“On Top of the World,” by Len Kuntz
Appeared in Wigleaf, January 2018
A charming fantasy. I like the tension between the first two lines and what follows. That seems like a dumb obvious thing to say, but it’s true.
“Half Pipe,” by Zoe Whittall
Appeared in Hazlitt, July 21st, 2017, with some illustrations by Vicki Nerino
This is really good stuff. Spoilers follow. I felt like the ending was too abrupt. It’s been set up mechanically—all the elements are in place for this thing to happen—but it doesn’t feel justified by the story. The story shouldn’t end with a bang, it should end with Morgan and the changes she’s undergone. (It also occurs to me that this ending could be a punishment for Tyler’s crimes. Maybe Morgan’s barely expressed anger is coming out through her uncle. That doesn’t seem quite right though.)
“The 45th President of the United States and I Went to a Petting Zoo,” by Grant Gerald Miller
Appeared in (b)OINK, October 13th, 2017
A bizarre and charming fantasy. I like the stilted repetition of “the 45th President” and its refusal to actually say the guy’s name.
“The 45th President slowly mouthed the world animal. Animals, I said. They’re called animals. You’re supposed to pet them.”
Edited to add: It has been confirmed that the president can, in fact, identify several different animals.
“One-Way Family,” by Claire Polders
Appeared in (b)OINK, December 12th, 2017
I like this story. The tragedy of the protagonist finding her (?) way to loving her sister only when it’s too late.
“Happiness, he said, is a pause between misery and regret.”
“After Life,” by Jen Michalski
Appeared on LitMag‘s blog, April 10th, 2017
The emptiness of the girlfriend’s characterization is striking and well done: you can see she’s a real person, but like the main character, you can’t see who she really is. Is it possible the dreams she recounted were, in fact, all she ever dreamed? Did she sense something missing inside herself?
Edited to add: This casting-about for answers is familiar to anyone who’s lost someone to suicide.
“My Dear You,” by Rachel Khong
Appeared in Tin House, May 31st, 2017, online here
A lovely, slightly loopy story. (Spoilers follow.) I like the depiction of memory as fluid, the way the main character re-finds her lost love and re-loses him, the way their temporary relationship remains important (“irreplaceable”).