July 16th, 2012 / 9:09 am
Author News & Web Hype

Forty Stories from Harper Perennial

Fifty-Two Stories, as you might know, has dropped forty at once (downloadable now as a free PDF, and as a free ebook on July 17). The forty include sick fictions from Lindsay Hunter, Shane Jones, Scott McClanahan, Catherine Lacey, Kayden Kross, Blake Butler, Brandon Hobson, Roxane Gay, Adam Wilson, Kyle Minor, +30 more![!!] Somewhat related: has anyone ever walked into a physical bookstore to acquire a free ebook? Did you get your free Slurpee on 7/11/12?

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  1. deadgod

      Forty new pieces of work[…] all surprising.

      That’s an interesting criterion (accidental commonality??).  What does “surprising” mean here?  –something/s obvious?  (‘I haven’t seen that situation treated that way.’  ‘I didn’t see that twist coming.’   ‘That final sentence/paragraph is a killer.’)  Or something more, what, transformative?

  2. Nicholas Grider

      I’m guessing surprising in sum, as in “Wow, do we really need another one of these things, free or not, online or in print?”

  3. deadgod

      Ha ha, I hadn’t thought meta.  But a free anthology including stories by at least a few writers one will rely on being good?  –surely a Very Cool Thing!  It’s a thing I “need” — not like oxygen, but more than I “need” that drink at ‘last call’.

      I’d meant the question seriously:  is there something in great writing that stays “surprising”?

  4. Nicholas Grider

      I was just being a curmudgeon as usual.  I think great writing retains an ability to reveal, if not surprise, with subsequent re-readings, and maybe the possibility of further revelation is surprising.  When I reread books as different as Infinite Jest or Ali Smith’s Hotel World I always find something I’d overlooked or else I see/read it differently.  

      A maybe iffy analogy would be music: some albums you listen to hundreds of times but on time 153 you notice a little bass run you weren’t looking for because you’d started out listening just for lyrics and melody, while with some albums you can feel you’ve worn them out, more or less.  They’re not less pleasurable, just maybe simple/direct enough (just voice and piano?) where it’s easier to investigate every sonic crevice more quickly in a variety of listening contexts.

      Or: maybe there’s something in great writing that doesn’t stay surprising but stays mysterious, but that’s a cagey statement too.

  5. Nicholas Grider

      I’m not slagging the anthology itself, though.  It’s just that these things can smack of the mechanics of framing, and I can’t ignore the framing and just read the probably mostly good work.

  6. mimi

      “I think great writing retains an ability to reveal” –  I agree. 

      And the reader evolves (in the interim, between his readings of a piece) – he brings to subsequent readings a changed (evolved/matured/renewed) possibility of the reception of revelation (and perhaps even surprise).  

      But I think deadgod, in citing from the ‘blurb’, was questioning the meaning of “surprising” upon first reading of forty (!) pieces.

  7. Eric Raymond

      Thanks for posting this. Shout out to all the +30, myself included, who were lucky enough to be de-slushed by Cal Morgan. 

  8. » “Barnacles of the Fuzz” out in Forty Stories: New Fiction from Harper Perennial D. Foy

      […] ebook, the work’s got a fair amount of media play. The NYDailyNews threw out a nice rev, HTMLGiant gave it a nod, Jason Rice, at Three Guys One Book did a nice rev, […]

  9. nemjiao