:: Fiction

The Beauty of the Room published 01/03/2019

Here’s how come the title. O, it was so beautiful. The room was. I stood and swooned—and said what you just read. I swear it to you, that I stood in the doorway and said, “O, the beauty of the room.” Well, sure, I see it, don’t think I don’t see it—my saying I said O when, who knows, might it have been oh I said?

New fiction by Gordon Lish.

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Muscle (extract) published 08/02/2019

‘The beautiful thing about being paid by the word,’ said Holcomb, ‘is — well, let’s say all my money comes from my writing and all the writing I do is paid by the word. I write for the love pulps mainly. Terrible things, too coy even to have the dignity of the earnestly seedy. Some science fiction too. Now obviously you could go through my apartment, and for each of my belongings you could attach a label with the cash value of that item. I paid this much for the typewriter, this much for the desk, this much for the brandy. Each word I write I get paid a nickel. Sometimes it’s less than that, sometimes it’s even a bit more. But let’s say a nickel. If you know how many nickels I paid for something you could figure out a word that I’ve sold the necessary number of times to pay for that thing.

An extract from Alan Trotter‘s Muscle.

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Grey Tropic (excerpt) published 07/02/2019

“Who would I tell this to?”
“I don’t know…Your readers?”
“I’m not the writer of this story!” I say.
“I thought it was a first person narration! Look: it’s a first person narration. You’ve just said ‘I’m not the writer of this story,’ I say,” she says — she’s sharp.
“Yes, true. But it’s not autobiographical. I’m not the writer. Getting that wrong is a basic kind of mistake, Neva…”
“That’s what all writers say,” says Neva.“And—” a roar of laughter drowns the rest of her words. I take offence about this, because she’s absolutely right.

An extract from Fernando Sdrigotti and Martin Dean‘s Grey Tropic.

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Palomares Bomb Grrls published 16/11/2018

‘He was a thousand corroded wounds which had to be forced to live. He smelled of the smoldering bomb & compressed vertigo, a thousand wasted summers, under his skin an over-heated factory of insane traumas, strong convulsions, fever torments & no soul, no consciousness, no mind, no thought, only raw elements alternately chained & unchained – he was away from his body which he saw as a mere burst of flame, a chained monkey, something like a low cloud or smoke, some apocalyptic grin delivering him to inglorious disaster, departure & solitary death. His body was detached from his consciousness, a vampire folded in his nipples, a grey devil, a black crablice & choked & trussed lungs, & all he said was he didn’t die to come back & remake himself but only to give up life & whatever life one had &, well, because he wanted the coffin…’

An extract from Johnny Pulp‘s new novel Palomares Bomb Grrls.

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Glasshouse published 14/11/2018

Fishboy wound up peddling dope in the Projects, just like the Dealer knew he would. He’d sit out on a busted bit of playground fence listening to ratty old cassette tapes on a stoneage Sony Walkman one of the Project kids had swapped him, waiting for the business to rock up. He was the only peddler anyone knew who arrived early, like he was the one hungry for a fix & not the kids, which in a manner of speaking was true. He even had the sales pitch down to a fine art, like the product wasn’t already selling itself. Let it be known he was only in the biz on a short-term basis while he searched for renewed creativity, him being an incog rockstar on the down-&-out, or the up-&-up, depending on how he was inclined to spin it at any given time of day.

An extract from Glasshouse by Louis Armand.

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Shitstorm (excerpt) published 04/11/2018

And the presenter nods too, yes, very interesting, very unexpected, very — he nods. There is some silent nodding among everyone on the studio, and too much nodding going on, for too long, there can be such a thing as too much nodding, so they get taken off the air by the shrewd director concerned about ratings, to give way to a live transmission from St Pancras International, and everybody is happy now, everybody in the set can relax and stop playing their parts. It’s already 11:07am and the police are still working and the emergency services are still picking up pieces of flesh, bones, and bloodied items of clothing, and putting them in bags. We can’t see them picking up pieces of flesh, bones and items of clothing and putting them in bags but we can imagine it, because the reporter on the site — with her immaculate hair and a perfect fake tan matching her accent — details this for us.

An excerpt from Fernando Sdrigotti‘s Shitstorm.

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One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand: Excerpt published 03/10/2018

“Yes, my friend,” I hastily said to him. “And – you see? – my nose tilts to the right; but I know that myself; there’s no need for you to tell me; and my eyebrows? Like circumflex accents! My ears, see, one protrudes more than the other; and here, my hands, flat, aren’t they? And the joint of this little finger is twisted. And my legs? Here, this one! You think it looks just like the other, do you? Ah, no, it doesn’t! But I’m aware of this myself, and there’s no need for you to tell me. Good to see you.”

Excerpt from One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand by Luigi Pirandello.

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The Stone Mill published 12/09/2018

There is a pause in the noise, then a whirring: the building is catching its breath. I’m certain – it is reaching after speech! The walls turn into cheeks. Air stirs in the throat. There: the mill is inhaling slowly, its cartilage creaks. But it is only a resting breath; and if anything, the slight breath only distils this speechlessness.

A stone goes ‘​✱!​’

I watch pale dust clouds flickering through the entry-hatch – the rock’s ghost floats towards the light, drawn along a pathway of sun.

By Ed Cottrell.

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Blanch published 05/09/2018

A lazy type of earnestness was rampant; it was easier, actually sort of vital, to be serious about the endeavours. And furthermore these hobbies were appealing! Meaningful and delightful and with potential to better personal intrigue. When a new project took hold, joy and confirmation saturated the crowd; every comment, every idea, every constructive tidbit all glossed and fortified. Shoes on your feet would look newish. Voices grew hoarse from invigorated chatter. Giant notepads were reeled out and scrawled on, discarded motions peeled off into scrunches that blew wonkily across the ground. I collected these notes, all of them that I could. At nighttime I would place them in a polythene bag and walk them back to my portacabin.

By Caitlin Ingham.

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Notes on Beynon’s Veil published

I realise that the mycelium turn clockwise as they grow, turning the letters “y”s to “g”s and “r”s to “o”s.

By Gordon Collins.

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