Hitchcock and Bradbury Fistfight in Heaven

McSweeney's 45

I can’t remember the last time I was excited about an issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly. It’s an easy thing to take for granted. Oh, another beautifully designed, unique book object? With eclectic contributions from quirky, accomplished writers? Haven’t we seen that like 44 times already?

But issue 45 of Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Conern is something to be excited about. In the introduction, Dave Eggers explains how he stumbled upon a beaten-up paperback of spooky genre fiction edited by none other than Alfred Hitchcock. Soon after that, he found a similar collection of freaky stories edited by the great Ray Bradbury. Both books were fun, McSweeney’s-ish, and long out of print. Kismet.

So issue 45 includes down-and-dirty genre fiction from those two hard-to-find paperbacks—stories by Roald Dahl, John Cheever, and Franz Kafka—along with new work by the likes of China Miéville, Brian Evenson, and Benjamin Percy. It’s a crazy, start-studded, time-warping blend, and it doesn’t give a crap whether you consider it Literature or not, so long as you keep turning the pages. I can’t wait for someone to stumble across a beaten-up paperback of McSweeney’s 45 a hundred years from now and start the process all over again.

– Brian Hurley

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