This ezine describes its work as “treatments of light and shade in words.” The website is dark and ominous and each quarter only three or four poems and stories appear for consumption. The editors are quite selective and have a particular style they are looking for. They also pay well: seven cents a word for a short story, which translates into $210.00 for a three thousand word narrative – a nice sum in today’s market!
All four stories in this issue are worthy of attention. “Nub Hut,” by Kurt Dinan, certainly ranks as one of the most bizarre stories you could hope to read. It concerns a group of misfits lying around an ice hole in Alaska, their arms dangling in the freezing water. The object is to numb themselves sufficiently so they won’t feel the pain when the limb is sawed off in the nub hut located a short distance away – if they are lucky enough to be selected. “Shuffle,” by Jonathan Wood, is the surreal story of a presumed New York detective who is supposed to be solving a woman’s murder in a small town. All this is happening while the man is carrying around the corpse of his wife in the trunk of his car, and trying to figure out if he is going crazy or if the entire town is trying to hoodwink him in some complicated way. Think Kafka without the cockroach.
The poetry offerings are not as enticing, perhaps because of the lengthy list of “don’ts” in the submission section, worth reading in and of itself. They don’t want any poems about vampires (No vampires?? Rats!) or werewolves, or with the word “blood” or “womb” in it, “anything remotely related to J.R.R. Tolkien,” or any poem entitled “Underworld.” Besides poetry, however, there are also book and film reviews, interviews, and other features.
This is a physically attractive website with everything in logical order and the lengthy archives easy to find. It does not have the clutter found all too often in today’s online journals, and it certainly presents some fun stories. If they’ll just allow those vampires in…