AT A TIME of year when many of us are facing winter’s fury or at least cold gray skies trudging through bleak landscapes and simultaneously being bombarded with the cultural family social pressures bad music of the Christmas holidays, what could be more escapist than love in Naples?
Our new feature story aims toward exactly that, “The Date” by Robert Steward.
We hope you enjoy it!
I looked at her, at the way her mouth went, and the curve of her cheekbones, at her bluey-green eyes, the flecks of amber round her pupils, and at the way her hair fell over her eyes.
She caught me looking at her, and I felt something in the air between us, something pure, intense; it made me shiver inside.
(Art: “Eruption of Vesuvius” by Alessandro Sanquirico.)
Colder weather is upon us! Sooner than anyone expected. Which means it’s a good time for reading. At New Pop Lit we have several options for the discriminating reader.
FIRST is our new feature story, “Pretty Women Never Sit Next to Me on Airplanes” by Jason Feingold, a much-published short story writer making his first appearance with us. As its title indicates, it’s a quick tale about traveling. As so many of you will be traveling somewhere in the coming weeks, with the holidays nearly upon us, we believe you’ll find the story timely.
Age fourteen was my last good year. I’d peaked, and I never realized it until about fifteen minutes ago, because fifteen minutes ago is when I realized I’ll never have a renaissance.
WE ALSO offer a review of a controversial new book by Dana Schwartz, The White Man’s Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon. Does the book live up to the controversy?
FINALLY, we have at our NPL News blog (which presents the latest literary news, uncensored) an editorial about this past week’s layoffs at Bustle magazine. The editorial is bold. Don’t be thrown by it. As an upstart literary project with large ambitions, confidence in our project is the first requirement.
(Art by Heinrich Campendonk.)
WITH Halloween upon us– leaves changing color, weather becoming chilly– do our dreams change? Do they fill with dreads and shadows, specters from other worlds? Are they frighteningly real– more real than reality itself?
For this Halloween we have a story which explores these notions, about a boy, and his parents, and a house. . . .
The story by Joel Allegretti is “The Obb.”
It flapped its arms like a crow’s wings. Alex screamed, and it was gone. He heard footsteps pounding through the hall. His mother flipped the wall switch. The sudden light shocked his eyes.
NOTE: We also have recorded poetry from Joel Allegretti at our ongoing Open Mic feature, with another Allegretti audio poem soon to follow.
(Art: “Skeleton Stopping the Masks” by James Ensor; “Head of a Skeleton” by Vincent van Gogh.)
BEST NEW WRITERS DEPARTMENT
ONE of the premises of the New Pop Lit project is that a pool of overlooked talent exists in this world, this society. Overlooked for a variety of reasons– lack of connections, or correctness, or proper credentials. Or simply because of an unwillingness to conform to dictates of the institutional mob, whether those dictates be ideological or aesthetic.
OUR mission is to showcase such writers. One of the best of them without question is Brian Eckert. To come to that conclusion all one need do is read his writing– consistently of high quality. As with this excerpt from his short novel, Into the Vortex. A story about a journalist investigating the West who discovers a canyon seemingly beyond time and space.
In spite of my skepticism I began seeing signs of architecture on the rock. I made out an ornate window framed in metallic blue with a holographic patina. I also saw a hieroglyphic-like depiction of what appeared to be a flying saucer. But as I looked closer I saw only rock.
(Main painting: watercolor copy by Nina Degaris Davies of an Egyptian wall painting )
CUTTING EDGE OF THE CUTTING EDGE
We live in dystopian times. Our mad society is on the verge of major technological upheavals. A host of new writers are caught up in the current sense of frantic energy– writing or philosophizing clamorously in attempts to capture that energy before it consumes everything.
As often as not this results in politics as performance. Ideas as style.
Case in point: the multifaceted career of Transhumanist Party candidate Rachel Haywire. From her campaign website:
This includes her radical political journey from the far left to the dissident right to beyond the center, her artistic and bohemian upbringing, her visionary transhumanist ideas, and her plans to defeat Trump using a pirate spaceship.
Rachel Haywire is a cultural futurist, industrial musician, model, designer– and writer, with a distinctive neopop style that combines artistic clarity with dystopian edge, as featured in her book/manifesto called The New Art Right.
We’re fortunate to present an excerpt from that book, “The Kingdom.” Fitting for New Pop Lit to follow a nonfiction essay by a Hollywood producer with fiction by a Presidential candidate. Part of our determination to take an active part in popular culture. Wherever that takes us.
The future is NOW.
When she blew it all up I stood there in awe, wondering if we could ever get back to The Kingdom. Pixels burning like the flesh of the old human race, a new era was about to begin. Each wire collapsing, the holocaust of machines did not ask us to just “click here” any longer.
(Art: “The City Rises” by Umberto Boccioni; “Flora” by Gerardo Dottori.)
WHAT’S Pop-Lit Fiction?
What we call Pop-Lit Fiction is fiction written with perfect clarity that at the same time “pops” with color and tangible life– making for an enjoyable reading experience. A story whose well-structured form provides a feeling of harmony. An artistic sense of unity and completeness.
No easy feat– but accomplished in our new feature story, “Spoiler Alert” by young Philippine writer Angelo Lorenzo. Structure using simple plot which results in surprising emotion. Tangible details. Manifest humanity.
Read it and see if you agree.
But here she is beside you, and you can’t help but be grateful. Now, the screen shows
the action sequence. You see the superheroes in iron suits, capes and tight fitting spandex
dueling against an armored purple alien and his massive army on a red planet. You wonder if each thundering blast comes from the screen, or from the fast-paced beating in your chest amplified by the theater’s Dolby Digital surround sound system.
(Art: “Man and Woman” by Fernand Leger.)
IN THE MIDDLE of summer everyone seems to be traveling or escaping, from the heat of jobs or the stagnation of their lives. In the middle of summer, we like to sometimes present short summer fiction perfect for reading about exotic locales where you might like to travel to, or at least imagine being there.
Today we have a well-written short story by talented writer Zachary H. Loewenstein, “Jerusalem,” which in concise words captures the bustle and heat of the well-traveled city– as if he were creating a painting instead of a story. We think you’ll enjoy it.
“It was just right about there.” The entirely bald and unlicensed tour guide pointed with his swollen index finger. His brain was cooking in the heat and he shouted. He clapped his hands and insisted, “Ok! Everybody! It’s time to move to the market! Everybody!”
(Art: “House in the Garden 1908” by Pablo Picasso.)
NEW FEATURED FICTION
Where do you stand on the future of fiction? Is there any longer a place for it in the chaotic-and-crazed loud culture of now? For us, the answer is “Yes!”– if the best new writers are brought to the forefront.
“The Uncertainty” by Alexander Blum isn’t a “pop” short story, but it is a very good story– looking at happenings in today’s university, at what’s happened to the world of ideas. It’s also about personality and about life. We present the story as proof we’re looking for every kind of talented writer– as we strive to be part of a renewal of the literary art.
Blum is one of a cadre of new writers breaking onto the literary scene whose focus is intelligence, ideas, and integrity. The kind of artistic and intellectual integrity the culture needs. Of that, we’re certain.
She had one of those black Russian hats on, the fold-up ones, and she smiled and hugged Knice and shook my hand and settled into the seat at the little table in Knice’s state-run apartment, handed to him along with his job, with warm curry in the microwave.
While you’re here, be sure to look in at the blog of ours covering the ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament, which has been listing “The Most Charismatic American Writers.” Here’s a recent post. Who would you choose?
(Art: “La Chasse” by Albert Gleizes; “Beautiful Betty” by Albert Lynch.)
The wait is over. Anticipation ends. The moment has arrived. The new story has pulled up outside. We present an attempt at–
THE 3–D SHORT STORY
Keep in mind that this modest tale, set in Detroit and environs, is an experiment. An early modernist-pop prototype. Various angles are tried. Switching of viewpoint. Not every one of the angles may work.
Also remember it’s fiction– a work of the imagination. A story. These aren’t real people.
The story is “Vodka Friday Night.”
A foray into the literary unknown. More attempts to enter uncharted literary territory will be made. Soon.
When Stacey walked through parties or clubs, whether downtown Detroit or in her home town, she carried herself with aloofness which some mistook for conceit and others saw as mystery. She floated like a princess, or an empress, at least a celebrity, and everybody believed it.
To read arguments for why the literary art needs to change, go to our NPL News blog.
ON OTHER FRONTS, the All-Time American Writers Tournament resumes shortly at one of our other blogs with a look at “American Literature’s Most Charismatic Writers.” Don’t miss it!
(Art: “The Arrival” by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.)
AS WE WAIT to introduce to the world in one month the innovation we call the 3–D Short Story, we have a couple fictional works to present first. (As well as several new poems.) The two fictional works are different from the norm– in keeping with our 2019 mission to present new experiences to New Pop Lit readers.
The first of the two stories, by talented story writer Sophie Kearing, is “This Is.” We hope you enjoy it.
Every time she thinks about me, the skeletal digits of an invisible hand squeeze all the comfort from me like juice from a lemon. The hand keeps me firmly planted in the darkness, unable to reach any of the good feelings.
ALSO, we have a new post at our NPL News blog about the aforementioned 3–D Story– and whether critics of all varieties will be ready for it. Is literary change upon us? Maybe!
(Public domain art c/o stockfreeimages.com.)