“Also Starring” (Free Fiction)

imagesWell, it seemed unsporting to allude to my short story “Also Starring” (see my last post) and then not add what is, arguably, one of my best known and most popular stories to the blog.  This one leads off my Reality Machine collection and sets the tone for what comes next.

“Also Starring” made it into a number of very decent anthologies, including The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (tip of the hat to editor Ellen Datlow for choosing a story that, like so much of my stuff, defies easy classification).

I love movies and especially love movies that feature an outstanding supporting cast.  Over the years I’ve become something of a cinema buff and I’ve come to really appreciate the work of character actors like Strother Martin, Ronny Cox, Peter Lorre, Joseph Cotten, Victor McLaglen, John C. Reilly, Harry Carey and thespians of that ilk.  Familiar faces you can never quite put a name to, actors whose consummate skill and professionalism render them all but invisible.

This is my homage to them.

Click here for your free PDF download of “AlsoStarring


  1. Jessica Brown

    This was honestly my favorite story out of Reality Machine. I’m going to have to dig out my copy (I had to box up my massive book collection) and read them all again. It’s been too long!

  2. Cliff Burns

    Hey, Jess, thanks for the message. I’ve ALWAYS had a soft spot for “Also Starring”, a tale that literally wrote itself. So much of my work involves draft after draft and endless polishing. Not so with “Also Starring” (or “Daughter”, come to think of it); it was a tale that arrived almost fully formed. Hope you get your books out of boxes and onto shelves soon–my books are both comfort and inspiration. Dunno what I’d do if I couldn’t run my fingers over their spines and draw solace from the power and perseverance of the printed word.

  3. Cliff Burns

    Thanks, so much for giving a short-short effort a chance. J.G. Ballard and Barry Yourgrau prove you can cram a lot into a “condensed” work of fiction and I was just following their lead. Good to hear from you again…

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