Fiction Circular 2/22/19

§00. Editor’s note: links affixed to author/publisher’s name will redirect to author/publisher social media, links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to the site whereupon the named piece is archived. ‘Independent individual authors’ section focuses on lone individuals who publish their own literary work, ‘independent publishing organizations’ section focuses upon independent presses, lit-mags, e-zines and other literary organizations who publish fictive work of multiple authors and ‘literary ephemera’ focuses on non-prose non-fiction literature, such as certain poems, news and art theory articles, reviews, interviews and critiques.

§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: a publication is considered ‘independent’ if it is self-contained and sustaining, that is to say, if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess or financial backing of large corporations, academies, governments or other large entrenched organizations. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included on the list, not due to the quality or lack thereof of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent).


From Byron F. McBride, A Long Night. Reminded me of the first episode of the tv series The Hunger.

The night was over, and I was heading home. Bennett Vandermeer had invited me for dinner, on account of his being featured at the art gallery Pluto-Neon, and his need to shove my face in it.


— A Long Night

From The Dark Netizen, a brisk but amusing fractal, Sinking.

The mermaids smile back at the sailors, unaware of the radioactive nature of the submarine’s doomed contents…


— Sinking


From Defiant Scribe, Grope, by Ian Simons, a surreal comedy concerning the monumental consequences of small happenings.

“The deer gave her a curious grunt as she flew by, and then she continued moving out into a fold in space, a maelstrom amongst the stars that was spinning, smearing old light in the darkness.”


— Grope

From Fictive Dream, Solitaire, by Travis Cravey. A flash fiction about mental illness.

“She didn’t say goodnight, or kiss my forehead, or tuck me in. She just kept playing solitaire. Sometimes I could hear her crying. But she never stopped playing.”


— Solitaire

From Flash Back Fiction, The Fur-puller, by Peter Burns, a dour, historical fiction concerning a poor, afflicted family struggling in England. Whilst it is somewhat maudlin in a begging-Mr. Bumble-for-gruel kind of way, its also deftly written. The tonally resonant audio-reading accompanying the story further adds to the Dickensian experience.

Mr. Matthews lays the sack on the scales. Rose doesn’t blink, for fear of missing the tilt of it, doesn’t breathe, for fear of losing more than she already has. Billy coughs like he always does, dry and brittle.



— The Fur-puller

From Reflex Fiction, White Line, by John Brantingham, a brisk flash fiction piece which follows a man’s reflection on violence, basketball, scars and stoicism.

From Storgy, The Perfect Family, by Susan Bloch, a sorrowful tale of a seemingly wonderful family that hides a dark secret. A study of inaction and its consequences.

That was the last time I saw Holly before sirens went off at midnight. Before medics carried out a black bag on a stretcher.


— The Perfect Family

From Surfaces, Not Me, by the inimitable Manuel Marrero. A impressive, soaring, dizzyingly baroque debut for the Paul Allen business card of literary websites. * best of the week

American life had subsided into an almost zen-like complacency, the Hegelian end, anathema for the Judeochristian disciples, ripe agency for the monolatrists. But vatic forces were gathering now to disrupt their binary equilibrium.


— Not Me

From The Rational Argumentator, The Wales Technique, by Gennady Stolyarov II. The story of a actuary who grapples with the problem of a blank spot in his predictive models. Mr. Stolyarov’s story is quite refreshing, as it is the only scifi story I can remember reading this year that isn’t a grim dystopia.

“The Black Hole… I can see it clearly in the region with fewer data points.”

— The Wales Technique

From X-R-A-Y, Spores, by Lukasz Drobnik. A surrealistic and metaphorical take on the superhero genre. Superb prose.

The monkeys can see her from afar with their laser eyes, their shark-like teeth glistening in the dark.


— Spores


From Adam Lock, Is The Talented Writer A Myth? The short answer is “no,” it is a reduction. For those without preternatural receptivity to literary ends, practice avails. Mr. Lock writers: “Good writing is a talent. This idea has always frustrated me because it is indiscriminate and takes no heed of the hours of hard work a writer puts in to improve their craft.” I would contend that good writing IS a talent (the baseline for all human behavior is genotypic), but it is not only arrived at by way of individual genetic proclivity (ie. where sociality comes into play). Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the premise which Mr. Lock attempts to untangle, his piece is well worth a read (especially if one happens to be a author or would-be author).

-is there is a distinction between mindless repetition and deliberate practice.


— Is The Talented Writer A Myth

From The Arcanist, It Cost Ray Bradbury $9.80 in Dime To Write ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ by Josh Hrala, a historical-philosophical piece concerning how it was that Ray Bradbury came to write his well-known science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 (originally titled, The Fireman) on a dime-rented typewriter. One of the reasons the piece stands out is its focus on work ethic (and the lack thereof amongst the writerly class); a topic which the author notes in the opening,

“There’s this false notion among non-writer folk that in order to sit down and write a novel, conditions must be perfect. As if writers have to perform a series of rituals designed for channeling an elusive, just-out-of-touch muse. Writing only by candlelight after sipping Colombian espresso on Thursday mornings while wearing a smoking jacket and facing true north, for example.”

A excellent piece. Highly recommended reading, especially for would-be authors.

I got a bag of dimes and settled into the room, and in nine days I spent $9.80 and wrote my story; in other words, it was a dime novel.”

— Ray Bradbury

Thanks for reading.

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