.J. Hollars (“The Naturalists”) is an instructor at the University of Alabama where he also received his MFA in 2010. He’s served as nonfiction editor and assistant fiction editor for Black Warrior Review and currently edits for Versal. He is the author of the forthcoming Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America (University of Alabama Press) and the editor of You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside The Story (Writer’s Digest Books, 2009). His website is

Trevor J. Houser (“On Castles”) was born in Oregon, but since then has lived in other places, like Mexico, where he drove a sort of gas truck. His writing has appeared in StoryQuarterly, ZYZZYVA, and Pindeldyboz among others. Two of his stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is currently working on a novel about werewolves in colonial times and how that affects the modern human condition. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Svetlana Lavochkina (“Semolinian Equinox”) was born, raised and educated in Eastern Ukraine, where the cities steamed with important factories, where dandelions poked through the concrete in some places. A decade ago, she moved to Eastern Germany, where Leipzig teems with parks and stucco nymphs call from the pink façades. Svetlana’s short stories were published in Eclectica (shortlisted for Million Writers’ Award 2010), The Literary Review, In Our Words Anthology, Chapman, Textualities and are forthcoming in Mad Hatters’ Review. Svetlana has been in unreciprocated love with English since she was seven. She tries to breathe with it, but this air is as thin as high on the mountain. The words tease, bully and won’t obey.

Angie Lee (“Eupcaccia”) is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. Raised on the top of a water tower in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Angie holds an MFA from Cal Arts and has exhibited in both the US and Europe. She often thinks of traveling to the moon and roasting her own coffee beans at the same time. Her work has been published in Giant Robot and Witness, and she blogs at

Ron MacLean (“The Night Dentist”) is author of the story collection Why the Long Face? (2008) and the novel Blue Winnetka Skies (2004). His fiction has appeared in GQ, New Ohio Review, Fiction International, Night Train, Other Voices and many more publications. He is a recipient of the Frederick Exley Award for Short Fiction and a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. He holds a Doctor of Arts from the University at Albany, SUNY, and is a former executive director at Grub Street, Boston’s independent creative writing center, where he still teaches.

Michael Mejia (“The Abjection”) is the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the NEA and a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. His novel Forgetfulness was published by FC 2, and his fiction, nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Seneca Review, Notre Dame Review, Paul Revere’s Horse, Pleiades, and American Book Review, among others. He lives in Georgia. His website is You can also reach him at Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

L.E. Miller (“Peacocks”) has published short stories in The Missouri Review, Scribner’s Best of Fiction Workshops 1999, and CALYX. One of her stories was also selected as a PEN/O. Henry Prize Story for 2009. L. E. Miller holds an M.A. in fiction writing from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son and is completing a collection of short stories.

Valerie O’Riordan (“The Girl In The Glass”) is just about to complete her MA in creative writing at the University of Manchester, England. Her short fiction has been published in print and online; she won the 2010 Bristol Short Story Prize and in 2009 she was a finalist in Flatmancrooked’s inaugural Fiction Prize. She’s working on her first novel and she blogs at

David Peak (“Helping Hands”) is the author of a novel, The Rocket’s Red Glare (Leucrota Press), a book of poems, Surface Tension (BlazeVOX Books), and two chapbooks. Other writing has appeared in elimae, Annalemma, and Monkeybicycle. He lives in New York City.

William Pierce (“American Subsidiary”). William Pierce’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Granta, The Cincinnati Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, and elsewhere. He is senior editor of AGNI, where he contributes a series of essays called “Crucibles.”

Emily Ruskovich (“The Eskimo Keeps Her Promise”) grew up on a little farm in the mountains of the Idaho Panhandle. She graduated from the University of Montana and then from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, where she earned her MA in English. She is currently a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers Workshop. “The Eskimo Keeps Her Promise” was her first published story. She is twenty-four years old.

Sarah Salway (“For the Sake of the Children”) is the author of three novels and two books of short stories. Her latest novel, Getting the Picture (Ballantine, 2010) is about love in a care home. She divides her time between Kent, England and London, where she is currently the RLF Fellow at the London School of Economics. Sarah’s website is at

Andrea Uptmor (“Liz Phair and the Most Perfect Sentence”) is a fiction writer from Illinois. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. You can read her blog at

C. Dale Young (“The Affliction”) is the author of three books of poetry, The Day Underneath the Day (Northwestern 2001), The Second Person (Four Way Books 2007), and TORN (Four Way Books 2011). He practices medicine full-time and teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A former recipient of the Grolier Prize and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts, “The Affliction” was his first published short story. He lives in San Francisco.

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Interview with Angie Lee, author of “Eupcaccia” (10/04/10)

Interview with Roy Giles, author of “Black Night Ranch” (10/11/10)

Interview with Andy Henion, author of “Bad Cheetah” (10/18/10)

Interview with Scott Cheshire, author of “Watchers” (10/25/10)

Publishers Lie and Other Things We Learned From Publishing “The Chamber Four Fiction Anthology” – Publishers’ lies, the biggest scam artist in the publishing industry, what in the world is named Servon, and many more eggs of knowledge we picked up while publishing this anthology.

Quick story descriptions – Descriptions of a few stories from the anthology, posted for a giveaway contest.

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