An Interview with Hart Hanson

Our editor-in-chief, Dani Hedlund, sits down with Hart Hanson, creator of the critically-acclaimed show Bones, to discuss his new book, The Seminarian. Hart and Dani first met when she interviewed him about his debut, The Driver, which Dani has been bananas about for years. She devoured the new book in one caffeine-fueled Sunday, and she’s terribly excited to chat it out with Hart…

Right, Hart, let’s get the most cliché questions out of the way first. What inspired you to write The Seminarian?

I live a few steps from the Venice Boardwalk, which, if you know anything about Venice, is where everything happens. It’s a busy, crazy, diverse, wildly energetic, and bizarre place! When you live here, you can’t help but look at people and wonder what their story is. One day, I was cruising by an empty house I was quite jealous of, and I started to wonder what kind of person would live there and what they would do for a living. That’s what inspired the main character, Xavier Priestly—Priest.

I also made a list of interesting protagonists for television, films, or books. Priest is a combination of two of these protagonist concepts: one was somebody who has a bit of oppositional defiance disorder, and the other was somebody who leaves seminary.

I started to think more about the story through Priest’s character, like who he hangs around and works for. I knew planning a mystery book means I would need to figure out who would be Priest’s “muscle.” I was bored by every kind of “muscle” I came up with until I talked to a stunt person who was so fantastic she inspired the character of Dusty Queen.

As anyone who talks to me knows, I’m a huge fan of your first book. At the time, The Driver was your first long-haul prose piece, and we spent a good chunk of time talking about how different that was from writing for TV and film. How did writing The Seminarian feel different from writing The Driver?

I learned a few important things writing The Driver that I was able to bring to The Seminarian.

What I was most proud of in The Driver is the depth of character. So, when writing The Seminarian, I was inclined to be less worried about diving into subplots that complicate Priest’s character. I took that even further here than in The Driver, and I’m happy with that direction.

I also learned how to tighten plot. Having gone back and read The Driver as it was being pitched for TV adaptation, I felt there were so many weak points in the plot that relied on my urge to direct readers, like “don’t look there—look here instead.” This time, I put a lot of effort into making sure plot details weren’t superfluous. Granted, the plot of The Seminarian is still very adventurous and, hopefully, puts readers into strange and weird places. But it bears greater scrutiny and makes sense when examined from multiple angles.

You did a great job at that! How did you keep every subplot so organized? I’m imagining an old-school detective board with lots of sticky notes and red thread pinned chaotically between them…

Not that far off! One way is by planning everything out, but sometimes, when you get down to writing, different things happen. Writing The Seminarian felt like a constant back and forth between my outline and what my characters actually wanted to do.

After I wrote my first draft, I had the urge to be super hard on myself by examining any potential red herrings and connecting them back to the plot in a significant way. This led to huge changes in character, pacing, and entire movements in the plot. I worked very hard to sift through these plot and character details so that everything made sense after.

One of the things I loved in this book is that there are no uninteresting or throwaway characters. Every side character is so fascinating they deserve their own book. How did you make them all so unique?

I learned working in TV for so many years that to have two-dimensional characters on screen is a problem in many ways. If your central characters are the only interesting characters with interesting stories, you are going to kill your leads because they have to be in every single scene!

At risk of revealing something vulnerable about myself, I feel I’m very much a solid secondary character in other people’s lives. I’m surrounded by people who are more interesting, fun, and clever. So, as a fellow secondary character, I feel the only thing I can do is give other secondary characters their moment in the sun.

It’s so important to have interesting secondary characters because of the effect they can have on your main character’s personalization and growth. A good thing to ask yourself when writing and editing is: does the story really need this character?

Something that stood out to me is how these characters aren’t just different in their build and backstories—they also have such different language. It’s so charming! How did you keep each character’s voice so distinct and recognizable?

This might be due to my TV training, but it’s ineffective to rely on characterization through parentheticals in dialogue, such as “ironically said” or “angrily asked.” For one thing, actors don’t like that—they need space to do their thing. Also, emotion should be suggested enough by the dialogue alone. The book-equivalent of this is if you have to keep clarifying who is speaking, maybe your characters aren’t speaking uniquely.

I like to go to the Venice Boardwalk or a local cafe and just sit and listen to the fisherman or other locals talk. I’m not very recognizable, so when I walk around with a camera in my hand, people assume I’m a tourist. I can sit and listen to people talk and pick up on their unique dialects, slang, and other quirks.

If you had to greenlight a series based on one of the side characters of this book, who would you make the main character in a different series?

Well, the smart answer would be Cody Fiso running a big private detective agency in Hollywood! That would be a very solid series.

Another fun option would be a series around Baz—a lawyer who tries to do the right thing and is surrounded by people who try to help her by doing the wrong thing.

Maybe CBS could make a series out of the two social workers giving air high-fives and making inside jokes that no one else understands!

When I tell everyone why I’m such a huge fan of The Driver, I commend how you tackle enormous existential questions through a fun romp. Still, I wasn’t ready for The Seminarian to tackle the existential romp of religion and the role God plays in the world so gracefully, but you did it! Why was that the big subject you wanted to tackle?

The minute you have an ex-seminarian as your main character, these questions are bound to come up. I read somewhere in passing that if you went to the Vatican and the people visiting were incredibly honest with you, most of them would say they no longer believe in the tenets of Catholicism but firmly believe we should live as though they are true. Priest has all the structure and mindset of a religious person, even after rejecting religion.

As for the larger existentialist questions in the narrative, I’m fascinated with religion and envious of everyone who is religious. In the years we’ve been together, I’ve told my wife many times I would love to be religious—I would love it. But you can’t make yourself believe something. If I can’t believe in religion, at least I can respectfully poke around in it in my fiction.

While writing The Seminarian, did anything elucidate itself about religion and life to you? Or did you come out with the exact same feelings?

I came out the same except I accepted there are great mysteries in life. I do not accept anyone knows the answers to them. One of the people I have existentialist conversations with is my good friend Rainn Wilson, who is something of a spiritual seeker. I remember saying to him once, “My poodle knows as much about what happens after we die as the Pope does.” People have theories, but not answers.

I think before the book was written, I understood certain characters’ decisions less. The shorter answer to your question is: I think when you write about people and these big topics, maybe you get a little less judgmental. Maybe.

Like 99% of novels on the shelves—and shows on the telly—we’re used to having a central romance, so I was shocked to realize, when I finished the book, that I didn’t notice there’s no central romance here! Why the decision to focus on something else as Priest’s motivation?

That’s a great question! In The Seminarian, the biggest question Priest has about romance is a chicken-or-the-egg situation: do I go out and get love, or do I behave in a way which allows love to come? It’s a bit like religion: do I have faith, or do I behave as though I have faith and the faith will follow?

I knew that Priest’s emotional story was going to revolve around the nature of friendship and the nature of parenthood. If I had Priest pursue romance, that would have taken away from the central thrust of these two themes.

I was also fascinated by the notion that perhaps he already met the woman he should have been with, but for all the reasons elaborated upon in the book, she moved on. He mentions all his relationships were with women who eventually decided they needed to be with someone that they’d want to spend the rest of their life with. So, Priest has bigger things to deal with than his love life, and he’s had enough failures with romance that I didn’t want or need to see another failure—and I definitely don’t think he’s ready to succeed. Perhaps if there’s a sequel, I’d like to explore what happens next time he runs into someone he’d be interested in.

Despite all this, this book, as a whole, is actually quite sexy! There’s so much sexual chemistry going on in the background that it’s absolutely ludicrous. Was this decision intentional to compensate for the lack of Priest’s romantic journey, or did it just feel natural for your other characters?

That is so delightful to hear! When you write a book, there’s a balancing act of meeting the elements of genre and taking risks. Although you have to satisfy your audience’s expectations, you can challenge the way they think about those expectations. The risks I took with The Seminarian being a detective story is not including a femme fatale and having absolutely no attraction between Dusty and Priest—they are really, really, really great friends. I would love to explore how their dynamic develops in a series!

Regarding the other characters, I think chemistry is a necessary element for stories. If I’m reading or watching something, and a character is not in a sexual or romantic relationship with someone, I want to know why.

Speaking of your previous work, you have so many different projects going on: You write books, you work on TV shows, you’re co-writing, you’re constantly travelling, and you have grandkids! How do you balance everything?

I’m really lucky to be one of those people whose job is to write! I treat writing as a workday—I put in my hours. Sometimes I look at other writers and think, “Oh my god, how prolific are they?” when I’m split between television and books (and yes, grandchildren). But it’s a rare day when I can’t get in six hours of writing. It’s my job—I love it, but it’s my job.

You left The Seminarian on such a huge cliffhanger that I’m going to be heartbroken if it isn’t turned into a series! Since everyone is going to desperately want a follow-up, can you tell us about any plans for future installments?

I have a very big plan. I have a bin full of ideas for characters, situations, and plots for this universe. Some of these ideas fit better with certain protagonists than others, but I think it would be shitty of me to not fulfill the cliffhanger element that I set up at the end of The Seminarian in another book. I do know where Priest is going to be in the beginning of the next book, and I have some ideas for which cases he might find himself embroiled in.

Becoming Visible

An Interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick Kelly Sue DeConnick is a comic writer and editor whose credits include Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet, Wonder Woman Historia: ThThe Amazons and many more. She is an outspoken and ardent advocate for expanded opportunities for women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other marginalized populations within the comic book industry. Kelly Sue started the…

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Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader,

In my eight years at the helm of F(r)iction, I’ve seen some issues come together like magic. Perfect stories shining through the darkness of the slush pile, celebrity authors ringing up at just the right moment, each artist nailing the concept on the first round of sketches. It was enough to make even the most cynical editor believe in the legendary realm of the muses, to see something so difficult come together so easily…

This, dear reader, was not one of those issues.

At every turn, it fought us. Ongoing COVID lockdowns in Shanghai in 2022—where our printer is located—set our production schedule back nearly an entire year. When a piece was locked, it didn’t paginate cleanly. When we found an artist we loved, the timing didn’t work. Again and again, we would get close, and then stumble at the ten-yard line. So badly, in fact, that we had to change the order of the issues we were producing, because the issue due out four months after this one came together faster.

But you know what, dear reader? Doesn’t that just feel right for an issue about the unseen? That an issue about invisibility and marginalization and feeling small in the face of overwhelming odds… of course, it is this issue that would fight its way into the world.

And that is what every piece has in common: the fight. When the world tells you that you don’t matter, that you don’t have a voice, that no one wants to see you, we are all given an option: to stay in the dark or to come out swinging.

But to really explore the theme, we needed, more than ever, to ensure that we pulled stories from authors with a wide array of backgrounds, races, genders, and orientations, each tackling the topic from a wildly different angle.

Some of these works are grounded in reality, from “undesirable” people going missing to invisible diseases—both physical and societal—threating to devour us. And, as in every issue of F(r)iction, this theme is also explored through the glorious lens of the surreal. You’ll find a shirt that promises to finally make you seen and loved… if you never take it off, a young Black girl haunted by her ancestors and the pressure of her legacy among them, and the ghostly consequences of the Texan oilfields.

But it’s not just our written content that brings the unseen into the light. As part of our partnership with comic legend Kelly Sue DeConnick’s #VisibleWomen initiative, we solely hired visual artists from marginalized genders to illustrate this issue, ensuring that this hugely unrepresented group of comic creatives receives the elevation they deserve.

Lastly, a special comic debuts in this issue, one that is very dear to our mission—and to me personally.

For those of you familiar with our parent nonprofit, Brink, you’ll know that as well as publishing this lovely journal, we also teach literacy and storytelling courses in marginalized communities. Fundamentally, we believe that stories have the power to change lives. Engaging with stories allows us to not only develop essential literacy skills that unlock academic and professional pathways, but the act of telling our own story—critically evaluating who we are and why—can also radically shift how we think about our own self-worth and place in the world.

The comic memoir “Brilliance” by Juaquin Mobley was developed in one of our programs. Juaquin’s story was hard fought for and developed through an enormous amount of time, self-reflection, accountability, and courage.

Today, Juaquin is no longer a student but a co-teacher, working alongside us to help other formerly incarcerated people develop the skills and belief to stay out of prison.

If I’ve learned anything from both curating this issue and my years of teaching F(r)iction in communities like Juaquin’s, it is that in order to end the cycle of being “unseen,” you need the courage to step out of the shadows yourself, develop empathy for people different from you, and—just as Juaquin is doing with his work and Kelly Sue is doing with #VisibleWomen—become a force to help others do the same.

I hope, dear reader, that the stories here inspire you, surprise you, and even upset you—because casting a light on unseen people, cultures, and experiences requires us to rethink how the world works, be open to the discomfort of having our own conventions questioned, and be courageous for ourselves and others.

Thank you for being a part of that mission.

Cheers,

Dani Hedlund
Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader, There’s a weighing scale in the locker room of my gym that haunts us all. Throughout the years, I’ve seenpeople step on it and start crying. At the end of a sweat-drenched cardio session, someone will stumble onto it, their eyebrows furrowed at the unmoved number, then limp right back to the…

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An Interview with Chloe Gong

Chloe, what inspired you to write this book?

Immortal Longings is my adult debut. So there were a lot of big thoughts I was having about what is it that makes an adult concept different to a young adult concept. I had to make a conscious decision to make the switch. My instinct growing up and writing books was always to go for young adult, because it was what I was reading. It was the type of genre categorization that I knew best. Whereas when the idea for Immortal Longings first struck, it was the first concept I worked with that I knew that didn’t really fit into that coming-of-age story arc. There was nothing about it that felt like a teenage story anymore. I think that was because I came up with the idea when I was in my senior year of college. It was still the midst of Covid. So, I had come back on campus because doing zoom school was horrifying and bland. And the time zone was terrible; I didn’t go to class. My professors let me skip class because my professors were like “oh you’re in New Zealand.” And it also meant I was not learning a single thing. So, I came back for senior year and during winter break I was alone in my school housing apartment because everyone went home for the holidays. It gave me the idea of working with a very dense city setting, I guess because I was so isolated. Thinking about what it means to live with people literally breathing down your neck, that presence of breathing down your neck at any point. It was that feeling that first came to me as a story idea.

I had always been very inspired by the Kowloon Walled City that was torn down in Hong Kong in the 1990s. I had always wanted to work with some sort of fantastical story to do with that. I had originally been playing with a portal fantasy that didn’t work and then some other fantasy in YA that didn’t work, and I threw them out. Finally, for this I was thinking what if I made an adult setting because I am exploring a dense city setting and the bad aspects that come with it if there is a system ruling over it and the very human things that come with trying to survive in a place. That just kind of erupted into the world and then that joined up with the fact that I had debuted into YA with Romeo and Juliet and I had taken a Shakespeare class sophomore year, where I really, really loved studying Antony and Cleopatra. I thought there’s something very meta about using the two star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare tragedy cannon, but Antony and Cleopatra are so firmly adult. They are about power and obsession and grappling with the sort of the tug and pull of love. So, there was a lot of like, “ooh, I am going to make this so that the books are in conversation with each other just like how Shakespeare’s plays are in conversation with each other.” 

Very early on in the book when you’re describing the setting it’s as if the setting is its own character. I found it fascinating that you built the city where it is so tight and there’s suffering, but there’s no relief because there’s not enough oxygen to create relief.

Given that San-Er was kind of based on the Kowloon Walled City, it is the exact same kind of thing, because there is no space for civil unrest, it is another arm of an oppressive system that just kind of goes “well, that’s too bad.” 

What was it like to grapple with an inspiration that is so unruly that critics can’t even decide what it is about.

I think I decided I wanted to pluck out the character study between Antony and Cleopatra first and foremost. People can’t even agree if it is a tragedy. Is it historical? There are so many aspects about it. Shakespeare is doing so much in the play. It’s not like Romeo and Juliet where the themes are blatant. I was fascinated by comparison essays I was reading about Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra. That led to an idea of meta type engagement as well, because I was reading an essay about how Antony and Cleopatra are essentially the adult versions of Romeo and Juliet but, as what happens when you reach adulthood, things suddenly become so much more complicated, right? Not that children’s lives aren’t complicated, but in a way, your coming of age is very much funneled down into one simple sort of self-discovery type goal. Whereas you reach adulthood and it’s suddenly about nation, it’s about interpersonal relationships, it’s about everyone around you. So, it was the characters of the play that fascinated me the most. 

Not to say I don’t love the intertwining of history as well. Like I really love the rise of the Roman Empire, which is why there are kind of bits and pieces that find their way into the world building of Immortal Longings. Whenever I pitch it, it’s the 90s of Hong Kong meets the rise of the Roman Empire. People are like, “what does that look like?” Well, we’ll see! You know so history made its way in through those aspects, but as far as the inspiration of Antony and Cleopatra is concerned, it gravitates towards the interpersonal relationship between Antony and Cleopatra or how the other characters, it’s not in the play so much, but Octavia the wife he left behind and his relationship with Augustus and then Octavian and Cleopatra’s serving woman and all those little character interactions are my favorite parts of the play. When I wanted to adapt it, it was like “how do I make those little characters feel like the source material but plucked in a completely new environment?” to kind explore, like, what would they become if you completely merged that around.

Talk to me about your writing process. Are you the kind of writer who is like “okay, I’ve gone through the entire play, I’ve outlined exactly how it’s going to line up with my new plot and then I sit down.” Do you sit down and let the characters come to you? 

A bit of both, I think. I’m a very chaotic writer, but I’m also very orderly. By that I mean, before I get into a first draft, I have everything very organized. My planning document for Immortal Longings is 20 pages long, because it’s the outline of the play, outline of my story, outline of every inspirational subtext that I’ve got going on, and then it’s basically the outline of everything I want to have happen in the further series. But then I’ll write the book, I’ll get everything into its base shape, and then I throw it all out. I need to do it first just to see what works and what doesn’t. Because when I visualize it as an outline, sure it works, it kind of makes sense to lay it all out, but the magic I love about writing is that sometimes things just work and sometimes they don’t. You don’t know what that will be until you do it.  I don’t really discover what the story is trying to say until I’ve done it once, and I see that things are not corresponding as they need to. And I kind of rip it up and do a second draft. And that second draft tends to be what I’m trying to say, and then the further drafts I’ll clean it up, and so on and so forth. But I need that chaotic tearing a book apart stage most times, sometimes there’s a structured book, and I don’t tear it apart that much, but I find that’s rarer than not.

Photo credit: JON STUDIO

How much of that first draft do you actually end up keeping?

I tend to start fresh. I open a new document, but I’ll put the old one next to it. So, I will pull lines and paragraphs. Because the writing is still there. But I need the new document, so I don’t feel married to the old structure. Because I found that if I keep that old document in and edit within it, I will kind of wimp out sometimes and just let the things sit in their old structure. But if I open a new document, I can be like well these chapter orders don’t work at all. So, I’ll tear it apart and start again.

Your word-by-word writing is extraordinary, it’s lucious, it pulls you in. Is that something that comes through in the first draft and you know your voice immediately?

I do think my word by word tends to mostly come in the first draft. I think partially because I have been writing for so long now that it is a bit easier to get what I want to say out there into the sentence level form. When I was first setting out when I was much, much younger there was kind of a discrepancy between what I saw in my head and what eventually I put on the paper because I just wasn’t as practiced yet in describing the things that I saw in my head. But now that I’ve been doing it for so long, I think, the first go at it gets a bit close. There will be bits where there are just pieces missing, where I’m like “that doesn’t sound quite right but let me just put it down first.” So, when I do the second draft migration I tend to go back, I’ve got a fresh pair of eyes, because of the first draft. I’ll never go back and edit the first draft, I’ll either do it all again and I’ll go back. So, by the time it’s the second draft it’s probably been a few months since I’ve seen it and I can see what I was saying there now and I can kind of adjust the words slightly. But I would say that most of my wording, if I am keeping it, probably remains as is. 

You mesh so many genres in this story, you have historical geo-politics to fantasy to monarchy systems to sci-fi. Did all of those ideas come together in outlining? 

I’m a cross genre writer. Even with my young adult books I have always been doing that. So, with These Violent Delights I originally pitched that as just a historical and it was later on that I was talking to my agent and she was like “no, we can cross this as fantasy, you have a monster rampaging the city.” And I was like, “yeah, yeah, you’re right.”  These Violent Delights is historical sci-fi, and then Foul Lady Fortune, even more so, is a historical sci-fi thriller, which, I found that when you throw too many genres at people, their eyes kind of glaze over. So, we were like “yes, this is YA fantasy” to kind of tidy things up. It is kind of the same with Immortal Longings. It is pitched as my kind of official adult fantasy debut, but there is so much about it that is, it feels different than what you expect when you say, “I’m picking up a fantasy novel.” I knew from the get-go that I wanted the world to feel like something 90s inspired, there was technology, but there is not technology that we recognize for our modern day. There is a magic system of sorts, but it’s not magic, it’s genetic. It’s something just that is part of their world. So fantasy is kind of just the little slot that it falls into because it has the sort of archetypes.

So much of your work is deeply tied to what makes someone them. How does identity exist in this world? And what was it like to explore identity when you can literally discard your body? 

To me it was this investigation into how different people value their identity as it ties to personhood. It’s a reflection of our world where people don’t jump around, you just have one body, but I still think that sort of spectrum exists and is reflective of how people perceive themselves. Some people think of their mind as who they are, and they don’t care about outer perception. Other people are very very sensitive to external perception.

What do you think you would do if you could jump bodies?

I don’t know if I would. I might be a Calla. I might be somebody who is really stuck to myself. If I had to, would jump into any random man in the street, I just want to see what it was like.

Do you think you would choose a stranger over someone you knew?

If it’s someone I knew, I’d be controlling them, and that’s weird. A stranger, they never have to know.

How did the transition to adult feel for you as a writer, versus your preliminary work? Did it feel easier? Was it harder? Was it unexpected? 

On a craft level, I wrote the book in my usual voice. So, I don’t think it was particularly harder than any of the other manuscripts that came before it. But on an emotional level, it was hard, because I had a lot of self-doubt. Because I switched to adult and since I was still writing it at 21, it gave me a huge, crippling sense of imposter syndrome. But I was just really, really going through on a personal level, like, am I enough of an adult? Do I know how to do my taxes?  Which led to this new step in my career, where I was like “oh god, am I going to be able to do the adult genre?” So, I just had to do it; I just had to take the dive. I knew the story couldn’t be young adult, it just wouldn’t work, that kind of atmosphere is not something that feels like a teenager would care about it. I think it’s something very many adults care about more. So, I need my audience to be adult. Otherwise, it was a lot of fun getting that freedom to write for adults. I love writing for young adults, but there’s always a little box that I kind of refuse to step out of, because there are certain things that I don’t think are as interesting to teenagers. When you write for an adult sphere, and you can get a bit more morbid. The same way that growing up kind of unlocks a box for you to think of the world a different way. It was a lot of fun but also very scary.

Want to read what we thought of Immortal Longings? Check out Marizel Malan’s review.

Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader, Two years ago, we did something stupid. As editors and readers, we’d grown disenchanted with mainstream literary journals, with their black and white pages and boring designs. We’d grown weary of the same old stories: always safe, always circling tired and cliché themes. We began to dream about doing things differently. This…

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Through the Unyielding Lens

Garth Greenwell’s debut novel, What Belongs to You, opens with a four-line sentence containing five separate clauses. The sentences that follow, shockingly, become more complex and esoteric, words—coterminous, ubiquitous, autumnal—littering the first paragraph, sentences rarely shorter than three or four lines. After the first page, I had the distinct feeling that this book was either going to…

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Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader, When this gorgeous collection hits the shelves, F(r)iction will be celebrating its first birthday. One year ago, the very first issue popped off the printer, a weird beast full of strange art and stranger stories. Back then, we held that shiny red issue in our hands, and we didn’t care how many people told…

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Improv and Inversion: A Feature with Marie-Helene Bertino, Author of 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas

Several chapters into 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas, a jazz ensemble steps onto the stage. They proclaim themselves to be a Cuban band, straight off the plane, gracing this stage for one night only. They are not. They are locals, American men dressed in baggy Cuban shirts, fake accents pressed through dirty microphones. The audience does…

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Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader, When we decided to start this new imprint, we were driven by one idea: we wanted to publish the very best stories, regardless of form, genre, or medium. No matter how controversial, we wouldn’t just publish literary fiction; we’d publish the daring stuff, the works that would otherwise fall through the cracks….

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When the Dust Settles: An Interview with Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

It’s a fascinating statement, and one that makes more sense when the world has ended. It “guides Emily St. John Mandel’s powerful new novel, Station Eleven, in which the end of the world is employed as a backdrop for a more interesting story about humanity. This is where Mandel’s story begins: society has ended, but life goes…

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Editor’s Note

Dear lovely reader, Like all great literature, F(r)iction was born out of conflict. In the fall of 2014, my desk was covered with new journals and anthologies, stacks upon stacks of the prose and poetry garnering critical acclaim from the literary world. I was ready to devour the best short-form literature the year had to offer. Two…

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