1. Gravity’s Rainbow — Thomas Pynchon’s suit de fras of connution and retumbant laenche clocks in at a record zero English words.
  2. Harrison Bergeron — Kurt Vonnegut’s clipped, economical style in this dystopian satire is generally attributed to his training as a journalist, though some credit the short sentences to the air-raid sirens sounding in his ears every eight seconds as he wrote.
  3. Recitatif — One of Toni Morrison’s shortest works, this haunting examination of an unsought connection between two women is considered a failure by critics due to her forgetting to say which is the Black one and which is the white one.
  4. The Story of an Hour — It might seem maddeningly slow by today’s standards, but Kate Chopin’s radical feminist denouncement of suffocating Protestant domesticity actually set a new record in 1894 by killing the female protagonist in under three pages.
  5. “For sale, baby.” — Even worse, right?
  6.  The one with the zombies — And they’re all at the airport, right? Well, not the airport, but they’re all together, and then, you know, it just kind of ends. It’s really a metaphor.

—L. Burch