Edgy Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

TODAY we feature tough new fiction looking at the punk rock scene in New York City during a period when the monster metropolis itself was uber-tough– “Raga Punk Rock” by E.H. Davis.

The author describes the story as “a portrait of a recognizable character from the 70’s punk rock scene in New York City. My intention was to explore the Zeitgeist of angst that drove the youth of that period to a slow slide into alienation and suicide.”

Suffice it to say it’s an excellent story, with a New York vibe– we both loved it, including the ending. You’ll want to read it.

Shivering in a thin, parachute-silk jacket, collar up, red beret atop his curly mane, twenty-five-year-old Angelo streaked south on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, swerving around the puddles in his high lace-up boots, eyes downcast, alert for anything of value on the abandoned streets.

George_Bellows_-_New_York (1)****

SPEAKING OF FICTION, work in the labs at New Pop Lit Headquarters continues on the quixotic project we’re calling the 3D short story.  For information on what that’s about, see this post at our New Pop Lit News blog, or this one.
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(Art: “The Knife Grinder” by Kazimir Malevich; “New York” by George Bellows.)

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New Pop Lit Goes International

book review, Pop Lit Fiction

WE EXPECT New Pop Lit to eventually be a worldwide phenomenon, so we’re not averse to spotlighting writers from around the world. We’ve published or presented writers from UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, Malta, Italy, Belarus, Spain, Israel, Switzerland– and we’ve had readers on every continent, with the possible exception of Antarctica.

Today we present new fiction, “The Major,”  by renowned Russian author Vladimir Kozlov, translated by Andrea Gregovich. Worth reading for its realism but also to see what’s happening in other literary scenes.

“Well, I have evidence not only that you’ve seen it before, but that you were directly involved in its creation. Do you know what this is called?

“A comic book, I guess.”

“It’s called ‘spreading deliberately false fabrications to defame the Soviet state and social order.’ Article seventy-two of the Criminal Code for the BSSR. I can also pull up Article 58-10: ‘Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.’”
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BUT, at the same time we also present a New Pop Lit review of Mr. Kozlov’s entire new short story collection, 1987 and Other Stories, of which “The Major” is part.

ONLY at New Pop Lit. Always at the literary forefront.
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(Painting: “Blue Crest” by Wassily Kandinsky.)

New Fiction 2019

flash fiction, Pop Lit Fiction

WE LOOK for new writers with style and talent. Intelligence and verve. Personality and insight.

ONE WRITER with those qualities in multiples is Meeah Williams, who graces us with a short tale, “The Nose That Ate Cleveland.” This short piece is so good we took time out from our own literary experiments to feature it.

Read it!

I’ve been a lot of things to a lot of guys, but never a muse. It sounds so romantic but let me tell you, it’s not. The way they portray it in poems and stories, you do a lot of traipsing around from room to room, barefoot, in long flowing white gowns, your hair wreathed in flowers. In real life, it’s nothing of the sort.
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(Painting: “The Poor Fool” by Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso.)

Form and the Short Story

Pop Lit Fiction

CRAFTING STORIES

In the new year we will begin a project aimed at revamping the short story. A feat which won’t happen overnight and which will consist of much focus on how stories are created and constructed. We’re based in metro Detroit and view the short story the way an automotive engineer looks at a car.

THE QUESTION: How can stories be improved? Changed? Rearranged?

FORM
A large part of the creation of any art is form. The routes taken of theme and plot, be it linear, circular, or other. Where does the tale begin? At which destination does the reader eventually arrive? What conclusion is drawn, revelation made, emotions aroused? When examining the short story, as a reader, writer, or critic, (or editor!) there’s much to think about.

TODAY we present as our feature a brilliant tale set amid the glamorous-but-deadly streets of historic Granada in Spain. A story which is also a model of form. “Ballad of the Virgin Pain” by Justin Fenech.

AN APT way we believe to wrap up our features of 2018– setting the stage (we hope) for an array of glamorous and exciting presentations to come.

When he went back inside the instruments of torture, big and small, seemed to take on a life of their own; the room swirled violently around him, the instruments seemed to be moving, no, he was moving, he caught glimpses of the rack, the torture chair, the executioner’s black hood, the skeleton broken on the wheel. . . .

Joaquín_Sorolla_Alhambra,_hall of the ambassadors(1909)

(Art: “Night Scene from the Inquisition” by Franciso Goya; “Hall of the Ambassadors, Alhambra” by Joaquin Sorolla.)

Fiction Reinvention

Pop Lit Fiction
REVAMPING THE SHORT STORY ART

WHY do we illustrate this post with the famous painting of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso?

BECAUSE with her innovative writing style, Gertrude Stein kicked off one of those period attempts to reinvent writing. This effort had its greatest effect via Stein protege Ernest Hemingway, whose collection of short fiction, In Our Time, at the time revolutionized the short story art.

There is always a push-pull where the short story is concerned. Creators and innovators like Hemingway (or Gordon Lish and his minimalist friends Raymond Carver and Susan Minot in the 1980’s and 90’s) attempt to breathe new life into the form– only to see their efforts counteracted by the stodgy mindset represented by prestigious Iowa-style writing programs and The New Yorker magazine– which some would say are the same thing.

WE at New Pop Lit would like to kick off a round of short fiction innovation. Toward that end we are doing two things:

1.)  Beginning what we call The Short Story Process— a creative procedure through which we hope to arrive at the promised land of a reinvented art.

2.) Spotlighting new writers whose work in subject or style colors outside the lines of the artistically acceptable, the bourgeois, the already done. Toward that end we present a new story, “Ain’t Worth a Dollar,” by Atticus Davis, who writes under the name Savage Ckhild, a handle that may say it all.

She’s sitting in the car with her hair tied up, I forget how beautiful she is, I always think I’m going to be immune to her, to them—so she smiles this unblemished smile, that lasts one second before it collapses into this miserable, needy, fearful smile. I feel guilty for being here. 

 

Fiction: Cycles of Art

Pop Lit Fiction

REAL FICTION– real art– asks more questions than it answers. It becomes an alternate universe we enter to confront experience, and our own ideas, beliefs, and doubts.

SO IS IT with our newest feature, “Real Propaganda” by Christopher S. Bell, which raises questions about the recycling of gestures and stances from the rock music era.

IS there yet authenticity to be found in this scene– genuine artistic emotion? Or are bands and fans alike merely going through the motions– walking like artistic survivors through a landscape of cultural aftermath?

Read the story to find out.

“We all know what that first album is, why they made it, and why it still sounds so fucking good even to this day. It’s not hard to figure out; you just plug in and let it wash over you– “

bleach_a_side_label

(Featured art: “Mandolin and Guitar” by Pablo Picasso.)

 

Fiction: The American Scene

Pop Lit Fiction

ABOUT AMERICAN CULTURE

IS there an American culture distinct from other cultures? Apart? Unique?

WHAT would be traditional aspects of that culture?

One hallmark of American culture for sure is American-style football, around which much energy is expended every week, every fall, at several levels– pro, college, and high school. A sport of unique speed and strategy, accompanied by uniquely American color and noise.

The smell of autumn. Homecoming. Marching bands. Cheerleaders. Local rivalries. The Prom. The Big Game.

As we’re currently into football season, New Pop Lit this week presents a short story, “The Austin Strangler” by Nick Gallup, which perfectly captures that milieu, along with everything right and harmonious in partaking of tradition, romance, and games.

He was definitely intrigued and bolted outside. He saw a Carolina-blue ‘55 T-Bird with the top down. That was beautiful, but what was inside was even more beautiful, a girl he’d known for years, but only from afar. He now knew her name, Lauren, and he’d never seen her in anything but shorts. She was a cheerleader for Austin High School, the cross-town rival of his high school, Harrington.

Leyendecker_Football

(Art: “Autumn” by Franklin Carmichael; “Football” by J.C. Leyendecker.)

 

 

Fiction, Film, Editors, and Gurus

Pop Lit Fiction

THE SUBJECT of editorial independence has come up within the literary world much of late– especially with the recent ouster of Ian Buruma at New York Review of Books.

TO STAY topical we present a new short story from that always entertaining observer of American business, manners, and culture, Alan Swyer.  His new tale, “The Sage,” looks at creative smarts and editorial independence within the film industry– a business Alan Swyer knows much about.

CAN Swyer’s lead character, a movie maker named Tarlowe, rescue a troubled film project involving a difficult celebrity wise man– and maintain his integrity while doing so? An inside look at a tumultuous world.

The non-stop travel, coupled with interviews that ranged from eye-opening to scintillating, proved to be a dizzying experience. But even as he reported in periodically, informing his benefactor about what had been said, and by whom, a question kept gnawing at Tarlowe. How would the man who billed himself as The Sage, but who came off in person like a somewhat epicene song-and-dance man, fit in among such luminaries?

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(Art: “Burning the Darkness” by Nicholas Roerich.)

Halloween 2018

Pop Lit Fiction

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HALLOWEEN STORY?

A good Halloween story should be truly scary– or at the least, disturbing. Something which climbs inside your head to unsettle your dreams. Or magnify your nightmares.

Our Halloween presentation for 2018, “God, the Machine” by Travis Simpson, does not involve pumpkins, demons or goblins. The story features instead that most frightening of nature-or-God’s creations, the human mind. Set in a futuristic world swiftly becoming contemporary and real.

She imagines the room filling with water, their bodies floating inside, spilling whatever blood is still loose inside them free in billowing clouds, a little like the nebulous entity outside the craft. This is the will of God, who moves through all dimensions and put this plan in her life from the moment she was conceived.

rivera controller of the universe

(Art: “The Headless Horseman” by Ichabod Crane; “Controller of the Universe” by Diego Rivera.)

Fiction: Life in High School Now

Pop Lit Fiction

THE NEW GENERATION

WHAT are the kids doing, thinking experiencing? HOW are their lives different from ours? What’s changed? What burdens, obstacles, expectations and insanities are they going through– beyond those which we who’ve been around longer have already faced?

HAS there ever been a more connected yet more alienated generation?

WILL they soon simply proclaim in one voice “Enough!” and be done with all of it, and with us?

QUESTIONS which are raised by our new feature story by recent high school student A.K. Riddle, “Now All the Kids Are Making Noise Just Because It’s Something to Do.”

Experience? A.K. gives us a ton of it, along with the emotion and confusion of being young– of being human. Along with exceptional writing. Plus, a structure which doesn’t fit a predictable mold– which one would expect and want from an artistically fresh and talented young writer.

There’s a lot going on in this story. We hope you like it.

I wished I could play with them and laugh along to their jokes and sing along to their rap. But, as I looked to the clear sky and opened the door a little to feel the cold air, I remembered that I was just a poet. I was just there to tell their stories, not be like them. I don’t know if I liked it that way, but that’s just the way things were.

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(Painting: “The Dance of Life” by Edvard Munch.)