Skip to main content

What I Read in March

This post is a little delayed this month due to a busy schedule of revisions, revisions, and more revisions. For the most part, my reading this month was taken up in reviewing the Cyclopean Issue #1. My own story, "The Mystagogue" was the lead-off story and I was curious about the other work appearing within the issue. I wish this magazine a long life because they put together a collection of work that truly gets me excited for the stories they find.


  1. After the Big One by Adam Rothstein. (Motherboard) My lead off recommendation is this multipart multimedia fictionalized account of the Big One - a megaquake on the Cascade subduction zone. After a 9.0+ earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon struggles to survive. This is an amazing project really - taking the stuff of summer block busters and making a story both specific, epic, and consequential. Rothstein brings considerable moral focus to bear on the aftershocks of the disaster and the lack of preparedness that virtually guarantees a horrendous loss of life. 
  2. Old haunts  by Dominic Stabile. This was my favorite story in the Cyclopean Press issue. The concept of the story - husbands grappling with a house that both imprisons and rejuvenates them -is interesting and I appreciated the sincerity of Stabile's character development. The way the story lingers over the lives and conflicts of the characters was appealing and worth emulating.
  3. The Little Girl That Came From The Sea by Gwendolyn Kiste. (Kraxon Magazine) I like stories I can't get out of my head and this one fits the bill. A simple, spare tale about a pair of siblings who discover on the shore of an ocean an unearthly child, a girl born of the sea speaking a strange language. In the space of a few pages, Kiste weaves elements of Aphrodite, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez, and Little Mermaid into a spooky dream-like mediation. 
  4. Them! By Joseph Rubas (Cyclopean). Rubas channels a fairly convincing imitation of Stephen King to tell this lurid, enjoyable story of an alien invasion. Cyclopean Press doesn't shy away from longer stories, giving authors the chance to develop and complicate their worlds.  
  5. Seven cups of coffee by A.C. Wise. (Clarkesworkd). A beautiful story of two women brought together by time travel, desire, and unfinished coffee. 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski

Even 23 years later, I remember 1994 and Kurt Cobain's death. I experienced that moment as a kind of inside out personal crisis. I felt ashamed by his death. As though his exit in someway indicted my own teenage miseries. "I wish I was like you," goes the verse in 'All Apologies,' "Easily amused." I felt as though a check I hadn't remembered writing had just been cashed. 


SP Miskowski's book, named after the first half of that line, is in the words of another reviewer, a novel that shouldn't work. The narrator is unlikeable, unreliable, and dead. The plot is almost entirely told as a flashback and long sections of the novel concern the inner processes of the writer. The daily grind to summon up enough self-esteem to carry a sentence to its logical conclusion is a real struggle, people, but it ain't exactly riveting.

But the thing is, this novel works. It is one of the best things I've read all year and a real achievement in weird ficti…

What I Read in 2017

The third in my series of year-end lists is literature. As in past years, I've divided this post into two categories: Novels and short stories. Each of these stories made 2017 just a bit brighter for me and I hope this list includes at least a writer or two new to you.


Novels:
I Wish I was You by SP Miskowski: This was the subject of a review earlier this year. The way I feel about this novel, the tragedy of a talented person crippled by anger and regret, transformed into a monstrous avatar of wrath, has not really left me. Beyond the perfection of its prose and its preternatural subject matter, I feel like this is one of the best evocations of the mid-nineties I've seen published. There's something about this book that lingers with me long past the concerns of its plot and characters. I guess what I'm trying to say is this work moved me. 2017 would have been a lot dimmer if I hadn't read this work.New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson: Robinson writes next-level sp…

Review of "Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste

Part of the reason American Gods works is that it offers a kind of reward to folk lore mavens and religious study majors. Do you have a working familiarity with obscure Northern European mythologies? Are you able to describe what Neil Gaiman got right and what he fudged a bit in terms of the Egyptian religion? Then the guessing games of that novel - just which Middle Eastern Goddess is this? - magnify its other charms. 
"Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste (released by Broken Eye Books), is a novella for people, like me, who are waiting impatiently for the next season of Bryan Fuller's show. It's not set in that universe, certainly, but approaches the question of folklore from a similar perspective. Namely, that myths have a definite, physical explanation and your knowledge of such things will expand your enjoyment of the work. In the case of Pretty Marys, the stories are urban legends and nursery rhymes about young women. The main character, Rhee, is named…