Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.
This is called McSweeney's "Forge-Ahead/Throwback" Issue, but there's not a single story I'd throw back.
McSweeney's generally produces beautiful, cleverly-packaged works the artistic presentation of which occasionally overshadows the actual writing. That's certainly not the case here. I enjoyed every story. They are well developed, well structured and the characters are fully-drawn.
The authors and stories are:
Bill Cotter- Pfaff II
Nick Ekkixogloy- Stowaways
Kevin Moffett- Further Interpretation of Real Life Events
Etgar Keret-Bad Karma
Shelly Oria- The Beginning of a Plan
Michael Cera- Pinecone (Canadian perhaps best known as an actor and this solid story about an aging actor may be a way of facing some of his own fears, although I hope not!)
Carson Mell-Diamond Aces (a real heartbreaker. Excellent characters)
J. Malcolm Garcia-Cuts
Catherine Bussinger- Foothill Boulevard (a dangerous and brave story. A standout)
As an extra bonus, in the teeny-tiny front page print, generally reserved for the titlepage junk like publishing date and copyright information, and continuing on the back page, is a wonderful essay by Wells Tower about his story. He rewrote a previous story, which was written from the perspective of another character. Don't miss that.
These are clever stories, but they never sacrifice humanity, and I do so appreciate that. I also loved the line drawing scattered throughout, although I can't find the name of the artist.