Adventure and Style in Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

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(Art: Above: “At the Masked Ball” by Jean-Louis Forain. Below: A section of a poster for a movie by Gaumont Films.)

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Announcement

EASY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Want an easy way to Christmas shop? Simply purchase our flagship publication, ZEENITH, at our Pop Shop, and in the Ship To part of the order enter the name and address of the person you wish to receive the gift.

Why ZEENITH?

Because everything about the issue is first rate– a literary publication unlike any that’s ever been created. Not a book. Instead: a work of art, featuring top-notch writing along with striking illustrations and graphics. Each page is an adventure unto itself.

Not only that, but we’re sending each copy this time of year in special silver envelopes, so the recipient knows they’re receiving something truly unique. We’ll include inside the package a holiday “From: To:” note, to be sure they know the gift was sent care of YOU. (We’ll also throw in a “pop” postcard or two.)

an order ready to go out

ZEENITH is the perfect gift for intelligent friends, for high school or college-age sons or daughter, nieces or nephews, or for artistically-curious aunts, uncles, even parents or grandparents. (Far better than a scarf or tie!)

Let’s do it! Order your copy now at our POP SHOP.

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Rage and Pace

Pop Lit Fiction

NEW SHORT FICTION

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WE ARE HERE at the end of another year bombarded with holiday cheer most of it forced many of us stressed to the max– so we thought we’d present new fiction which reflects a little of the reality of life today. The story is “Hangnail” by Alex Olson. Noteworthy about the story is how well Olson accomplishes what should be one of the objectives of new-style fiction: creating momentum and pace. Pace fueled by anger? So be it! Makes for a compelling, onrushing read.

You’re in a zone, a slim area between suicidal and manic, a hangnail sliver of delicious madness where you feel you can take on the world and kill yourself at the same time, all with a grin on your face. You thrive in this zone, this is your home–

Franz_Marc_the wolves 1913

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(Art: “Anger” by Hans-Siebert von Heister; “The Wolves” by Franz Marc.)

Pushcart Art

Announcement

OUR 2019 PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATIONS

AS WE ARE at present strictly a bootstrap, “pushcart” enterprise (with plans to dramatically change that standing), we appreciate the intent behind the annual Pushcart Press Pushcart Prize collections. Being able to nominate a few of the quality writers who publish work with us is one of the great blessings we receive from running this literary project.

WE BELIEVE our site is particularly in synch with the Pushcart spirit– not solely because of our small size, but also because we’re endeavoring to create a new model for both short fiction and poetry. A model not only different from standard “Big Five” publishing, but from the kind of work featured in more established literary magazines and included in such anthologies.

ANYWAY, here are our 2019 nominations. We invite you to click on the links to the work, and read or reread the nominated pieces.

Thanks!
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(Art: Graffiti in Ann Arbor, Michigan.)

Novel Excerpt from Brian Eckert

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

eye of horus

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(Main painting: watercolor copy by Nina Degaris Davies of an Egyptian wall painting )

The Masked Writer

Pop Fiction

KNOWING the literary game today is understanding that many of the best new writers circulating through the internet use pen names. A reaction to Cancel Culture? Possibly.

Judging by their work, we believe several of these little-known scribblers have the potential to become outstanding. To be part of the kind of real literary revival we seek. Time will tell if their potential becomes reality.

Our task as a literary project is to promote writing talent wherever we find it. For our new feature we present a short story, “The Prop Comic” by Bud E. Ice, which provides attributes of accomplished fiction: atmosphere, character, drama– and palpable tension. A story about a trip to a comedy club which becomes more a view of the defeated, the desperate, and, maybe, the insane. A quick glimpse at the underside of contemporary society. Read the tale and see. You won’t be disappointed.

Deep down this guy knew that the show was sorry and meaningless and full of a variety of wannabes, including himself. How could he be excited? The crowd wasn’t even excited. The fact that they were really trying to pull off a Vegas-like atmosphere, and were getting nowhere close, gave me second hand embarrassment. 

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ON OTHER FRONTS, check out our second “Pop Quiz” Q & A, this one with Angelo Lorenzo.

ALSO, see the latest performance at our Open Mic“I Comfort Crow Jane” by renowned poet Joel Allegretti, who’s written a Halloween story we’ll be featuring at New Pop Lit in a few weeks.

Three terrific story writers. A preview of many things which will be happening at this site.

Short Summer Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

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!”

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(Art: “House in the Garden 1908” by Pablo Picasso.)

Certainty or Uncertainty?

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

Albert Lynch Beautiful Betty

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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?
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(Art: “La Chasse” by Albert Gleizes; “Beautiful Betty” by Albert Lynch.)

The 3-D Story Arrives

Pop Lit Fiction

The wait is over. Anticipation ends. The moment has arrived. The new story has pulled up outside. We present an attempt at–

THE 3D 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.

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To read arguments for why the literary art needs to change, go to our NPL News blog.

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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!

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(Art: “The Arrival” by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.)