Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Of Giants and Men

by Leanne Yong

You were a giant, once.

Every step resonated through my world, every word tolled like the great bells of London. You were the sky I aspired to reach, the limits I aspired to challenge. The limits, my mind whispered, that I could never hope to surpass.

For how does one swim better than a dolphin, or change the shifting of the tides, or explore the furthest reaches of space? How does one measure themselves against proportions physically impossible to achieve?

In your shadow, I found my security. You were a fortress, a reassuring presence that meant all was well. I didn’t have to worry. Knowing you went before was enough. Continue reading

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Monday, July 28, 2014

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Barrels Towards its End

by donnaleemiele

Fifth Gear

The Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters has garnered an Edgar Award (2012, The Last Policeman) and a Philip K. Dick Award (2013, Countdown City), delightful recognition in a literary world where awards often go to novels that are epic, meticulously crafted, relevant, or even stupefying, but not always fun. This month, the final installment in the series, World of Trouble, takes down the fun about a hundred notches, but concludes the story unforgettably.

The Last Policeman opens in March. Detective Hank Palace is a cop’s cop, one of those rare men who rises each morning knowing exactly why he’s here. That virtue, however, is about to become irrelevant. Maia, a massive asteroid formerly known as 2011GV(sub 1), is predicted to collide with Earth in October, with 100% certainty according to the news media. Maia will probably not strike Hank’s home of Concord, New Hampshire dead-on, but her impact is predicted to eradicate life on Earth as we know it. Continue reading

Friday, July 25, 2014

Safe

by Ceil Kessler

NoTrespassing

He was safe.

No phones would ring, no thieves could break in, no internet hackers would steal his identity.

Enclosed in his one-bedroom bungalow ten miles outside of Raleigh, Joe planned for everything.

He could still get around if need be. His handicapped-modified car allowed him to visit people and go to stores. But otherwise, he had a monthly standing order at the grocery store, and the people from social services would visit on the same day. Always the 3rd of the month.

Continue reading

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rain

by ednatru

London Rain

“Hey, do you hear that?” Betty asks. She rushes into the lounge room with a stricken look on her face.

“Hear what? That’s just the rain and wind. Nothing to be surprised about. It’s raining cats and dogs outside,” Andy replies and faces the television once again.

“No, that’s not it. It sounds like someone crying. Like a little kid sobbing right outside on our doorstep.” Continue reading

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Interpretation of an Alligator

by Julie Goldberg

Special Delivery

I wasn’t as surprised as I should have been when I read that Bobbie Baker had come home from work one afternoon to find a five-foot alligator on her doorstep. I should have been as shocked as she was when she poked it with a broomstick, and it flicked one ancient eye open to glare at her. Bobbie’s doorstep is in New Jersey, a thousand miles north of alligator territory.

“I bet I know who did this,” I said, when I glimpsed the headline in the newspaper lying on my sister’s kitchen counter.

“Nobody did anything,” my sister said. “Animal Control said it came from the river. Someone probably got a baby alligator in Florida and dumped it when it got too big. It was looking for a warm spot.”

Continue reading

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What the Pig Saw

by mattellen

Über pig.

The pig sat beside the farmer. Its beady eyes seemed to survey its surroundings.

“That’s a lean pig you’ve got there, Len,” the barman said to the farmer.

“Aye. Not sure how it got to my farm. I looked out two days ago and there it was, on my doorstep.” Len sipped at his pint. “Don’t suppose anyone’s asked about a missing pig, have they?” Continue reading

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Paradox of Sustenance

by Kit Fox

Black Cats and Witches Brooms

Nick tossed the bag into the dumpster and leaned back against the brick wall to light his cigarette. His shift was almost over, second of four for the weekend, and as he inhaled he silently cursed Jason for taking off with some tramp two months ago.  It shouldn’t be difficult to find a dishwasher, but corporate obviously felt that they could make do with a line cook doing double duty.

He was staring at the moon and pondering his options when he heard a rustling from the far side of the dumpster. He stomped around the corner of the metal bin and startled a young woman with her arm halfway in a bag of trash.

“Hey, shove off,” he snapped at her. “No diving!” Continue reading

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is What it Feels Like

by Leanne Yong

Tartan surfacing on athletics track

This is what it’s like to be ‘strong’ and ‘confident’ and ‘capable’.

I am in a runaway car hurtling down a road. The accelerator is stuck to the floor, and the brake is loose beneath my desperately pounding foot. My hands are tight around the steering wheel. It presses against my sweaty palms as I jerk it one way, then the other, praying my grip doesn’t slip and I careen into a pole, or a barrier, or heaven forbid, another car.

All I want to do is close my eyes and scream. I wish I could. But I have passengers in my car. They hold on tight, grit their teeth, and tell me what an amazing driver I am. They how glad they are that I’m behind the wheel. All I can think of is the impending crash, the high-pitched sound of tearing metal, the car and the passengers in a jumbled, screaming cacophony. Continue reading

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cycle

by Neil Fein

Hardcover book gutter and pages

How can I improve my writing? It’s a common question. There are a few things you can do:

Reading

Reading and writing is a cultural conversation. People write books to say something. Other people read those books and a few of those write books in return.

As has been pointed out many times, you should read. You want to write books and stories and contribute to the cultural conversation? That’s great! Read a variety of books in different genres, from different eras. Pay attention to what you’ve read, internalize it. This is exactly how native speakers learn the language. Continue reading

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

by donnaleemiele

Project 50 - Day #1 (Moleskine)

Meg Wolitzer is revealing herself to be a terrifically nimble, as well as prolific author. Since 2011 she’s published The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, an acclaimed middle-grade novel, and The Uncoupling and The Interestings, both for adults, following a career that’s spanned over thirty years so far. Forthcoming in September 2014 is Belzhar, Wolitzer’s foray into the young adult world, a novel that explores the boundaries of physical and emotional reality.

Why a young adult novel following the success of The Interestings? That was my one question to the author as I stepped up to have my advance copy of Belzhar signed at Book Expo this summer. “I was inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska,” she said, not offering further explanation, obviously knowing that I would now tear into Belzhar the moment I got home and not stop reading until I discovered what, exactly, she meant. I was not disappointed to find that Belzhar delves into the difficult territory of teenaged mental illness and grief. The novel is also fueled by the budding beauty of young humans finding themselves through relationships with others. Continue reading

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