Coin-Operated Boys by Kirsty Logan (2nd place in the FBRSSC)

Following on from the publication yesterday of To Ashes by Kat Zantow, the short story that placed third in our short story competition, today sees the publication of the story that placed second, Coin-Operated Boys by Kirsty Logan.

The three winning entries were chosen by bestselling author Frank P Ryan, who said of Coin-Operated Boys, “Elodie Selkirk, with her hooked nose and missing pinkie finger, is not interested in a regular suitor. What she fancies is a coin-operated boy. Ingenious, stylish, witty – I loved the basic idea, which plays on the whim of an excessively fashion conscious lady to have the perfect escort. Excellent play on sexual jealousy and a highly amusing twist in the tail.”

An illustration by Mark Salwowski from Kirsty Logan's Coin-Operated Boys.

You can read this winning entry now, for which the author received an Amazon Kindle, by clicking on this link – Coin-Operated Boy by Kirsty Logan – or by clicking on the images above and below. The magnificent artwork in the PDF template is the work of Mark Salwowski (, the illustrator who worked with Frank P Ryan on his fantasy novel, The Snowmelt River. Read and enjoy.

We also caught up with Kirsty and asked her about her entry and writing in general:

FBR: Was this your first short story competition?

KL: Not the first, but the first time I’ve won a Kindle! I won third place in the Bridport Prize last year for a story called Underskirts. That one was great fun because, oddly enough, PJ Harvey was at the prize ceremony. It was lovely to meet her but I was so nervous that all I could do was talk about the weather.

FBR: What was the inspiration for your story?

KL: The Dresden Dolls song, ‘Coin-Operated Boy’. I love the band’s aesthetic of Victoriana and dark cabaret, and I wanted to get that feel in the story. I also seem to have an obsession with clockwork body-parts and love substitutes – I’ve written about hearts that can be hired and returned, and a woman who makes a man out of paper.

An extract of text from Kirsty Logan's Coin-Operated Boys.

FBR: How long did your short story take to write? Was the writing experience a pleasant one or did you encounter difficulties?

KL: The first draft took a few weeks. I ran it by both of my workshop groups, and then it was perhaps another week to edit and rewrite it. I didn’t have any difficulties because the story had been bumping around my brain for a while before I wrote it down. I wrote it in the break between finishing my first novel, Little Dead Boys, and starting on my second, Rust and Stardust. I’m also working on a short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, and as I’m used to writing short fiction I find it difficult to be stuck in one narrative with one set of characters for the many months it takes to write a novel. By the time I’d finished the first novel, I was buzzing with ideas for fresh stories. I recently finished the first draft of the second novel, so I’m excited to write short stories again.

FBR: Were you happy with the finished story? Or would you have liked a little more time?

KL: I’m very happy with it. I wanted it to be sexy and creepy and a bit sad, and I hope I managed that. I didn’t ask permission from Amanda Palmer or Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls before writing the story, but I like to think they’d be flattered!

To see The Dresden Dolls perform Coin-Operated Boys, follow this YouTube link

All here at Fantasy Book Review would like to congratulate Kirsty, thank her for her excellent entry and wish her all the best with her future writing. Our short story competition, which ran from April until November of this year and was kindly sponsored by Swift Publishers.

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