lookihaveopinions

Tag: 1990s

Short story: “A Visit”

“A Visit,” by Steven Millhauser

Appeared in the New Yorker, August 25th, 1997 (online for subscribers); collected in The Knife-Thrower (1998); read by Richard Powers for the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, January 3rd, 2017

Maybe 4,000 words? Not long

This story feels sad to me—the failure of the narrator to make a meaningful connection with his old friend and his friend’s new wife. It occurs to me that this story could be a parable for a prejudiced person’s reaction to an interracial marriage, or a same-sex marriage, or perhaps a marriage to a transgender person or a severely handicapped person by someone who’s neither: How grotesque this is, how wrong! Yet the narrator does get an intimation of a real and healthy marriage, a thing he’s never achieved himself.

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More good thoughts about singular they

“My use of their is socially motivated and, if you like, politically correct: a deliberate response to the socially and politically significant banning of our genderless pronoun by language legislators enforcing the notion that the male sex is the only one that counts. I consistently break a rule I consider to be not only fake but pernicious. I know what I’m doing and why.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin in Steering the Craft (found here)

This makes me feel better

“Being creepy is a part of human nature, and learning to recognize and put boundaries on our own creepiness is something curricular Sex Ed should teach us, but never will.”

—Helena Fitzgerald in this great essay about growing up (found via this)

Crime and mystery fiction publication: Crimewave

Crimewave, an all-fiction magazine printed twice a year by TTA Press, also available in an electronic edition; unfortunately, it appears, as Christopher Fielden suggests, it’s no longer being published—perhaps it’s just been on hiatus
1999 to 2013?
Edited by Andy Cox?
Subscribe here for £36.00 ($49.43 U.S.) per four issues, at least in theory
Apparently didn’t pay writers
Not sure of the typefaces they used
In issue 12, the number of words per line averages 10.6875, and there are 35 lines per page, so per full page, that comes to 374.0625 words

The original editor, Mat Coward, says, “We don’t do cosy, we don’t do hardboiled, we don’t do noir. What we do is something entirely different to anything you’ve ever read before.” That’s not quite true. What Crimewave does—used to do—is literary fiction, or quasi-literary fiction, about crime. And it was pretty impressive.

Standouts:

What a Wigleaf is

From an interview with the editor of Wigleaf in The Review Review:

Michael Fischer: Okay, I’ve always wanted to ask you this—at the risk of sounding like an idiot: what’s a “Wigleaf”? What’s the story behind the journal’s name?

Scott Garson: Did you ever see the SNL commercial parody for the conservative investment firm that didn’t get on the internet quickly enough and so was stuck asking people to visit it on the only domain it could eventually secure, http://www.clownpenis.fart? That bit aired in 1999. Wigleaf didn’t launch until early ’08, so you can imagine how much worse things were. And I really wanted a dot-com! So I got in the habit of trying out sounds in my head, just nonsense constructions. At first, I’d usually be like, That doesn’t sound like anything—definitely not our mag. But once I got used to “Wigleaf,” I could imagine other people getting used to it, too. I could imagine it sounding fairly natural.

Notes from today

I just realized the song “Too Close” (1997), by R&B trio Next, is about getting an erection.

Short story: “Mall School”

“Mall School,” by Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Appeared in Terraform, September 7th, 2016

2,163 words

A day in the life of a kind of retrofuture world, a future as imagined by the 1990s. I like it.

I spent a good portion of this story waiting to see if the NeoHumanPet was going to get its Sparkle Mood Potion. Spoiler: It didn’t.

Novelette: “Isis in Darkness”

“Isis in Darkness,” by Margaret Atwood

Appeared in Granta 31: The General, April 26th, 1990 (online here); collected in Wilderness Tips, published in 1991 by McClelland & Stewart

8,056 words

A beautiful story. Bleak, but with a note of hope at the end, the hope that at least Richard can piece together some semblance of the thing he loved so much, hope in the very fact that amid the mess he’s made of his life, he can still love at all.

Here’s a good post about it.

Essay: “Face the Music”

“Face the Music: My Improbable Trip to Saturn (or Close Enough) with Sun Ra,” by Michael Lowenthal

Ploughshares Solo 5.1, for sale here and as part of an omnibus edited by Ladette Randolph, 2017

Must be close to 10,000 words, but not sure

A nonfiction essay that manages to have the shape and power of fiction.

Flash fiction story: “Butcher Paper”

“Butcher Paper,” by Steve Rasnic Tem

Appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 1999, as part of the short story cycle “Tricks & Treats: One Night on Halloween Street”; read for Pseudopod 566, October 27th, 2017, by Setsu Uzume

Less than 500 words

A quietly incisive piece about real-life horror.