A man with yellow hair takes me down to a basement movie house where other avatars are watching a porn film on a screen. The cartoon me in the polka dot dress in a basement porn house and the flesh and blood me in the bathrobe at the desk are both riveted by a video of flesh and blood strangers projected on a wall in a cartoon universe.
The perfect friendship of butter & grilled sourdough, the hard-to-place fruity scent of cactus candy, the joy in anticipation of pizza delivery, all gloss over a deep, universal, inevitable melancholy.
By Alex Weilhammer
They lived in a box by the side of a road, and within their box, they were gods whose thoughts came to life. With a sudden snap, they could collapse walls, raise ceilings, add stairs, re-do flooring, conjure statues, erect fountains, and more.
In all the months they had been living in...
A novel excerpt by Cecilia Hansson
From Natur och Kultur, 2019, translated from the Swedish by Kira Josefsson
A BEGINNING OF SORTS
When I go to Erstagatan to be unfaithful it is spring, and I am 31 years old.
For four years I’ve been trapped inside a relationship, and this is me breaking out.
By Yvonne C. Garrett
Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel since his Nobel Prize (2017) explores the nature of human love and the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. The narrator is Klara, a human-like android known as an Artificial Friend or “AF,” explicitly designed to be a companion for a human child. Klara’s unique perspective draws us into her world: a near...
March—I woke up to snow in my hospital bed.
April—three days have passed without any dreaming—we met.
May—I turned twenty-four and this was enough for you to be mad.
By Caille Millner
A few weeks before my city issued a shelter-in-place order, I gave birth to my first child. While I was learning how to be a mother, the coronavirus pandemic was decimating economies and cleaving communities. It was disproportionately killing Black Americans and laying bare the brutal costs of the country’s collective unwillingness to invest in everything from basic...
translated by Mark Kanak
I used to complain about my long-distance relationship. I wrote heartwarming letters full of longing and “what if” speculations—once I even wrote a story titled “Empty.” That’s how I often felt after our encounters, empty. Our professions prevented us from visiting each other every weekend. Worse still: the damned job was the reason...
Here in the time of the great panic, people retreated to their bunkers, the people of the past come forward. Yesterday we found a path at an odd road, named as if after a bad blues song, like Coffinnail Cove: I’m going there to find my beloved. But this was true; at the mouth of the...
by Andrea Scrima
I know the tidal pull of the blood; that a mere glance can send plumes of fire curling through the nerves. After J. arrived: the sudden, mind-controlling molecular saturation of pheromones in the air, a maddening inability to concentrate, to think of anything at all. Intoxication, situational insanity, delusion. An attraction so fierce it made...