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

Geometry in the Dust, an excerpt published 26/02/2016

2 -Geometry in the Dust

The role of animals in the city is, believe me, just as delicate a question: it takes diplomacy to understand and manage it, you can’t just open the gates of the royal menagerie and let the wildcats out willy-nilly, let out the jackdaws and sparrowhawks, the apes, the parrots, the carps and the camels, the salukis and the thoroughbreds which will constitute your patrimony. Distinction and a sense of harmony are in every circumstance vital to the accomplishment of our urban project: the royal architecture is a task that calls for a procurer’s tact, since it designates you as master of romances and meetings, it makes you responsible for all the rendezvous and unforeseen confrontations; it requires a matchmaker’s instinct, the gardener’s patience and, especially when it comes to the hen-houses, a decorator’s impeccable taste.

From Pierre SengesGeometry in the Dust, translated by Jacob Siefring.

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Dear Fire Extinguisher published 16/02/2016

Dear Fire Extinguisher

I will heave and pitch you from side to side, the motion of sweeping mites and grime from a horse’s flank. I will heed the wish to act impatiently and will not rest until the curling flames have vanished and the smoke and stench have gone into the void from where they had rudely belched.

New fiction by Laurence Pritchard, with art by Sarabeth Dunton.

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Square Wave published 10/02/2016

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Before this, we had the leveling of the Morlen Center, which federal and city officials had planned on using to address, first privately, then in a series of town halls, what they have come to call the background instabilities, and what I prefer to call the quiet dissonances, of the last year and a half. Three people did die in the destruction. But that seems, from what we know and have come to expect, beyond the intention. The means were primitive, effective, they could even be symbolic. Ammonium nitrate — ANFO — packed tight into minivan casings. (Fertilizer, in essence, in a doorstep detonation.) Those talks have been delayed, will have to be moved, and one expects security will have to be ratcheted up again.

An extract from Square Wave, Mark de Silva‘s brilliant debut novel.

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The Leg published 04/02/2016

The Leg

At home the leg made him happy. It made of him a happy man for an entire week. Happy because it was the leg of the only woman that had bitten into his heart. Happy because it was the only leg that didn’t resemble any other. Happy because it was unique among the legs into which time hadn’t planted its cruel teeth. Happy but happy but happy but happy as if it were truly still a leg.

Fiction by Anis Arafai , translated from Arabic to French by Lotfi Nia and in a new translation from French to English by Emma Ramadan, with Art by Sarabeth Dunton.

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Andy Warhol and Angela Carter: Blackstar 10/1/16 published 16/01/2016

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Now the stark elders have an anorexic look; there is not much in the autumn wood to make you smile but it is not yet, not quite yet, the saddest time of the year. Only, there is a haunting sense of the imminent cessation of being; the year, in turning, turns in on itself. Introspective weather, a sickroom hush. What is […] made of? Birdbones and tissue paper. spun glass and straw.

Completing 3:AM’s Blackstar Saturday, Andy Warhol and Angela Carter make an oblique pass at Blackstar.

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Franz Kafka and James Baldwin: Blackstar 10/1/16 published

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Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have.

Franz Kafka and James Baldwin take oblique passes at Blackstar.

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Simone de Beauvoir and Emil Cioran: Blackstar 10/1/16 published

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As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and aesthetic ideals? It’s all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything?

Simone de Beauvoir and Emil Cioran take oblique passes at

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de Sade and Anais Nin: Blackstar 10/1/16 published

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To hell, to hell with balance! I break glasses; I want to burn, even if I break myself. I want to live only for ecstasy. I’m neurotic, perverted, destructive, fiery, dangerous – lava, inflammable, unrestrained. I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.

de Sade and Anais Nn take oblique passes at Blackstar.

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Meeting Chris Christie published

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About ten years ago, I was a youngish attorney working for the most obscure branch of the Justice Department. We defended government agencies when they were sued for breach of contract or wrongful termination of a federal employee. For excitement, we’d do a bid protest for the Bureau of Prisons. I had really taken the job to overcome my fear of flying, knowing it involved regular travel to possibly all 50 states. But it wasn’t going well and I was making up all these excuses to avoid flights. I was worried I was getting a reputation.

New fiction by Michael Bahler.

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Inside published 14/01/2016

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Step one: abandon all value systems; disrupt continuity; achieve total ambiguity. I am alone a lot of the time here, which is preferable to how I was outside. Outside is what Alaskans call the rest of the United States, although the term is rarely used on the island of Unalaska, which is where I am, where even Alaskan turns of phrase tend to remain outside. I brought the term Outside in with me, which was my first mistake, see step one, in decontextualizing absolutely and Unmyselfing myself in Unalaska, Alaska.

New fiction by Maddy Raskulinecz, with art by Sam Vernon.

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