Total Oblivion

"A fast-paced, suspenseful dystopian picaresque, part Huck Finn and part bizarro-world Swiss Family Robinson..."



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Skinny Dipping

Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Futures, Options, and Swaps (the weblog of Alan DeNiro)

Have You Any Wool

So, friends, I have a story in the superb anthology Twenty Epics. Many, many other people have been blogging about it. The centralized place to follow the contours of those discussion are at David Moles’s blog. Before I talk briefly about my story (which is part of the bit), I did want to say that David Lomax’s story, which us Rabid Transit editors first read in 1998, and published in Rabid Transit #3: Petting Zoo, was a story unlike anything I’d read before. Its joy in sheer storytelling, clever but never offputting metafiction, and empathy for the characters exploring a quest narrative as well as a quest-all of these things added up to a rather remarkable package. So kudos for that, David L.

“Have You Any Wool” is set in the same milieu as (now that I think of it) a fair amount of other space opera-type work, only a sliver of which has been published-my Parameter world. “Shepherd’s Calendar” appeared in Strange Horizons a few years ago, and the events in “Have You Any Wool” takes place about a hundred years after that, when the rules of engagement have definitely changed. It’s divided into two narrative strands: a second person narration telling of the hunting of wolves on lonely atolls and a third person omniscent (and very cosmic) POV giving the blow by blow in regards to how, exactly, wolves have come to be hunted. It involves spaceships, and aliens, and a war of folklorists. And it’s pretty fucking dense. But, I wanted the density to be leavened by the more “micro” aspects of the hunt-and the connections between the two narrative threads would hopefully create emotional resonances. Charles Bernstein (I think; don’t quote me on this…it might have been Bruce Andrews?) had mentioned with LANGUAGE poetry the interplay between absorptive and non-absorptive language. That in experimental work, it’s not all craziness all the time that works (although it CAN, in the right hands), but rather, even more disorentation can be created through altering the porousness of the sentences. (And, it helps to breathe.) For sure, there is plenty of disorentation to be had in “Have You Any Wool”-at any rate, it’s an odd little bird of a story, and I’m glad it found such a good home. Or nest. You make the call.

With all of that said, there are 19 other quite remarkable stories in 20 Epics, so do check it out! (I’m having trouble making hyperlinks in this rare Safari/Wordpress combo that I’m using, and I’m waaayyy too tired to hand-code them, so I defer you to Mr. Moles’s esteemed page, where you can get more info about the book, including ordering info, than you can shake a stick at.)

Fri, July 14 2006 » Fiction

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