What happens when a bold idea for the future doesn’t quite go as planned? That’s the concept at the center of Failure to Launch: A Tour of Ill-Fated Futures, a new anthology edited by Kel McDonald. The anthology features contributions from the likes of Ryan North and Shannon Saar, and a crowdfunding campaign is now up and running to bring it to print. We’re pleased to present an excerpt from the book: “Magic City, All of Fire” by Evan Dahm.
In the Fall of 2021 I recorded a one-hour, multitracked solo performance of Canto Ostinato by the late Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt. Following are a few scattered reflections from the project’s inception to its release this month.
Benjamin Niespodziany’s debut book of poems, No Farther Than the End of the Street, limits itself to scenes set within the space of a single block. It is equal parts domestic and dream, love letter and daily grief. In lieu of a traditional review, what follows is a “review” limiting itself to text contained in the book. It is meant to replicate the sensory experience of reading Niespodziany’s book for the first time. As such, it is not singular, but one snapshot among the many possible illustrations of the book’s emotional resonance.
We’re pleased to present the cover art for Matthew Binder‘s forthcoming novel Pure Cosmos Club, available now for pre-order as both a trade paperback and a hardcover via Stalking Horse Press.
The press’s description? “In this biting satire, Matthew Binder takes surreal aim at the poses and pretensions of high art and fashion. With ruthless wit, Binder chronicles the struggles of Paul, an eccentric artist, and his companion dog, a disabled, quiche-obsessed terrier-mix named Blanche. Together they negotiate hilarious scenes of bad parties, bizarre couture, deranged friends, shady deals, unrequired love, sabotage, and inscrutable art. But there may be a way out for Paul when he meets James, a New Age guru and leader of a secretive cult: the Pure Cosmos Cub. Yet, every time Paul believes he’s ready for the “Ultimate Level,” James raises the price of entry. Just how far will Paul go for love, for art, and to attain cosmic oneness?”
For the full cover image and a statement from artist Keith Rondinelli, read on…
Who was the first storyteller to level up the haunted house? To put it another way: tales of houses haunted by restless spirits are unsettling enough. Who was the first person to see a haunted house as a place where existence itself could become malleable? As a concept, you can see wildly different manifestations of it in Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel House of Leaves and Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard’s comic book Home Sick Pilots. And then there’s Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless, which also nestles a kind of relentless, indescribable horror between the four walls of a home — but also finds a way to tap into some of the most urgent themes of the present moment.
“All is illusion” is a mantra Roger Orr picks up on a spiritual pilgrimage to India but the meaning of the phrase gains resonance far beyond the metaphysical realm—nothing and no one in Orr’s world is what or who they appear to be. They are ever mutable and evolving as is the person at the center of this story.
Edward Gibbon is best-known for his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work so mammoth that its abridged edition is still a sizable doorstopper, abounding with information about the Roman Empire’s culture, systems of government, and rulers–both good and bad. And if that was all that Gibbon had featured, that would suffice to confirm its classic status. But there’s plenty more to consider in Gibbon’s book, both structurally and in terms of the vast influence it’s had on the centuries of work that followed.
It’s now been over a century since Shirley Jackson was born, and her work continues to reveal new facets and delve into the substance of life and our anxieties–both quotidian and cosmic. In a 2017 essay for Nightmare Magazine, author John Langan makes a convincing case that Jackson’s influence on the horror genre remains underrated–and then examines the myriad ways in which her work echoes through a seemingly-disparate array of books written in the decades following her death.