Friday, May 6, 2011

39. New Pages, New Genre & } the Color Plates.

Regarding New Genre issue #4, Jennifer Gomell wrote, “I think this magazine has the potential to really stick its thumb in the eye of literary snobbery” (New Pages, Oct. 14, 2006). That’s the quote I pulled for our meager press material. The quote begins, “Bump up the quality of the horror, and…” She “found the horror tales a bit conventional (one downright plodding).” I’m not here to bicker. My guess is she found Christopher Harman’s story “plodding.” Harman, in my experience, tends to write stories that make tension with a near-infuriating attention to apparently inconsequential details that culminate in the kind of horror that for me, at least, is devastating. Harman’s story (“The Last to be Found”) was reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, though I’d be the first to admit that this is a dubious measure of a story’s excellence. His story was the first story I selected to be reprinted in that series. From that same issue, Don Tumasonis’ “Thrown” was reprinted in the Stephen Jones series Best New Horror. Gomell did love the science fiction, and it was brilliant—Jeff Paris was then science fiction editor.

(“Thrown” suffered a big cut and paste error I should have caught. Tumasonis was gracious about that. He was upset about a section break that was (accidentally) removed. As an author, I totally sympathize, but I read the story many times without the section break, and I still prefer the story without it.)

Kenneth Nichols reviewed #5 (New Pages, Nov. 3, 2007) and Trelaine Ito #6; Nichols was delighted by the whole of #5, and I unabashedly am as well; Ito had some mild reservations about the “over-the-top prose” in #6 choosing as his favorite story Stephen Graham Jones’ “Lonegan’s Luck” which is absolutely an excellent story, but also the issue’s most conservative. (It, too, was reprinted in a year’s best, and nominated for an award, as was the most conservative tale in #5, Paul Walther’s “Splitfoot.”)

A few days ago my publisher informed me that New Pages posted an extremely positive review of Color Plates. The author, Alex Myers, writes, “When I first sat down to read this collection, I approached it as I would any other short story collection” but that he found a different approach was necessary. “I set up my laptop and found an online image for each painting that Golaski writes about.” This slowed Myers down, but “enriched” his reading experience.

The paintings are not required to understand the stories, but I love the idea of a reader who takes the time to look at all those paintings, and isn’t it fortunate that—from his desk—he can do so. Over a sandwich, he holds my “Luncheon in the Studio” in one hand and with the other visits Wiki for Manet’s.

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