Scott Adlerberg on the Haunted Landscapes of “The Screaming Child”

Scott Adlerberg

It’s very likely that, when you start reading Scott Adlerberg’s The Screaming Child, you think you have a sense of where it’s going. The narrator is a writer who’s become obsessed with a project of her own: researching the life of a doomed author whose own obsessions got her killed. The narrator is also struggling with the disappearance of her son, a mystery that looms over the proceedings. But the way these different elements come together is repeatedly surprising — and transforms this book into something unpredictable and revelatory. I spoke with Adlerberg about the process of writing this novel and the real-life inspirations for some of its most surreal components.

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When Art Explains Art

"Waiting Room" cover art

When Art Explains Art
by McKenzie Stubbert

For my album “Waiting Room,” I commissioned the painter Zachary Johnson to create the original cover art. It  could have simply been a beautiful piece that, like many album covers, was incredibly vague. Instead, I got a portrait of myself that reflected back to me exactly what I had made: something far more autobiographic. Like a lot of music, my album drew inspiration from many places. But I never expected the album art to reveal to me what I had been trying to uncover.

This album took me seven years to complete. It began as a handful of unrelated pieces I slowly tinkered with, trying to find my so-called “voice.” I struggled to understand what I was making and what connected them to each other. Much of the music originated in film and other visual projects. I have been a full-time freelance composer for about fifteen years. Over the years, certain elements, moments, or, in some cases, entire works jumped out to me as rather personal and something I wanted to use for myself.

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Making Music, Making Art: A Conversation With Monica Stroik of Requiem

An image of the band Requiem standing in front of a projection

There’s a long history of people having one foot in the art world and one foot in the music world. The latest example of this is Monica Stroik, whose band Requiem, has a new album, titled POPulist Agendas, out this week. Think complex, blissed-out post-rock with a heady drone component. (The lineup also includes guitarist Tristan Welch and Douglas Kallmeyer on  synthesizer.) The group got together during the pandemic and has continued to make work that is, in Stroik’s words, “media and genre fluid.” I spoke with Stroik about the group’s music and her own visual art — and where these worlds converge.

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Books of the Month: August 2023

August 2023 Books

And now it’s August. If my highly unscientific surveying of release dates and similar information is any indication, this month brings with it a very surreal array of books — including a lot of anthologies, some nicely surreal fiction, and some fascinating spins on classical mythology. What follows is a look at 11 books due out in August that we’re excited about. Maybe you will be, too.

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A Pilgrim’s Pilgrimage: Talking Fact and Fiction With Kevin Maloney

Kevin Maloney reading

The last time we checked in with Kevin Maloney, it was around the time of the publication of his first book, Cult of Loretta. Now it’s 2023 and Maloney has a new novel out in the world — the fantastic, jarring, comic The Red-Headed Pilgrim. It’s both a comic riff on Maloney’s own life (kind of; see below for more on that) and a genuine tale of what it means to be a pilgrim in the present day (or recent past). It accomplishes the impressive feat of both grappling with some of the biggest issues one can grapple with and of recognizing the folly of taking oneself too seriously. In the middle of a hot summer, I reached out to Maloney to discuss his novel, the role of red in his work, and what’s next for him.

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Presenting An Excerpt From Derek M. Ballard’s “Cartoonshow”

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Derek M. Ballard’s graphic novel Cartoonshow, scheduled for release this week from Oni Press. You might know Ballard’s work from his contributions to Adventure Time or The Midnight Gospel; you might have also seen his comics at places like The Nib. In a wide-ranging interview with The Comics Journal in 2021, Ballard said that “a book with a spine, that’s something I’ve been trying to do for a long time.” In Cartoonshow, Ballard reckons with the experience of being a single father and a working artist, and the complexities that come with both.

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Edan Lepucki’s “Time’s Mouth” Affirms that Not Even Time Travel Can Make You a Perfect Mother

Edan Lepucki

Time travel usually comes with the dilemma of whether messing with the past is worth it. It assumes you’ll have the power to change what’s already happened. But what if all you could do is witness the life you used to have? This is the time-construct Edan Lepucki built for her latest novel Time’s Mouth—where the most relatable consequence is at stake: the life you miss out on when you ignore the present. 

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Notes On jaimie branch’s “FLY or DIE LIVE”


One sign of good fortune is having friends who recommend good music. They share links. They loan LPs. They call out across the store when you’re digging through the crates and they find that record you have to hear. My friends James and Steve go above and beyond. A promoter and club owner, they have set up countless shows for the musicians they most admire. They’re well versed in the jazz classics, but it’s the contemporary scene they celebrate most eagerly. They’ll tell you we live in a golden age of jazz, and they back it up. And whenever they ask, “You don’t know her/him/them?”, it’s not a judgment. It’s an invitation. There was an extra charge in their voices when they first told me about trumpet player jaimie branch.

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