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Ask the Aliens: Should I Go to AWP?

Hello, Aliens, I'm writing because I hate something that I may not be able to avoid for the rest of my career as a writer: AWP. I think of myself as a pretty hateful person. I'll come right out and tell you that I hate aliens. I hate space too. I also hate my dad, some tv shows everybody else like, and the big writer conference that is about to go down this week in Los Angeles. And yet despite that, every year I wind up hating myself for not going to AWP. I'm not exactly sure why I hate AWP so much. I've never gone to it before. But there are things that bother me about the idea of the conference more than the conference itself. Registration alone is way too expensive, forget about the trave

The Elections Monster (3)

Some things are too much fun to believe in. After the last two rounds of the Democratic contest, Bernie Sanders has been beating Hillary Clinton 2-to-1. The strategy that Southern states would run out appears to have worked. Sanders looks viable once again after looking impossible, then unlikely, then disappointing, then dangerous, then finished. Given the holiday season, it should be pointed out that this cycle of constant rebirth is an un-Christian narrative: Jesus died and came back just the once, Bernie is perpetual return. It is much more Jewish in character, Bernie continually finding his way back to an electoral Zion, even after he is far removed. Even the birds in the air attend to h

The Countdown Begins! [UPDATE]

Flapperhouse regularly hosts a release party whenever another issue of its bizarre mélange-genre spreads open its jazzy wings and takes flight, but on Wednesday they were kind enough to make room for The Voyager Record as well, and let me join the line-up. If this is the start of the Countdown for The Voyager Record's liftoff, and we start counting down at "ten," consider this event to be Ten Nine Eight Seven and Six. The event was at Pacific Standard in Park Slope. I haven't been there before, but I feel like I have, as I'm always at Flapperhouse events in spirit. Other readers in attendance were William Lessard, Stephen Langlois, Christina M Rau, Leona Godin, T Mazzara, and Joanna C Valent

Ask the Aliens: No Reply

Dear Aliens, After a more-than-ten-year relationship my friend recently started "ghosting" me: she's stopped returning my texts, my calls, or any other kind of personal contact. We're still technically friends on Facebook, but after years of non-stop banter on each other's posts she's disappeared from my life on social media. I've tried reaching out a few times, to no response. She's acting as if I don’t exist anymore. I'll admit: I haven't always been the best friend. I've been busy at times, self-involved and not around, but if I ever saw that she was in trouble, if she ever really needed someone to help her just handle, that was when I would step in, I would be there. Now it doesn't matte

The Elections Monster (2)

Anyone can look like themselves with their mouth where their eyes should be. The election results on this second Super Tuesday have come through, and they're clear: Hillary Clinton is in better shape than she's been in the entire election, and Donald Trump is still our worst nightmare. Clinton's stronghold states—the predominantly black states in the Bible Belt—are far behind her. Bernie Sanders' upset win in Michigan last week set the stage for her to lose more ground in yesterday's contests. But she didn't. Maybe the news of the protests that shut down the Trump rally a few days ago, protests linked with Sanders more than Clinton, scared the normals. It could be that Hillary has a coalitio

The Elections Monster

The elections might be the only thing worth talking about anymore, if talking is still something that interests people. There are so many other ways to express your political beliefs instead of talking: more are becoming commonplace and acceptable every day. Like hate screaming on a national stage. Or attempting to openly assault candidates during their stump speeches. There is something so fitting about this election. It feels like the only possible way to follow up the presidency of Barack Obama. It is nothing less than an election fight over the very soul of the nation. If that sounds Romantic, it should. This is a street fight, and you don't want to be a calm and cool Enlightenment think

Ask the Aliens: An Open Call

You have to know when to ask for help. Sometimes, after hearing a description of the Voyager record, or listening to it for themselves, people assume that it was meant to be a call for help. It's an understandable conclusion for people to come to, and basically a religious reflex. Our problems on Earth are so bad, and we are so flawed as people, the only obvious solution will have to come from somewhere else, somewhere celestial. All message-making is an act of submission--"Take this, and listen to it"--but the Voyager record isn't an overt cry for help. It contains those cries; you can hear them in the songs and the greetings more than the pictures, but they are there. Just a few days ago,

Pairing: The New Inquiry and Fast Company

There are some things that probably should not pair well together, and yet, because of certain underlying affinities, they do. This can be as simple as a shared medium, a simultaneous release date, or something more arcane, something that could only be explained narratively, the way stories in The Thousand and One Nights unfold sometimes: you start to talk to one character and before you know it he is telling you about something that he once heard from a neighbor who could not be trusted. The pairing of The New Inquiry and Fast Company are probably in the latter category. One is an edgy online literature and culture journal, the other is a traditional glossy print magazine about business tha

On The Constraint Issue of the Ilanot Review

Yesterday, the Constraint issue of the Ilanot Review went live. I was the guest fiction editor and also did an interview with Jenny Boully in which the only questions I asked her were ones I could find in her books. This is the first time I've been an editor for any portion of any journal; I don't think I really understood what that meant until today. It's been a long time since the submissions were being read through, and argued over, and now that it's all over, I'm kind of amazed at what I was just a part of. Seeing Constraint published now reminds me just how good all of these stories were. With fiction it's never easy to write with a constraint, let alone expect people to submit their wo

The Voyager Record Preorders Are Go

The Voyager Record is now available for preorder on the Rose Metal Press website. If this video of Carl Sagan talking about Voyager, its record, and the empty dry nothingness beyond our solar system makes you feel all warm and tingly inside, you should definitely get your copy today. If you order right now (and by right now I mean anytime between today and May 3) you can get the book shipped for free anywhere in the USA. Free shipping! Don't let anyone tell you America isn't always great forever.

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