Tag Archives | Fiction

Literary Fiction is the Neo-Con Genre

a human face

Humans have a face.

It is odd to me how conventional thought and identity are represented in fiction. Most literary magazines and most literary fiction generally present a highly conventional sense of identity on the part of the humans that are in the stories. These humans stream-of-thought sounds similar (to us). The way they interact with the world is similar (to us). Even the larger structures such as plot assume certain motivations and actions (that we can relate to). As readers we expect these conventions to be in place.

Anyone who reads I suspect is either fitting their encounter with actual people into these conventional molds, or the are, as I am, happily confused by the strangeness of other people. In my case fiction, even naturalistic fiction, is as realistic as high-fantasy. The sympathetic narrator is as alien to me as an elf. Continue Reading →

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Where Do Ideas Come From? at Plumb Blog

I posted a short essay in response to two questions that always  seems to be asked of fiction writers: “What percentage of your work is fiction?” (100% — it’s fiction) and “Where do your ideas come?” from:

The phrase, “Don’t get any ideas,” is of course, impractical. When this is said to me, I already have many ideas and just the breath issuing the phrase gives me more ideas. “Don’t think of an elephant,” gives you some ideas about elephants. The phrase “don’t get any ideas about elephants,” is probably too filthy to contemplate.

Click here to read the entire thing at Plumb Blog.

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MonkeyBicycle8 – Order Now and Receive a Free Issue

My story, “Hunger,” will appear in the new issue of MonkeyBicycle. This from the good folks at MonkeyBicycle:

Order before March 15th and get a free back issue! Just list the one you want (either four, five, six, or seven) in the Note to Seller section at check-out and we’ll make sure it’s included with your Monkeybicycle8 order.

Click here to order and receive your free back issue.

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My Name’s Roy at Necessary Fiction

Part one of the eleven stories in The Remains of River Names, a novel in linked stories. The book will appear this month on Necessary Fiction.

Before I shake my older brother Milton awake, I eat all the food—a hard dinner roll and a teaspoon of peanut butter scraped from the bottom of the Adams jar. I set the empty jar quietly in the trash so I won’t wake Milton. He grunts in his sleep and I stop my loud chewing. If he knows that I’m eating the last of the food, he’ll seriously beat my butt.
for the full story

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Writer-In-Residence at So Now | Necessary Fiction

So New | Necessary Fiction

August Writer in Residence at Necessary Fiction

I’m looking forward to posting a work of fiction every day in August as the Necessary Fiction writer-in-residence, following the really excellent work of William Walsh (July) and Roxane Gay (June).

I think I’ve taken a slightly different tack. I wish I could deal with the pressure of just writing a piece a day and posting it. I write almost every day, but I’m not under any illusions that my daily production is anything except something to collect and refine and possibly turn into something somewhat interesting at some point after a lot of work. My daily production is probably no more or less interesting than any monologue you can hear at the back of a city bus. Instead, I plan on running essentially six different series through the month that may lead to a month’s time a kind of buckshot approach to some of my current preoccupations with the short story

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Short Story in TRNSFR Magazine – The League of Bears

I’ve been meaning to post that my two copies of TRNSFR Magazine, featuring two alternate covers in a kind of perfect bound matchbook-style wrap around cover arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. The magazine includes a ton of great work by the likes of Jac Jemc, Nate Pritts, AD Jameson, Heather Momyer, Cris Mazza, K. Silem Mohammad, Jennifer L. Knox, Marc Olmstead, Shya Scanlon, Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert, Keith Higginbotham, David Ehren-stein, and Paul Maliszewski. They published my story “The League of Bears,” which I wrote for the first Opium Magazine Lit Death Match in Seattle, where I was defeated by Ryan Boudinot. Boudinot was in turn defeated by Matthew Simmons. I believe TRNSFR is accepting submission for issue three right this minute. My story begins this way:

My wife bloomed in her late thirties. She had always been pretty, but pretty in a cute kind of way. Her inner geek trumped any fashion sense. When our old Mac PowerBook, which was known for running way too hot, hot enough to leave second degree burns, cooked its hard drive, she was the one who unscrewed the lid, and cut open the protective foil with an Exact-o knife to swap the drive. Late in the summer of her 37th year, she experienced a transformation. She lost a bit of weight. She focused her geeky energy on vintage dresses. She began a regime of mild exercise and became sexy, kind of as a hobby.

I, on the other hand, began my rapid decline into middle age. I had expected this based on the physical appearance of my uncles. They were short, bald, fat hermits who lived frustrated lives of randy irritability.

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Review of How I Came West and Why I Stayed by Alison Baker



New review for “Rediscovered Reading” at Fictionaut Blog, How I Came West and Why I Stayed by Alison Baker.

The idea of the tall tale is to make the listener believe what they are hearing and then at some point to break the frame and say something like “Gotcha.” Although I suppose in a masterly tall tale, the author or storyteller may never let you know. Although they have a lot in common with myths, tale tales I think have less to do with allegories and more to do with surface of the story and the confusion of reality.

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Forecast by Shy Scanlon: Serial Web Publication is Live



The first chapter of Shya Scanlon’s novel Forecast has been posted at Juked. Forecast is being serialized semiweekly across 42 web sites. For a full list of participants and links to live chapters, visit www.shyascanlon.com/forecast. I will be posting an installment on August 27th.

About the novel, Brian Evenson (Altman’s Tongue) said, “In Forecast, Scanlon invokes an absurd not-too-distant future that nonetheless seems altogether too believable and real. Tipping its hat to authors like Stacey Levine, China Miéville and Jonathan Lethem, Scanlon’s novel is part SF, part noir, part road narrative and part love story. Whether speaking about an effete talking dog, an underground edu-musement park or the convoluted heartbreak of a man deep in love with the woman he’s been trained to watch, Shya Scanlon’s is a new and vital voice in fabulist fiction.”

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“Half” by Claudia Smith

I think people should read this story. If you haven’t it is here.

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Final State Press has just released my new collection of stories

Final State Press has just released my new book, The End is the Beginning, a collection of stories I’ve been writing since 1998. This is the first book I’ve published with Final State, but they plan on releasing a novel next year, The Double E, and hopefully more books after that. I wrote many of the stories for reading series and events around the Pacific Northwest, including the Brontesaurus, a day long celebration of the Brontes at Richard Hugo House, a writing resource center in Seattle, back when Rebecca Brown was the Writer in Residence there. Although it was, one of the first I wrote in this collection; it wasn’t published until last year in The Clackamas Literary Review. Most of the stories are about the end of the world, death destruction, and other light subjects. I wrote one story, called “Caffeinism” after I suffered a serious reaction to an overdose of caffeine. I wrote another about the day I was activated for the first Gulf War. And another is about the end of reading. Stories have been in mags such as Seattle Magazine, First Intensity, The Raven Chronicles, and The Wandering Hermit Review, and Web sites such as The Mississippi Review (Web), Smokelong, Slouch, Semantikon, and The Steel City Review.

You can purchase the book at Amazon, Powells, or Lulu.com (where you can get it either as paper or PDF). If you are interested in reviewing the book, email me at matt(dot)briggs(at)gmail.com.

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