WHAT’S the most exciting short story ever written? One written by Jack London or Richard Connell? Edgar Allan Poe or Ernest Hemingway? Or someone more contemporary?
Today we present a good candidate: “True Survivor” by Greg Jenkins. A story perfectly structured and written, with a strong opening, classic setting, tangible details, and at least one dynamic characterization, all centered around a chase. The story does what only well-written prose can offer– presenting the interior thoughts and emotions of a narrator engaged in struggling with a manifestly real exterior world. We trust you’ll enjoy the experience.
What really struck you, though, when you looked into that face, were his eyes. Cold and unblinking, they didn’t seem like human eyes at all, but more like the eyes of some large reptile; when he trained them on you, sharp and dull at the same time, you felt as if you were being probed by something vaguely Jurassic.
ON OTHER FRONTS, we’re in the late stages of putting together a new print publication– this one featuring what we call fun pop poetry. We should have room to squeeze into the modest issue a couple more offerings.
What does “fun pop poetry” mean? Decide for yourself and send one or two examples for consideration. (Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
What makes a celebrity? A star? What gives the person a special allure? Distance, illusion, mystery?
This is a question explored in our new fiction feature, “Fanboy” by Alan Swyer, set in the alluring capitol of glamorous stars, Hollywood circa today.
Incidentally or ironically, Alan Swyer is one of the literary stars featured in New Pop Lit‘s own modest version of a Photoplay-like fanmag, namely, Literary Fan Magazine. Is it time to create a literary version of Hollywood? Maybe!
Meanwhile, read the story.
“Why today? If so much stuff’s been bugging you, why’ve you been holding it in?”
Allison frowned. “I reached a point where enough is enough. But know what bothers me most? Not your snoring, not that you put your feet on furniture, not even that half the time you seem oblivious. Want to know?”
(Both artworks by famed illustrator Rolf Armstrong.)
CLASSIC SHORT STORY LITERARY ART
Someone referred to our recent presentation of an Edgar Allan Poe plague story as “old pop lit.” Well, it is. Writers should recognize the history of their art. We recognize the history of pop literature. In particular, the pop short story, which long before hit records became the rage was the popular American art form.
HOW did it become that?
Because short story writers were able to make an emotional connection with readers, in the same way pop singers today make an emotional connection with their fans.
One of the masters of the American short story was Poe. Another was the man known as O. Henry, who during his brief career became the most popular story writer of them all.
One of O. Henry’s masterpieces is “The Last Leaf,” which we present, in these challenging times, as our feature. The tale is about disease sweeping through a city– but it’s also about love, friendship, and hope.
The setting? A bohemian neighborhood in New York. The characters? Two young artists and an older artist who lives beneath them. All are participants in that era’s version of the gig economy– and so are uniquely vulnerable to the hostile swings of misfortune. As fragile humanity is vulnerable, in our time, or in any time.
In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called. Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown “places.”
(Art: “Park Street Church in Winter” by Arthur Clifton Goodwin; “New York” by George Bellows.)