In the Summer of 2020, I was hospitalized for almost a month and reached out via text to a limited number of writer-friends to let them know what was going on with me. Of that small number, Josh Russell has stayed in touch with me daily, in a manner that has improved my health, deepened our friendship, and, I hope, aided each other during a period in which there have been many days where both of us wondered if there was any reason to write fiction, particularly the kind of fiction each of us have chosen to pursue.
During that time, we’ve seen too how both of us, survivors of the eighties, midwesterners who’ve lived most of our adult lives in the south, married to southerners, who’ve navigated through a number of different universities—nine have seen fit to employ the two of us—have more in common than not. And I will say it unhesitatingly: I have no other correspondent whom I look forward to hearing from more.
TOBIAS CARROLL is the author of Political Sign (Bloomsbury, 2020), Transitory (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and Reel (Rare Bird, 2016). He is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn, and writes Words Without Borders’ Watchlist column. His writing has been published by Tin House, Rolling Stone, Hazlitt, The Scofield, Bookforum, and more. He has taught writing courses for LitReactor and Catapult.
Consider the apocalyptic writ small. While some novels and stories have taken the idea of a world-ending or world-changing event as a way to use the largest possible canvas, other writers have taken the opportunity to zero in on one specific element of society. Both Laura van den Berg’s Find Me and Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation have embraced this route, which — not unlike some of J.G. Ballard’s work — offers a chilling vision of an imploding society.
Today, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from Tales the Devil Told Me, the new collection by Jen Fawkes. Sharma Shields hailed its unexpected takes on familiar narratives, saying, “By subverting our notions of notorious villains, Jen Fawkes has conjured a magic talking mirror whose words reveal our collective humanity and vulnerability.” And if that piques your interest, read on for the story “Tiny Bones.”
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
Looking for something new to read this October? There’s a lot that looks impressive this month, including a few books by writers we’ve published here in past years. There’s also formally inventive fiction, thought-provoking explorations of the state of literature, and bold debuts. What’s not to like?
JANICE LEE (she/her) is a Korean-American writer, editor, teacher, and shamanic healer. She is the author of several books, including Imagine a Death (Texas Review Press, 2021) and Separation Anxiety (CLASH Books, 2022); A roundtable, unanimous dreamers chime in, a collaborative novel co-authored with Brenda Iijima, is also forthcoming in 2022 from Meekling Press, and an essay (co-authored with Jared Woodland) is featured in the recently released 4K restoration of Sátántangó (dir. Béla Tarr) from Arbelos Films. She is Founder and Executive Editor of Entropy, Co-Publisher at Civil Coping Mechanisms, and Co-Founder of The Accomplices LLC. She currently lives in Portland, OR, where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Portland State University.
Today, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from Bradley Sides’s forthcoming collection Those Fantastic Lives.Shaun Hamill dubbed the collection “a treasure chest of dark wonder, one that brings to mind the best of Joe Hill and Ray Bradbury.” The story featured below, “The Mooneaters”, originally appeared in a slightly edited version in Rose Red Review.