BEYOND STORYTELLING? Introduction to Issue 44 Fiction by Edwin Riddell

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Identifying new trends in literature is always a hostage to fortune. But with no effort on my part, there seems to be a pronounced element of social and political comment in this issue. Sitting alongside some sharp, often wicked humour, it’s a potent mix.

That word “story” seems hardly to suffice in some instances. God is a Teenage Girl is a jeremiad of sorts, suffused with what the old satirists called ‘savage indignation.’  Ronald Regan and the Angels has a pronounced but clever political bent. The sombre, speculative Bullet Story, 1974 links the infamous on-air suicide of a TV presenter with the onset of the murderous reign of serial killer Ted Bundy. Every time I look at this, I see something new.

If it’s legerdemain you want, Lilac is a strong candidate. A delightful take on aspects of West Coast Hispanic culture, but even here there is some sharp social comment. We Must Have Blood is hilarious, cartoonish, small town fun poking – and then some. Kids These Days perhaps stands out a little from the rest generically, an effective and moving combination of sci-fi and ghost genres.

Once again, I’m afraid, some very good material got left out.