"But the bohemian narrative needed tweaking, as the old East Village went on dying. So I fudged together a grandiose tale of survival. I was the Last of the Mohicans, I told myself (“aha!”), citing the opening on Avenue A of the gourmet delicatessen Gracefully in 1999 as proof that our values were under attack by capitalism. I, descendant of Richard Hell, was to hold a valiant last stand before the neighborhood surrendered its anarcho-populism to commercial hegemony. Then, having decided my time was up, I would flee to the Upper East Side (I did just that), now the token artist moonlighting as an ironic has-been, raconteur to starchy lawyers and doctors. I would tell myself and everyone else that I’d been part of something real, something raw, something so unlike the preppy invasion, something no algorithm could ever predict, something unannounced."
Carlos Dengler writes about gentrification, social conscience, and more.
Today we celebrate what would be the 71st birthday of the late Octavia Butler, a pioneer in the world of science fiction, with "The Book of Martha," a short story from Bloodchild.
In this story, Butler works through her lack of belief in the possibility of a universally appealing utopia with humor and careful consideration. God summons Martha Bes to effectively ameliorate the conditions of humanity. As a result of the exchange, Martha settles on an original plan to satisfy God's seemingly impossible challenge.
PS: Enter to win a free copy of Bloodchild here, and take 50% off Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents through Saturday June 23, 11:59 PM.
The Seven Stories fiction list began with Nelson Algren stories, with titles like "The Face on the Barroom Floor" and "The Lightless Room." These are not exactly beach reads, nor are the books you'll find below. What you will find are novels rooted in this world, presenting the dignity of people struggling to make sense of it and in one way or another to change it.
So, this is another kind of summer fiction list. We hope you'll find much that will challenge, inspire, and engage, in times of darkness and of light.
All titles 50% off for one week only, through June 14, 5:00PM EST.
"I grew up in the colonies and I may not have learned politically correct English, but I did learn that imperialism always comes bearing the best intentions. It kindly enlightens the benighted, as it offers to cure their frustrations. But to be cured, savages must first mime the idiocies of their conquerors: trade when they trade, pray where they pray."