subTerrain No. 90, from East Vancouver, BC, features new work from TJ Beitelman, Clint Burnham, Louise Dumayne, Erika Dyck, Yosef Wosk, and more. Commentary, opinion, fiction, poetry, art, and book reviews.
subTerrain has a youthful feel. But rather than the ages of the characters or speakers themselves, the feeling is borne more of a sense of dislocation and disorientation. Even when they are seen in an adult habitat—job, relationship, a rhythm that most of the over-25 set settle into—the bleakness, the weirdness, and the whimsy in these pieces recall an eighteen or twenty-two-year-old’s fantasy of what life may turn out to be like down the road, if they remain on the edge of convention either internally or in society and haven’t become more content than they are now. Perhaps the fantastic and the rootlessness are a product of the issue’s theme, “This Carnival Life,” which throws up and tears down an entire mesmerizing world in the space of a few days. And true to the chaos in a carnival, subTerrain isn’t interested in tidy structures. The stories end abruptly, the poems demand considerable powers of association from the reader, the commentary can take leaps of logic, and the book reviews sometimes grope unsuccessfully for the right word. Yet the talent of these writers is evident; the skill they have for creating worlds is a promise for greater things to come.