Electric Literature no. 3 (Winter 2010)

"Electric Literature" is now three quarters of the way to being a bona fide quarterly publication, and is available “in every viable medium: paperback, Kindle, iPhone, audiobook, and eBook.”

Aimee Bender’s “The Red Ribbon” is about a woman who starts charging for sex and then for other things. An exploration of the mysteries of commodification... Jason Sommer at Bark blogs that he "finished the story thinking about illusion and entitlement and emptiness.”

Matt Sumell’s “Little Things” contains a splattering of dark events. Of the technique of this story, John Matthew Fox at BookFox comments, “By surrounding the story of the mother's death with the violent, odd, and melancholy ephemera heard on the news or happened to friends, the normally isolated event of death is seen with a wide-angle perspective, a single star in a constellation of pain.”

Rick Moody’s “Some Contemporary Characters” was first published in the form of tweets, “as a three-day experiment in micro-serialization.” I was originally somewhat skeptical about how this would work out -- but it proved to be the story from this issue that got deepest under my skin. The challenge here was to design a story that would be most effectively told as a series of tweets – Moody successfully rises to this challenge, describing a date/hookup from alternating points of view.

Patrick deWitt’s “Reed & Dinnerstein Moving” is about two guys starting a moving company -- a funny, destabilizing story that made me feel we live in a world of enigma and violence, where all boundaries are constantly shifting.

Jenny Offill’s “The Tunnel” is a slightly quieter and more traditional story, perhaps the issue's most lifelike. A man visits his dying ex-wife in hospital, frequently running into one of her friends with whom he has a tense relationship. His current significant other is resentful about all this. It snows tentatively, on and off. According to our emergent typology of short stories, "The Tunnel" is as much a house as a worm: stop me if I'm being too idiosyncratic here. Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote a story called “The Tunnel” too, but then by now we must be running out of original one-word or two-word titles for short stories -- we ought to set up some kind of title registry...

Here’s a link to my post about the previous issue of Electric Literature.

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