NOTEBOOK FEATURE

Josh 40 bday outside 1020 (3)FEATURE

Bourbon and Milk: When the Danger Is You

When I was in graduate school, working on the stories that would become my first book, Short People, one of my professors pulled me aside for a private meeting in which he did me the great favor of warning me to rethink my project. “After you have children, you’re going to regret having written these stories,” he said. What he meant was that, once I experienced the fervent parental urge to protect the seed of my loins from any and all real or perceived danger, my worldview would change and along with it, my sense of fiction’s mission. The stories I’d been writing strove to document a treacherous and cruel America in which parents can’t protect their children and kids aren’t always—or often—the cherubic innocents we’d like to imagine them to be. Rather, they’re small, sentient creatures, afflicted with a lack of knowledge about the world, easily confounded by the contradictory, sometimes nonexistent, moral guidance they receive. [...]

Josh 40 bday outside 1020 (3)FEATURE

Bourbon and Milk: When the Danger Is You

When I was in graduate school, working on the stories that would become my first book, Short People, one of my professors pulled me aside for a private meeting in which he did me the great favor of warning me to rethink my project. “After you have children, you’re going to regret having written these stories,” he said. What he meant was that, once I experienced the fervent parental urge to protect the seed of my loins from any and all real or perceived danger, my worldview would change and along with it, my sense of fiction’s mission. The stories I’d been writing strove to document a treacherous and cruel America in which parents can’t protect their children and kids aren’t always—or often—the cherubic innocents we’d like to imagine them to be. Rather, they’re small, sentient creatures, afflicted with a lack of knowledge about the world, easily confounded by the contradictory, sometimes nonexistent, moral guidance they receive. [...]

Helen Hooper_SQ

Online Fiction Interview: Helen Hooper

Few things are more disappointing than a predictable work of fiction, but one worse thing is the work of fiction that aims to surprise but falls flat. There’s a big, fat, twist in November’s online exclusive work of fiction, “Edge Habitat,” by Helen Hooper. It’s a particularly welcome twist because, well, it blindsided us. We recently emailed Hooper and asked her to tell us a bit about that twist [...]

StuartDybekFEATURE

Contest Announcement: American Short(er) Fiction Prize

We are thrilled to announce that Stuart Dybek will be judging this year’s American Short(er) Fiction Prize. The prize recognizes extraordinary short fiction under 1,000 words. The first-place winner will receive a $500 prize and publication, and the second-place winner will receive $250 and publication. All entries will be considered for publication. [...]

NullGordonSQUARE

Jaimy Gordon Interviews Matthew Neill Null

“The Slow Lean of Time,” Matthew Neill Null’s sweeping account of the hazardous lives of the 19th Century drovers who steered giant logs down West Virginia’s rivers, contains what might be the most genuinely shocking moment of any short story I’ve read this year. This despite the fact that Null, whose story we were pleased to publish in Issue 57 of American Short Fiction, describes the world his characters inhabit from such a high vantage point that we see them as smallish players moving across an expansive historical landscape. [...]

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