1. vicemag:

    Introducing the 2014 Fiction Issue

    This summer’s fiction issue is themed around movies—”Hollywood,” Clancy Martin says. We shared an intuition that a lot of the most interesting writing being done today is being done for movies and TV. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that we watch a lot of movies. So we made a long list of our favorite movies and looked up the writers who worked on them, and we harassed them and their agents and their publicists for months. We started with a really long pitch letter, but we learned that in LA it’s proper etiquette to write three-word-long emails. We tried to romance them by inviting them to dinner at the Chateau Marmont. An interesting thing about the writers in this issue—David MametMichel GondryLouis MellisAlec SokolowJohn RomanoMerrill MarkoeKevin McEnroe—is that none of them gave a damn about what we could pay. In fact not one of them even brought it up. So maybe one lesson of this issue is, if you want to be a writer and not have to scramble for every dollar, the old maxim holds true: Go to LA. 

    But back to movies. Here’s what we like about movies: They have stories. They are entertaining. The dialogue is simple. We were watching Searching for Bobby Fisher last night at the hotel in Chennai. William H. Macy says, “It’s just a game.” He’s the father of a seven-year-old chess player talking to another father, and we know that what he means is, “I’d like to rip your head off and s**t down your throat.” Similarly, just a few nights ago we were watching The Shining, and the actor who plays the manager of the Overlook Hotel describes the murders to Jack Nicholson during the job interview. He says, “I can’t believe it happened here, but it did,” and all three of the men in the room somehow already understand that it’s going to happen again. Because of the genius of actors and directors, there’s so much you can do—as a writer—with a line of dialogue that you just can’t do in other forms of writing. But all this is covered in an interview with Robert McKee—Alec Sokolow (Toy Story) makes McKee work through his theories, and Tony Camin, possibly stoned, asks McKee the tough questions, e.g., “Wasn’t Who Framed Roger Rabbit the third in the trilogy ofChinatown?” There are also a few pages of Nabokov’s screenplay version of Lolita with notes in his hand, masterfully introduced by Blake Bailey, and a story by Thomas Gebremedhin that evokes Santa Monica like no other fiction we’ve read (and ought to be a movie).

    Anyway, we asked Steph Gillies and Debbie Smith to art-direct again, and again they knocked it out of the park, with work by Richard Phillips, Martin Parr, and others. We also have some work by traditional (i.e., non-movie), LA-based writers about LA, and a story about Lindsay Lohan by James Franco, and fiction by Emily McLaughlin and Benjamin Nugent.

    Pick up a free copy of our fiction issue anywhere VICE is distributed, but those go quickly, so subscribe to make sure you get a copy every month. You can do that here. If you’ve got yourself an iPad, download our free app for even more pictures, extended video footage, and special extras. 

  2. theparisreview:

    “In August the beggars started coming around. My mom calls them unfortunates; my dad calls them bums. They don’t have anywhere to live; they don’t get government rations. They came wandering from I don’t know where. First they came around asking for work, a night in the garage. Now they ask for food, scraps, even a glass of water. Now there’s nothing left, and still they come by. All they seem to want is the human interaction. A little attention, some eye contact, conversation. Even when you yell at them, they seem to like it.”

    Judy Budnitz, from “Dog Days”
    Photography Credit Gabrielle Lurie.


  3. "

    'Many of your stories are about women. How do you feel about being called a feminist writer?'

    ‘Naturally my stories are about women—I’m a woman. I don’t know what the term is for men who write mostly about men.’

    — Happy birthday, Alice Munro. (via thelifeguardlibrarian)

    (Source: The Atlantic, via thelifeguardlibrarian)


  4. literarymothers:


    An Open Letter to Alice Munro

    Dear Alice,

    It seems impossible that you don’t know me. What I mean is that I know your work so well—intimate, is the only way I can describe my relationship to your stories—that I feel like I know you. I consider you a kindred spirit…

    (via vintageanchorbooks)

  5. 29pco:

    Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading: "Three Sisters" by  Maria Takolander

    Download the app to read. 

  6. andotherstoriespublishing:

    Short Story Recommendations for #shortstorysunday! 

    Given that May is Short Story Month (www.shortstorymonth.com and @ShortStoryMonth), we asked a couple of our authors for their top short story recommendations.

    First up, Nowhere People author Paulo Scott recommended fellow Brazilian Amilcar Bettega Barbosa’s “Os lados do ciruclo” (“The Sides of the Circle”) - and for non-Portuguese speakers, you can read one of short stories here, translated into English by Brian Gould. 

    Next, our debut British author Niyati Keni (subscribe here to receive an advance copy of her forthcoming novel Esperanza Street) recommended not one but three individual stories that made a particular impression on her: “The Man Who Shouted Teresa” by Italo Calvino, “Dodie’s Gift” by Vanessa Gebbie from Salt Publishing, and “The Necessary Strength” by David Constantine from Comma Press (who, by the way, are doing absolutely stellar work with short fiction, especially in translation). 

    You can read the Calvino story here, translated by Tim Parks. 

    French readers can enjoy Scadi Kaiser’s translation of “The Necessary Strength” here, hosted by www.theshortstory.eu @shortstoryEU 

    More great online short story resources include the tumblr blog shortstoryroll, @shortstopsUK (shortstops.info) and @fictionwritersreview, who recently posted Charles Blackstone’s great essay, What I Talk About When I Talk About The Short Story. 

    Finally, if you’ll permit a brief blowing of our own trumpet, we’re proud to publish great fiction whatever the form, with short story collections forming an important part of both our backlist and upcoming titles

    First out was Clemens Meyer’s All The Lights, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire (read a story from the collection here), followed by Deborah Levy’s Black Vodka (shortlisted for 2012 BBC International Short Story Award). 

    Next year we’ll be bringing you SJ Naude’s The Alphabet of Birds, translated from Afrikaans by the author, and Don’t Try This At Home from Angela Readman, whose 2013 Costa Short Story Award-winning entry can be read here

    Long live the short story! 

    Long live the short story indeed!

  7. rachorme:

    I made the three short stories, that I illustrated, into a book! The stories are “What Happened In Arizona” by Annie Atkins, “My Brother Gary” by Sabrina Orah Mark and “It’s Nice When Someone Is Excited to Hear From You” by Brian Baise. My last ever project for my degree!

  8. mastersreview:

    Flash Fiction: A Discussion Between Editors


    Flash fiction is one of my favorite forms and I think it’s because in spite of how short the story is, an entire world unfolds. On an emotional level, I’ve felt just as much impact by flash as I have entire novels. I remember one in particular, a story by Neil Gaiman (who I mention here proudly as he is a writer who spans so many genres) titled, “Nicholas Was…” This piece is only 100 words but I remember being so moved by the power and imagination behind it. I understood so much in such a short space. This got me thinking about how flash is actually quite broad, as humorous as it may sound for fiction that is so short. To some, it is any piece under 300 words and to others it can be much longer, 1000 words or more. At The Masters Review, we don’t have a strict word count, but we do have a strong history of publishing what I would consider flash fiction. When do you think a story stops being flash? And do you have any favorites that really pushed you to explore/appreciate this genre?


    I agree that flash fiction holds a particular intensity. The best flash stories are complete, concentrated worlds that point to complexities outside of themselves. Broadly, I tend to think of flash as a story of 1,000 words or fewer. And there are all these subsets, like nano fiction, which is 300 words or less, or hint fiction, which is 25 words or less. As you say: I know flash when I see it. The writer who first sparked my interest in the genre is Lydia Davis, which is interesting because her work is not, as far as I know, overtly marketed as “flash” fiction. Her story “The Cedar Trees,” a fable-like tale about the women of a town turning into trees, has a strange cadence that has never quite left me. A new favorite writer of mine is Ashley Farmer, whose stories all communicate a feeling, a particular state of mind, with that economy of language that makes flash so powerful.

    These examples illustrate what I love most about flash fiction: its extreme variety in terms of form. Every piece of flash invents a new form for itself; it decides how it will take you from point A to point B, and then it fulfills that promise. Of course, this can be true of all kinds of fiction, but I see a lot more variety in these very short stories. In flash, you can easily have a story that is all questions (like Donald Barthelme’s “Concerning The Bodyguard,” which actually inspired your “Concerning the Housewife”), that is made up of (surreal) dialogue (like “How The Water Feels to The Fishes,” by Dave Eggers), or that is a meditation on a single, cooked fish (“The Fish,” Lydia Davis). It’s so interesting how flash can often focus on a single fictional element: it is all plot, all setting, all interiority — but, more often than not, it tells a full story. Do you feel that, in looking at submissions and in your own writing, there is a certain freedom that comes with this shorter form? Are there any flash stories in particular whose forms have surprised you?

    Read the rest of the discussion at The Masters Review!