Released as a paperback in 2004 this ground-breaking collection is considered by many to be a pioneering work in the flash fiction movement. It broke publishing barriers to micro-fiction, inspired many authors, has been adapted to film and audio, and was also a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. The expanded hardcover edition contains “Aftershocks,” a battery of newly added stories, as well as bonus writing prompts in an included reader’s/teacher’s guide, and a brand new Afterword.
100 Jolts actually features one hundred short shots of fiction guaranteed to stun. Arnzen has honed his craft to deliver the highest voltage using the fewest words. According to the author “Horror is the genre of the jolt, the shock, the spark. The horror story’s conflict is always a matter of life and death, but death…almost always comes too soon—that’s why we fear it.” And now readers have a new reason to be afraid. One hundred new reasons!
From the grotesque to the hilarious these bits of micro-fiction will keep you entertained long after you put the book down.
Finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.
“…this collection will be a treasured favorite for any collector of horror literature and indispensable reference material for any writer, horror genre or not.”
—The Horror Library
“The impact of each of these devastating tales is incredible, out of proportion to the brevity of the story…This book is like a little gift, each page revealing a new present, a mini-story told with more flair and style than most novels.”
“If you crave a spin down the surreal side, and if you already love where horror poetry has come the last few years, you will appreciate the twilight zone between prose and poetry that Arnzen navigates so well.”
—William D. Gagliani for Flesh & Blood
“The very brevity of most of these pieces provides an experimental freedom that more traditional narratives wouldn’t always allow for…The 100 stories are bracketed by an introduction and a concluding interview, but read them both first. They’ll give you some additional insight that should help you further appreciate what Arnzen is up to, in this celebration of the power of reducing mortality and morbidity—and their lighter sides—to their bare essences.
—Brian Hodge for Hellnotes
“If you’re a reader you should have this, if you’re a writer you need this…Get it before they’re gone!”
“Jaded horror veterans would certainly welcome this book as a refreshing change of pace from mass market factory schlock. If you see this book, grab it, and give yourself a jolt.”
“On and on the jolts go in an avalanche of ideas and wordplay and brutal imagery that is sure to shock or titillate even the most jaded of readers…All of the one hundred stories presented here are entertaining. A number of them are classics. Michael Arnzen should be proud of what he has accomplished. 100 Jolts is the creation of a very talented writer at the top of his game and will undoubtedly find itself on a number of awards lists this coming year. Highly recommended.”
“Each of his pieces will jar you out of any comfort zone you might be, well, comfortably reclining in, as well as possibly jolting the last meal out of your stomach and, especially, disturbing your mind as it tries to figure out just how he created such compact and hard-hitting pieces of gore.”
—Heather Cox for BellaOnline
“100 Jolts is an absolute top-notch collection, but the title is a misnomer: There may be 100 stories, but there are far more than 100 jolts packed within these pages. Arnzen manages to cram an amazing amount of creativity, horror, and dark humor into such short pieces. “Resonant Eyes” is one of the most brilliant stories I’ve ever read, and it’s one freakin’ paragraph! This book is dark, mean, unapologetically horrific, and it’s obvious that Arnzen had a huge grin on his face the entire time he was writing it!”
—Jeff Strand, author of Single White Psychopath Seeks Same
“With great skill, Arnzen has honed each of these stories down to its essence. You often hear writers describe the story-writing process as a great labor in which each word has so much significance and impact that it must be chosen with a jeweler’s eye. Arnzen has refined that method to the point that every word is not just important, it’s pivotal. In these stories, single words convey worlds of meaning. Arnzen could probably find a way to scare us with punctuation…Time may thaw the plot, but it doesn’t diminish the impact these tales have. Some of them will stay with you longer than many novels.”
—Horror World Book Reviews
“There is, without question, plenty of ghoulishness and gore among the collection to appease the appetites of the Cliver Barkerites and Stephen Kingalongs. It’s in the most unpredictable ways, however, that Arnzen most titillates and humors us…just the sort of jolt the mainstream genre needs right now.”
“Michael Arnzen’s writing is a tremendous amount of fun to read, and horror enthusiasts everywhere should pick up a copy of 100 Jolts….This book is great if you only have a few minutes to read during the morning commute or if you have an hour to read every story in succession. I’m sure if you’re like me you’ll be groaning in disgust, looking over your shoulder in fear, and smiling with enjoyment all at the same time.”
“Simply stated, there’s nothing like this collection of ultra-short fiction. Arnzen continually impressed me with his punchy narrative style and endless images of grue, gore, and gristle. An evening with this book will leave you feeling like you’ve been gutted like a dead fish and hung out to dry.”
—Tom Monteleone, author of The Blood of the Lamb
“Avant-horror is all about trespass (of narrative limits, of readerly expectations, of social decorum) and all about the disruption of what our culture thinks it needs to repress in order to remain whole and functioning. In these 100 wild-eyed fictive concentrates, Michael A. Arnzen, the wizard of outré, asks our culture to think again. And again.”
—Lance Olsen, author of Hideous Beauties
“100 Jolts delivers far more than is promised by its title; with this magnificent collection of literate and disturbing short-shorts, some which are among the darkly funniest I’ve ever read, Arnzen can rightfully claim his place as the Donald Barthelme of horror. This book is a remarkable achievement.”
—Gary A. Braunbeck, author of In Silent Graves and Graveyard People
The table of contents for 100 Jolts contains more than 100 items — so large that it must be accessed on a separate page.
Here’s a sampler of short-shorts from the collection for your previewing pleasure (visit Scribd.com/Arnzen, if for some reason you can’t read the window below):
Selections from 100 Jolts were adapted to audio for the CD release, Audiovile. Here is “Psycho Hunter,” a story that appears on both:
“Psycho Hunter” [Download .mp3]
Shockingly Short Stories
by Michael A. Arnzen
Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2004/7
List Price, $29.95, 196 pp.
List Price, $12.99, 122 pp.