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.)
STANDARD in classic fiction of the past, especially from short story writers, was a sense of style or adventure– or both. Jack London and O. Henry emphasized adventure— albeit very different types of adventure: wilderness and oceans on the one hand, stray unpredictable adventures which could assault a person in cities like New York on the other. Writers Edith Wharton, Henry James, and F. Scott Fitzgerald placed more emphasis on the kinds of styles exhibited by their characters, and from the sophisticated settings in which they moved. This was back when the short story was the popular American art form.
Today we present a story which captures that much-needed sense of mystery, adventure, and style, “The Names Divine” by C. A. Shoultz. Our first feature of 2021, with more to follow.
In due course they arrived atop the stairs. Simon walked beyond the masked man and beheld a table covered in black velvet. A sign above it, written in gold script, said: “Choose your mask. Choose your name.” Sure enough, upon the table were a small number of masks just like his escort was wearing. They were widely and irregularly spaced apart, a sign that many others had come here before him and done what he was about to do.
(Art: Above: “At the Masked Ball” by Jean-Louis Forain. Below: A section of a poster for a movie by Gaumont Films.)