:: Fiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

A Penny published 06/08/2016


On lonely dark cold Prague winter days all one can do is drink heavily and contemplate their minuscule existence. But my grief was deeper. Two months out of a job, I was beginning to run out of options. My tiny shack of an apartment was falling apart and I didn’t have enough money to pay for electricity or gas next month. With tears fueled by cheap white Australian Bush and self-pity, I suddenly glanced over at the rough dirty-grey brochure I got at the supermarket yesterday, having spent the last 150 crowns on booze and bread, in true Czech starving artist fashion.

New fiction by Katya Luca.

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Fantômas Takes Sutton published 05/07/2016


‘I might boycott boy fictions like Fantômas. Already I have the appearance of a boy cusping the age of consent (from afar). I pass as a boy or a young man in Sutton. Only yesterday I accessorised my rolled up carrot-leg type of trousers with orange socks. I came in for suburban abuse (verbal, poof). Despite a recent resurgence or renaissance of all things butch, I am transgendered. I descend from a pretty genealogy.’

New fiction by Isabel Waidner.

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Kamala Markandaya and Mary Webb: Brexit Ghosts 4 published 26/06/2016


Fear, constant companion of the peasant. Hunger, ever at hand to jog his elbow should he relax. Despair, ready to engulf him should he falter. Fear; fear of the dark future; fear of the sharpness of hunger; fear of the blackness of death. Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid, but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat.

Kamala Markandaya and Mary Webb obliquely discuss Brexit.

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W.E.B. Du Bois and Saadat Hasan Manto: Brexit Ghosts 3 published


A resistless feeling of depression falls slowly upon us, despite the gaudy sunshine and the green cotton-fields. These curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly. They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature. And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone. They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency.

W.E.B. Du Bois and Saadat Hasan Manto make oblique comments about Brexit.

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George Eliot and Voltaire: Brexit Ghosts 2. published 25/06/2016


George Eliot: How could a man be satisfied with a decision between such alternatives and under such circumstances? No more than he can be satisfied with his hat, which he’s chosen from among such shapes as the resources of the age offer him, wearing it at best with a resignation which is chiefly supported by comparison.

Voltaire: I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.

George Eliot and Voltaire make oblique comments about Brexit.

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Ernest Gellner and Edward Said : Brexit Ghosts 1 published


Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever.

Ernest Gellner and Edward Said whisper oblique thoughts on Brexit.

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What We’re Teaching our Sons (nos. 18-23) published 06/06/2016

We’re teaching our sons about philosophy.

We’re discussing logic, metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics. We’re covering philosophical methods of inquiry, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind. We’re asking our sons to consider “if there is something that it is like to be a particular thing”.

We’re on a boat trip up a Norwegian fjord and our sons are gathered on deck to listen to our lecture series. The spectacular mountains slide by as we talk about the sublime. The steel deck is wet from the recent rain.

Our sons are doing their best to feign interest, we have to give them that. They’re disappointed that there are no whales or polar bears to look at.

We’re trying to remember which famous philosopher lived in a hut up a Norwegian fjord.

By Owen Booth.

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Fleet published 01/05/2016


Malis follows the course of the stream that once ran along Flask Walk, casting a troubled glance at the Wells and Campden Baths and Wash-Houses to her left, before continuing past Burgh House, to move through a street plan defined by the imprint of vanished spas. Tall, with heavy dreads hanging down over a dress sewn with fragments of broken mirror, she crosses the road at the intersection of Christchurch Hill and Well Walk, to enter the pub she still thinks of as the Green Man.

Paul Holman‘s hybrid poetic/psychogeographic drift from Hampstead to Camden, Fleet.

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Paris 13/11: Zorn and Genet published 20/03/2016


When a man invents an image that he wants to propagate, that he may even want to substitute for himself, he starts by experimenting, making mistakes, sketching out freaks and other non-viable monsters that he has to tear up unless they disintegrate of their own accord. But the operative image is the one that’s left after the person dies or withdraws from the world, as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Saladin, Saint-Just and so on. They succeeded in projecting an image around themselves and into the future. It doesn’t matter whether or not the image corresponds to what they were really like: they managed to wrest a powerful image from that reality.

Culled lines from Fritz Zorn and Jean Genet in response to hearing Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam had admitted he wanted to blow himself up but then changed his mind.

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Paris 13/11: Kierkegaard and Akhmatova published


Do it or don’t do it — you will regret both. A revolutionary but passionless and reflecting age changes the manifestation of power into a dialectical sleight-of-hand, letting everything remain but slyly defrauding it of its meaning; it culminates, instead of in an uprising, in the exhaustion of the inner reality of the relationships, in a reflecting tension that nevertheless lets everything remain; and it has transformed the whole of existence into an equivocation.

Culled lines from Kierkegaard and Akhmatova in response to hearing that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam had admitted he wanted to blow himself up but then changed his mind.

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