The Barcelona ReviewAn electronic, bilingual, bi-monthly, English-Spanish Review of Contemporary Fiction, REVISTA INTERNACIONAL DE NARRATIVA BREVETBR Small Pressshort stories, bilingual, translations, poetry, audio, Catalan, Spanish, Castellano
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issue 33

International Review of Contemporary Fiction

Nov - Dec 2002

Short fiction. Trauma Plate by Adam Johnson.
It’s a tough world when a young girl thinks she has to wear a Kevlar vest at all times. Adam Johnson's 'Trauma Plate' presents a disturbing and paranoid (and humorous) vision of just such a world, one in which you can find a bulletproof-vest rental shop in a deserted strip mall. Is this the near future? Is it right now? Or is it some slightly skewed parallel universe? However you perceive it, you’ll enjoy this highly imaginative story by the critically acclaimed Johnson (U.S.). From Cuba we have a translation of a short piece by Pedro de Jesús, whom El País (Madrid) is calling "the new Reinaldo Arenas." In 'The Letter' erotic desire transgresses notions of sexual orientation, just as fact merges with fiction.

And from the U.K. we have an excerpt from The Velocity Gospel by Steve Aylett, one of TBR's all-time favorite cult writers (see 'The Waffle Code' and 'Atom and Drowner'). The book is the second from the Accomplice series (see TBR review of book one, Only an Alligator). Accomplice is a town, it has a mayor, it has an underground demon, it has a whole cast of freaky characters who may not exactly be from this universe, but are eerily familiar just the same.

In our Picks from Back Issues, we have two stories set around Christmas: 'Still Life' by Deirdre Heddon from Scotland, dealing with a strung-out performance artist; and 'Cougar' by Canadian Mark Anthony Jarman, in which a suicidal man goes off to cut down a Christmas tree and, just to make his day, runs into a cougar.

We had no winners for our Raymond Carver Quiz although we had a huge response. Check out the answers here. This issue our quiz is on Children's Literature. Do you know who Freddie, Flossie, Nan and Bert are? If so, you’re off to a good start.

Last spring TBR was invited to submit two stories from 2001 for a contest hosted by editor Melvin Sterne of Carve magazine. The idea was to select the best short fiction available on the Internet, to be compiled into a print anthology: e2ink-1: The Best of the Online Journals 2001. Pamela Houston served as guest editor. TBR is pleased that both of our nominees made a showing: John Aber’s 'Massage' made the short list and Jim Ruland’s 'Kessler Has No Lucky Pants' was chosen to appear in the anthology. It will appear in bookstores this December. We’d like to congratulate the editors for undertaking the project and creating an annual print forum for "the best of" Internet fiction.

Other news: regular readers of TBR know that we have long championed the independent publisher Canongate Books - the small, Edinburgh-based house that first published Irvine Welsh, Laura Hird and Michel Faber, to name a few. Another author they had the vision to publish (when five major houses in London turned him down) was Yann Martel. Last month Martel’s book Life of Pi went on to win the prestigious Booker Award (and Michel Faber’s latest, The Crimson Petal and the White, is being praised on both sides of the Atlantic). We’re thrilled for founder/publisher Jamie Byng and for Yann Martel (see TBR review of Life of Pi from issue 26). It is especially satisfying to know that a small, independent house - described by Martel as "an anarchist commune" - can not only compete with the huge mainstream conglomerates, but come out on top.

Book reviews this issue include the latest by Bharati Mukherjee and two from U.K.’s Serpent’s Tail, another favorite small house continually putting out exciting new (and reprint) fiction.

We’ll be back around the second week of the new year. If you’d like to be notified when new issues are available online, just send us an e-mail with "Subscribe" written in the Subject Box. It’s all for free and your name will not be used for any other purpose.

Jill Adams
  Jill Adams, editor


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With over five years' worth of short fiction, plays & interviews from such diverse talents as Douglas Coupland, Irvine Welsh, Pinckney Benedict, G.K. Wuori, Scott Heim, A.M. Homes, Alan Warner, Poppy Z. Brite, Laura Hird, Elissa Wald, Jason Starr, Brian Evenson and new kids on the Net like William Cuthbertson, Aimee Krajewski, Jean Kusina, David Alexander, Lenny T and Victor Saunders. This text is the link.

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