Category Archives: Hooray Fiction!

Unmistakable Bulge

Unmistakable Bulge

When it’s right, it’s right and you can feel it in the air, when your bodies brush together the sparks fly and the ozone cooks; she cannot take her eyes off you, you cannot take your eyes off her, and nobody has to say a thing. As the elevator rose lurching slowly two flights, I wanted to put my hands on her shoulders and turn her toward me and watch her face tilt up and her lips part, I knew it would happen that way, that she would come in against me and I would press her against the elevator wall, and the kiss would be so hot and filled with excitement that we could slide down to the floor unknowing and clutch each other melting into one soul.

Naturally, that’s not what happened.

I didn’t lay a glove on her in the elevator. We didn’t even talk, I just looked at all that honey-ginger hair and thought about the way it would feel against my skin. When the elevator door opened and I saw the maid’s cart parked in front of my open door I wasn’t even slightly phased, but touched Sonny with the tips of my fingers at the small of her back and she moved into the suite turning up to me and smiling. My knees almost buckled from the look in her eyes.

“Be done in a minute,” the maid called from the kitchen.

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Mt. Mount Mountain

Mount Tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais

We had planned to hike the western slope of Mount Tamalpais, but in the morning we saw clouds covering the ridge, which would erase the vertiginous views of the Pacific Ocean. So we went further up the mountain, to a place called Rock Springs, and picked the first trail that led downward, hoping to bury ourselves in the folds of the mountain and find something, close up, that would rival the distant vistas to the west. We followed Cataract Creek among mossy laurel trees and chest-high river rocks, then dipped along wooden footbridges, past a stand of young redwoods, toward a windbreak called Bath’s Retreat, before climbing a rocky escarpment with stunted manzanitas.

Four things about mountains occurred to me along the way. Continue reading

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NOW READ THIS: The Imagination of Lewis Caroll by William Todd Seabrook

The Imagination of Lewis Carroll

We don’t give Victorian England enough shit, says Michael Martone in his introduction to this small chapbook. We remember the Victorians as being straitlaced and high-minded, but the truth is that everything about them was industriously nonsensical.

These, after all, were the minds that imagined church graveyards into recreational cemeteries served by networks of necropolitan railways with three classes for the dead. They were the people who invented sentence diagramming as a lark, something to do between constructing the Gatling gun and fabricating the whalebone bustle. And cricket! What is that!

The chief exponent of high Victorian nonsense was an Oxford-educated mathematician, Anglican deacon, and connoisseur of very young girls who wrote under the pen name of Lewis Carroll.

The Imagination of Lewis CarrollThe Imagination of Lewis Carroll is a collection of 24 flash-fiction pieces that reimagine the author of Alice in Wonderland as a slightly more bizarre version of the man he really was–but only slightly. This Lewis Carroll fights a duel by driving his opponent insane, confounds the Queen and the Pope with riddles, and believes he can edit people in real life the way he edits his fictional creations. It’s as if the historical Lewis Carroll swallowed a pill that made him much, much bigger. Continue reading

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ONLY $0.99 FOR THE BLACK CAT BY J.M. GEEVER

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HOLY SMACK YOU GUYS THE BLACK CAT BY J.M. GEEVER IS ON SALE AS AN E-BOOK!

If you hate killing trees or you’ve been too (ahem) thrifty to buy the paperback, then take a deep breath, shake out your index finger so it’s really loose and limber, and click on the button below. You’ll get the EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions for a special price of $0.99.

The Black Cat is a terribly original novel about old families, expensive California wines, superstitions, obscure European wars, vengeance, and more wine. It’s like if Edgar Allan Poe tried to describe the plot of East of Eden while he was sloshed.

You can read excerpts here and here.

“J.M. Geever writes with an erudition, wit, and mystery reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49 and the historical soul of Arc d’X. With The Black Cat, he perfectly captures the essence of California’s place in both the idealization and disintegration of the American dream.”

– Matthew Gallaway, author of The Metropolis Case

You are going to love The Black Cat. For only $0.99.

- Fiction Advocate

 

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HITTING SHELVES #8: Your Face in Mine by Jess Row

Your Face in Mine

Your Face in Mine by Jess Row comes out today!

It’s the story of Kelly Thorndike, a Baltimore native who bumps into an old friend on the streets. His friend used to be Jewish, but now, thanks to a near-impossible medical procedure, he has been transformed into an African American. Enlisted in the cause, Kelly becomes the doubting Boswell to his friend’s Dr. Johnson, charged with writing the official story of the world’s first “racial reassignment surgery.” But Kelly is distracted by his own issues: his Chinese wife and their young daughter died recently, and he still grieves for them, and for the culture he left behind as an expat in China. Kelly is faced with some big questions. Is race a personal choice? Should it be? Is that even possible?

Your Face in Mine is a searing account of race in America today. It might be the best book I have read all year. It’s certainly the most thought-provoking. Run to the store, buy it, read it, and watch the future unfold in its image.

We asked the author one question. Continue reading

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Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm

Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

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Long-form ghost stories are rare, probably because they’re difficult to pull off. You have to keep the tension ramped up. You have to work within a story archetype, but surprise your readers and keep them on their toes. You have to write in such a way that not only do the characters have no idea what’s going to happen, but neither does your audience. In short, you need a lot up your sleeve.

Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky moves in tightening circles, spinning closer and closer to a rabbit hole of a drain. We follow Leah Shepherd, who has returned to her semi-fictional hometown of Crow Station, Kentucky after a stint in graduate school and a broken-off engagement. Her job as a social worker with a tiny nonprofit feeds bits of surreal, small-town humor into the text: a woman asks for a felony charge to be dismissed because it’s her birthday; a dead dog is found on the side of the road and becomes the all-encompassing conversation topic for a day. Throughout the novel, Leah is reminded of her little brother Jacob who went missing when they were children, and behind every plot advancement is the lurking knowledge that something bad is going to happen.

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The Free Stuff: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexual

Everyone is talking about Patricia Lockwood, and they should be. Her second collection of poems, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, is full of sex, animals, geography, and lines so bizarrely funny they make you swallow wrong and cough. Lockwood makes poetry feel like a real thing again, like something more important than whatever is on HBO. You should get the book and read it all at once, then do it again slowly.

In the meantime, 14 of the 31 poems in Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals are online, and we have rounded them up for you.

Search “Lizard Vagina” and You Shall Find

The Arch

When the World was Ten Years Old

He Marries the Stuffed Owl Exhibit

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Death by Chocolate

Excerpted from Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer by Matthew Gavin Frank. Copyright © 2014 by Matthew Gavin Frank. With permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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As Harvey stepped closer to the scene, he saw now that the fishermen’s raincoats were uniformly orange—and not yellow—and, as they surrounded the fallen beast like so many scattered searchlights, the smell of it, this close, shifted to something so deeply marine it smelled dark—mineshaft-dark; the rotting corpses of countless failed canaries, the ones who got lost in the pitch; and something of burning tires. In this, Harvey surely began to feel faint, the cool of the rain trickling to the inside of his coat, the drops running along the lines of his body, into his armpits, over his ribcage, commingling with the anxious sweat there. He exhaled and, given the temperature, saw his breath escape him, tumble into the air toward the giant squid, graying massive on dry land, and disappear. He began to have trouble determining exactly what he was seeing—what was, and what wasn’t.

The giant squid

is an umbrella classification that may encompass up to eight species.

has ten arms.

is prey to sperm whales, who house in their heads both spermaceti (a white waxy substance of uncertain biological function that humans have extracted and used in making candles, ointments, and -cosmetics) and the biggest brain of any animal.

is the semimissing link between vertebrates and invertebrates as, according to Harvey, “the glassy internal pen . . . ​and the calcareous internal ‘bone’ . . . ​are held to foreshadow the spinal column of the higher animals.”

’s tentacles are adorned with subspherical suction cups, each of which can be five centimeters in diameter, possess a sharp serrated lining, and are responsible for the ring-shaped scars that are commonly found on the heads of sperm whales.

’s tentacles are grouped around the beast’s “beak,” which resembles that of a parrot, but is way, way bigger.

’s suckers are typically described as “campanulate,” meaning of a flower, meaning bell-shaped, meaning like a campanula, the bloom which lent its name to Rapunzel, the bloom from which white latex is extracted to make the gloves worn by scientists when they dissect things like the giant squid.

’s blood loses its ability to carry oxygen in warmer waters, resulting in suffocation.

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