I read a selection of stories from three different online publications and was bored with the same old same old (I find it hard to believe that editors think anyone is going to read this banal stuff), and then I stumbled on to The Barcelona Review. Thanks goodness! The editors really live in Barcelona and say, “We like good, powerful, potent stuff that immediately commands attention, shows stylistic and imaginative distinction, and is literarily sound.” Well, who doesn’t? But these people really publish it.
Right out of the gate is an excerpt from a novel-in-progress set in North Korea by Adam Johnson. It is an account of a man named Jun Do who is accompanying two medics to a prison camp where they will remove the blood of injured prisoners – to be used elsewhere – rather than treating them, thereby accelerating their deaths. A blood-chilling winner. Next is a crazy but highly imaginative story by Daniel Eli Dronsfield entitled “The Alligator,” about a bored school teacher who suddenly becomes macho by capturing a three-foot alligator on the school grounds and saving it from destruction at the hands of the local authorities. A humorous winner. And then there is “Dixie Land” by B.J. Hollars, a poignant and touching story about a quirky father obsessed with the civil war and the disastrous result his quirks ultimately have on himself and his young son. Meanwhile, his wife is trying to invent a time machine. A well-written, creative, and entertaining winner.
In the flash fiction category is “They Are Only Dreams” by Felix Calvino, a quiet, sedate story that eventually turns rather haunting concerning a young child who has precognition. In the book review section, I was quite fascinated by Diana Grove’s Dot.Conned. Apparently the author decided to take on a number of the international con artists who send out emails in which they ask the potential sucker to be a middle man (middle person?) for huge money transactions, the goal being to bilk the gullible patsy out of their money. The author makes up names, sends creative pictures, has a grand time jerking their chains – all with humor.
This is one of the few journals that delivers what it promises. Just click below and give yourself a treat. Fresh from Barcelona and free. The marvel of modern technology.