Highlights | 19-25 Oct 15

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The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott (Tin House)

Out this month from Tin House is The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott. Tin House can always be relied upon to provide fantastic new fiction, and this title is sure to garner attention. Elliott tells the tale of down-on-his-luck Romie Futch who attempts to reclaim his life by enrolling as a test subject at the Centre for Cybernetic Neuroscience. There, he hope to become “new and improved” by downloading knowledge of the humanities subjects into his brain. Safe to say, things do not go as planned, and Romie ends up on the trail of a mutant beast known as “Hogzilla” – a thousand-pound boar possessing supernatural powers. Elliott’s book seems encompass everything we love – undeniably weird, with sprinkling of the speculative and Southern Gothic. We are eagerly anticipating out copy!

Find out more on Tin House’s website and read an interview with Elliott to find out more.

Read Publisher’s Weekly review of the book here and read an excerpt here

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 Vintage Classics Bronte Sisters Series
Granted, the Brontes are not contemporary authors, but the dynamic literary sisters are back in bookish news (not that they every really left!). In honour of the bicentenary of the Bronte, Penguin Vintage Editions are re-jacketing Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte). These fantastic new covers deserve a mention because they so perfectly portray the eerie and Gothic themes embodied in these texts, which often gets let out in mainstream discussions of the Brontes. The jackets were wonderfully designed by Sarah Gillespie, find her stuff here. And just in time for Halloween, too – the only problem is you feel the unrelenting urge to buy the whole set!

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The Masters Review – New Voices for the Classic Ghost Story

Gothic is most certainly the theme of the week – the finial item on this list comes from The Masters Review. October is the month of all things creepy, and The Masters Review is determined to let their spooky side shine! The state their aim for the month is to “to bring you as many different takes on the ghost story as possible”, and this week’s feature is the new short story “Clean Hunters” by Lana Valencia. If you’re interested in a bit of non-fiction this Halloween season, The Masters Review has also published some great essays on the uncanny (“Something’s Wrong in the Garden”) and the darker side of literature in their Literary Terms series (“Literary Terms: Gothic, Grotesque and The Uncanny“).

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Highlights // 12 – 18 Oct 15

Injection_01-1Graphic Novels: Descender and Injection (Image)

Although we primarily focus on text-based fiction, it would be completely misguided not to report speculative fiction from the graphic novel and comic-based world. Recently, Image introduced two new titled to their impressive catalogue of speculative and weird works: Descender by Jeff Lemire, and Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. The first volume of Descender was published this September; a beautiful story which artfully mixes glorious space opera with a touching, “coming-of-age” type narrative humanoid-robot Tim-21.

And if that wasn’t enough, Image are set to release volume one of Injection. We can’t wait for this one – it contains a serialised collection of graphic novels which detail the fall-out of a 21st century “poisoned by five crazy people”. Injection has been described as a blend of weird, science fiction, crime and horror all rolled into one. So, naturally, we had to get in on that – we are ready to dive into our copy!

e433eb8de9132a354277d9f4b44fc17aR.R.A.P. Magazine – Black Speculative Fiction Month

R.R.A.P. Magazine is a great place that forefronts diverse stories, characters and writers from different backgrounds. Of course, this is a great initiative in any context, but October is a very interesting month. During October, R.A.A.P. Magazine are championing works of black authors writing speculative, fantasy and science fiction. Hop over to their website to see their selection of the best in speculative fiction, with a fantastic mix of often marginalised voices dabbling in the speculative genres.

Follow R.R.A.P. on Twitter here for more exciting discussions about race and culture in fiction and the media.

35108-1Publishers Weeky – Big Indie Books of Fall 2015

Check the Publishers Weekly list of the Big Indie Books of Fall 2015 which is chock-full of thrilling new titles coming out this autumn. There are some great titles on the list, such as Learning to Die in the Anthropocene by Roy Scranton (City Lights), The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House) and Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine (Drawn and Quarterly). It’s really important to support indie publishers – after all, they bring us some great texts that big publishing houses are reluctant to get behind. So wander on over to Publishers Weekly’s website and take a peek at the impressive range of essays, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction on offer!

Hope you found something you like here! If you have any suggestions or have something you would like to see featured in the upcoming weeks – please let us know in the comments! Keep the conversation going – MEGLO

What is the Contemporary?

The key concern for Meglo is contemporary fiction. So, we’ve put ourselves in a bit of a difficult situation here, because this means we have to define what “the contemporary” means. On the one hand, and for the simple the purpose of this blog, “contemporary fiction” plainly means new fiction. Anyone who is writing and publishing fiction at this moment can be considered contemporary. But, then, what is “this moment”? And does contemporary really simply mean “new” or “happening now”, or is it more of a cultural construct?

The idea of the contemporary implies time, and since human beings experience life inside time, the implication is that the contemporary is also an experience. Therefore, the contemporary is difficult to categorise because it is constantly in flux; once we state “this is now”, that “now” has already past and we are living in a future moment of “now”. Yet this difficulty of the contemporary is also its strength. The beauty of the contemporary is that it is constantly moving forward, propelled by the arrow of time.

So,  where does this leave contemporary fiction? When you study literature, you learn about literary movements in blocks of time – you move from medieval, to Romantic, to Victorian, to Modernism. This is a terribly simplistic overview, but you get the picture; literature is contextualised within its (very general) historical moment. But it is not unusual to hear people state that there is no movement within contemporary fiction. But Meglo is a space that seeks to prove this sentiment is false. There is so much happening in the contemporary literary sphere, in fact, there is not just one movement, but there are several!

The contemporary captures the spirit of an age, but the irony is that that spirit only becomes concrete once the current moment has past. We encourage constant discussion about contemporary fiction, because we believe that such a dialogue is  the sphere of the contemporary. Channels of communication enable the continuous flux, and the internet is the best place to open these channels, because here, everyone has a platform and everyone has a voice.

We concentrate particularly on weird and speculative fiction, because we think that the sf community is a vibrant place full of intriguing and cutting-edge ideas. Sci-fi has moved from it’s parents’ basement to join the populace, and the results are pretty interesting. Speculative fiction is also of specific interest because it blurs those antiquated boundaries between pulp/genre fiction and traditional literary fiction. And, as we’ve readily discovered, the contemporary is pretty much all a blur!

So does the contemporary come with the “end of history”? Does it belong in the moment of postmodernism, or evern post-postmodernism? Does the contemporary emerge with the dawn of the information age? We’re not sure, in fact, nobody’s really sure (seriously, try discussing this topic with a literature scholar)! Literature is constructed from and a response to the concerns of its time. Contemporary fiction is built of our current cultural, social and historical experiences, and the conversations these experiences inspire.

So let’s keep taking, the floor is yours

-MEGLO