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The 1990s have seen a renaissance in short fiction studies. Today's short story writers are testing the boundaries of short fiction through minimalist works; extended short story cycles; narrative nonfiction forms, such as histories, memoirs, and essays; and even stories created interactively with readers on the computer. Short story critics, in turn, are viewing the short story from the perspective of genre, history, cultural studies, and even cognitive science. This volume brings together the opinions, theories, and research of many of today's best-known short story writers, theorists, and critics. Contributors include some of the most widely read contemporary authors, such as Joyce Carol Oates, John Barth, Gay Talese, W. P. Kinsella, Robert Coover, Barry Hannah, and Leslie Marmon Silko. The authors and scholars who have contributed to the volume provide an entertaining and informative exploration of modern short fiction. The volume traces the origins of the short story back to Chaucer, the joke, and the instinct for play, and follows the development of the form through today's "hyper-stories" created interactively in cyberspace. Along the way, it presents essays on miminalism in short fiction, on the transformation of short stories into films, and even on AIDS and the short story. The broad scope of the volume includes a wide variety of critical approaches brought to bear on literature from around the world, including short stories from Africa, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.