Anyone wishing to peek into the future of the online literary magazine needs only to pull this one up on their screen. There is a brief signing up process and then an impressive array of work that is available for the choosing. This particular issue has fiction, nonfiction, poetry, “features,” and one “classic,” which happens to be an essay on writing by W. H. Auden. To keep one further entertained, the website has cartoons that are changed regularly, a “ Poem of the Week,” and a “Story of the Week.”
Elizabeth Frye’s “The Lady’s Murder” is a simplistic murder mystery combined with charming graphic illustrations, which also serve to charmingly and graphically illustrate some of the rising advantages that online literary publishing will have in the future over the print media. Alexi Zentner’s “Trapline,” granted the 2008 Narrative Prize for fiction, is a chilling story set in wilds of Alaska, which certainly evokes favorable comparisons to Jack London at its best. I was also impressed with the Story of the Week, Steve Stern’s “Heaven is Full of Windows,” a touching piece of flash fiction about a hapless woman caught in a raging inferno high up in an old building. Finally, the editors produce a poignant memorial of Rust Hills, past fiction editor for Esquire, who died recently at age eighty-three in Belfast, Maine, of cardiac arrest: “Rust was, if not the last, all but the last of a generation of magazine fiction editors whose aspirations, however alloyed by commerce, were first and always purely literary.”
An examination of the contributors for this edition makes it clear that most have impressive credentials, i.e. teaching in university settings, having published extensively in the past, and/or having won numerous literary awards. Not many fledgling writers are represented. On top of everything else, the home page also features “4 Great Tales of Africa,” “4 Great Memoirs,” and something called “First and Second Looks,” which has a translation snippet of Goethe’s travels in Italy, 1786-1788.
We have here the online wave of the future, folks. Check it out.