Fiction Circular 9/11/18

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FLASH FICTION (under 500 words)

The Dark Netizen continues his project of attempting to have the highest output of microfictions of any person ever with, Border Crossing, which tells the tale of a criminal attempting a border crossing with a bag of illicit cash. One of his best. Also from Netizen, the microfiction, Bagpiper a story about not allowing peer pressure to frivolously dissuade one’s passion.

“Sivak knew getting through the check post was not going to be easy…”

New Flash Fiction Review published the fantastically titled, There’s A Joke Here Somewhere And Its On Me by Sara Lippmann. A little slice of 80s adolescence.

“MTV watched me.”


SHORT STORIES

From X-R-A-Y, Flipped by Zac Smith. A 700 word sentence about a car crash. The brisk tale’s vivid imagery should compel all of us to take more care on the road and continue developing ways to make vehicular travel safer (from my perch in the US, I’ve long advocated a interconnected, national mag-lev system to increase cost-effectiveness and reduce risk of collision) without impinging upon movement autonomy.

“Brad pinned between the wheel and the seat and the roof of the car but able eventually to wrench himself out through the busted-out window, on his back, coming out like a baby covered in glass and blood-“

Nell published the follow up to her short story, The Angelic Conversation, with The Angelic Conversation: Agnes, a titillating tale of lust both old and new. NSFW.

“His mind drifted to his young confidant. The clever, vibrant woman he had befriended a few months before. They had shared their secrets and intimate desires – and more than once he had felt himself become charged when she posted images of…”

From Jessica Triepel, The First Step, a intimate short story based upon her own personal experiences in a troubled relationship.

“Her husband would be home from work soon, the knowledge of which filled her with a sense of dread. It had been a good day, but she knew how quickly all that could change once Lothar was home.”

From STORGY, Deadhead by Victoria Briggs. A somber and moving rumination on death and family.

“Death brought with it a dizzying amount of aesthetic considerations-“

I particularly enjoyed the old-school stylings of Uncle Charlie. If Ms. Briggs is ever to write up a sequel, it would be interesting to see Charlie positioned as a more central character, perhaps even the lead.

From Terror House Magazine, The Serpent by Mark Hull, the story of a man who loses his tongue and struggles to get it back. Just as strange and fascinating as it sounds.

“When Eben Guthrey awoke, he knew something was wrong. It wasn’t that anything hurt so much as the intense sense of absence in and around his facial cavity. He took a few hazy moments at the edge of sleep to perform a few experiments. First, he tried to get his tongue to tap on his teeth. Then he tried to get his tongue to touch the roof of his mouth. Then he tried to stick his tongue out far enough to get a visual confirmation of it. When all of these tests failed, he was forced to conclude his tongue was no longer in his throat. It had escaped.”

From Idle Ink, The Great British Break-Off by esteemed writer of sad nonsense, Jake Kendall.

“Now at 48 and 47 respectively that ship had not only sailed, but in all probability arrived at its destination.”


NOVELLAS & NOVELS

Horror writer Laird Barron‘s newest novel, Black Mountain has received a hard-cover release date, May 07, 2019. The book is the sequel to Blood Standard, and marks the second entry in the Isaiah Coleridge series.

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Fiction Circular 9/7/18

We’re always open to ideas on sites to cover for future installments, so if you know a good writer or collective, let us know via logosliterature@yandex.com


FLASH FICTION

Ramya Tantry of the whimsical writing site, And Miles Before I Go To Sleep… published The Mist, a surreal micro-fiction about (as you might have guessed) a peculiar mist and (as you probably didn’t guess) a lucky garden gnome.

Run, the mist is descending.. Run for your life“, cried Stu.

The poisonous mist was settling on his skin causing blisters. He was in tremendous pain and was in desperate need of water to wash the mist away. But he was unable to move. Poor visibility due to mist was creating hindrance in searching others.

He cried for help. He called for his friends. But no help arrived. As the mist started to clear he could see the bodies of his friends. He saw some of his friends on the other side of the fence crying their heart out.

I bring good luck. I am a good luck charm. I am the protector. Why I am being killed?“, Stu – the Garden Gnome wondered.

Certainly a evocative beginning to a tale, the only question: what happens next? Did Stu survive his ordeal? What is the mist and how did it become poisonous? Where did it come from? Perhaps we shall find out in another installment.

Curiously, The persistently consistent Dark Netizen also published a flash fiction entitled The Mist (presumably both he and Ms. Tantry were inspired by the same writing prompt). His story differs from Ms. Tantry’s in that there are no gnomes, but rather, considerably more giant spiders. Really not sure which situation is preferable…

Newcomer Avani Singh of the horror fiction site Blogggedit published a horror story memorably titled Weirdo Elevator. The story of the strange elevator and the terrifying smile continues in Why? Why Don’t You Leave Me? and is further elaborated upon in part 3, NOW YOU SEE ME! One thing I quite enjoyed about blogggedit’s posts is the usage of disquieting photography throughout, that both fit and intensified the narrative. We’ll be covering the rest of the series once we finish reading it and are definitely interested to see her work develop and progress.


SHORT STORIES

Worth reading from Jellyfish Review, When God Closes A Door by Kathryn Kulpa.

“I could picture the droop of his thinning hair, his hangdog eyes, as he realized the terrible sort of person I was. Like that song that says you always hurt the ones you love, but that wasn’t me. I hurt people I kind of liked-“

Nell begins the first chapter of a series titled The Angelic Conversation. A tale of convening with celestial beings.

angelic-alphabet1.jpg

“The social media app, which had in recent times, become her refuge. Another world she could escape to and be someone else – or perhaps just another version of herself, which was usually carefully concealed in her day job as an archivist.”

A tale of the freedom inherent to anonymity; no nagging questions from friends and co-workers; but are such relationships built as a stage or are they a potential alternative avenue of human connectivity, as real and genuine as talking to John upon the street? And who is this John anyway? I suppose we shall find out in her next installment.

We got around to reading more from OddMadLand’s back-catalog and delved into Ardency and Hysteria, the peculiar tale of a poet, Ren, who, believing himself a bird jumps to his “death” and, under perpetual transformation and internal turmoil, contemplates becoming his own planet and what life upon himself would entail.

“It was reported that the photographer and poet ended his life at the age of twenty-nine, but what they did not know is that he never hit the ground after jumping to his death. Instead the sky fell, and as it went down he went up.”

Like all of the stories at OddMadLand, Ardency and Hysteria is stylish, experimental and dense with symbolism. Highly recommended.

Terror House Mag’s Working The Night Shift by Daniel Bretton has a good premise – a depressed, wayward hall monitor seeing something or someone late at night, or at least he thinks did; this realization then causing total life-reassessment. Life, he realizes, is stranger than fiction, or something (it isn’t really laid out very well how this event changed his perspective, though the set up is well-done). However, this interesting premise is undercut by clunky prose which almost always tells rather than shows. Additionally, the story raises a few philosophical questions (the author snipes at dogmatic materialism (qua Dawkins et al.) and states – rightly – that what is true is not constrained by dogma, personal or collective; “if something is real it can take the pressure [of investigation]”) but doesn’t follow through with this idea, which makes the story feel, unfortunately, rather half-finished.

“In the modern day, the scientific and educational establishments have turned to a dogmatic materialism. No deviation from this premise is tolerated, with researchers and scientists putting their careers at risk by pursuing wider areas of research. Yet, to paraphrase a figure Burke otherwise has little use for; “if something is real it can take the pressure.” The strange, extraordinary, and yes, spiritual aspects of the universe do not simply cease to exist because post-enlightenment men choose to ignore them.”

Also from Terror House Mag, My Shinning Boy by Patty Fischer.

John Siney, whose work we’ve covered previously (The Ghost Of A Flea), has released an extract of his 2016 novel, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Woman. All I can say thus far is that it is splendidly written, amusing and hold’s too high an opinion of Pollock (who was dreadful).


NOVELLAS & NOVELS

Nothing to report; still working through The White Lioness (Kurt Wallander #3) by Henning Mankell.


NOTABLE NON-FICTION WORKS

Lastly, though not a prose fiction work, Disappearance and Assembly – Extract by David J. Roden is well worth a read.

“-only the speaker, the human, has any place on the stage-“


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The Tunneler’s Vision, Prt.1

The tunneler stood upon the rough-worn and carpeted floor of his ramshackle home, gazing about in contemplative dismay. How ugly was the construct that he called, “Home.” It a ugly thing with floors of warped wood and fluffy shag carpeting, dotted with chip crumbs and dirt specks and wine stains and dog hair – how he hated dogs. All across the ostentatiously papered walls were abstract paintings he had bought to impress his artistically minded friends – the tunneler knew not their meanings nor even if they possessed any at all. The ceiling was soft cream plaster, cracked and water bogged, little, smelly droplets plip-plopping down the far left corner of the living room.

And the furniture! It was everywhere, three couches upon each of which sat four or more pillows, then a arm chair, then a bean bag, then a stool he had planned to sell and forgotten, remembered and given up upon. Adjacent the couches, in the far right corner of the room, opposite the water leak, stood a large bright yellow wooden entertainment stand connected to his work desk upon which lay his computer surrounded by a whirring, messy conglomerate of wires and soda bottles and paper clips and pencils and their subsequent alcahest. Beside the computer, upon the floor, was a hideous fern, which his former girlfriend had insisted he maintain to bring some, “Color and character,” to his tumble down abode.

Clutter. Filth. Disorder.

The Tunneler hated it all.

He checked his ornate, gear-borne wrist watch and quickly put on his coat and exited his apartment. Late for work. He caught the bus and paid his way, the familiar clinking of coin on copper and the churning hiss-whirl of machinery putting his frenzied, fevered mind momentarily at ease. He sat in the back, he always sat in the back, the morning paper half-unfurled in his calloused and rough worn hands and his keen neon-blue eyes scanning the contents languorously.

New Shopping mall to be constructed. Historic Brutalist town hall to be torn down and replaced with environmentally friendly windmill generators. Immigrant rape scandal continues. Mayor calls for more international trade deregulation. Chrysanthemum killer still on the loose.

He dropped the paper in his lap with a heavy sigh and looked around, the faces on the bus were faraway, absorbed in their digital devices, machine as master of man when it should be the other way around. Their drone-like stupor disturbed him profoundly. It was something to be smashed, to be obliterated, like the evil magic of some shamanic blood cult.

He extended his hand towards a pretty middle aged blonde with too much make-up.

“You read the paper?”

She rolled her eyes in disgusted and turned around, burying her face in her digital device, some lap-top-turned-phone. He averted his gaze to the high, frail, winding spires mixed with fast blurring spatterings of smaller, neoclassical structures – they were the worst. Neither of the past nor present, a abortion of syncretism. Characterless facades. Ostentatious manses and hotels and tenements and strip malls without identity. They were of the world but of no particular part of it, like the foreign faces that hunkered about the bus, eyes glinting in the dull, blue light of LCD screens.

He’d see it all razed to the ground.