It’s nomination time again! We recently sent out nods for the annual Queens Ferry Press Best Small Fictions anthology. We also nominated for the Eric Hoffer Award and the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
The nomination process is always difficult — we published so many amazing pieces in 2016 — but eventually we narrowed it down. We’re pleased to share our picks for this year, and we hope you’ll reread a few of these favorites (and check out other work from these authors).
Best Small Fictions anthology nominations:
- Ashley Hutson, for “The Hen of God,” published in The Conium Review Online Compendium (online).
- Matt Tompkins, for “Souvenirs,” published in Souvenirs and Other Stories (print).
- Jessica Roeder, for “Birth,” published in The Conium Review: Vol. 5 (print)
- Shane Jones, for “Gazebo,” published The Conium Review: Vol. 5 (print)
- Jasmine Sawers, for “Tiny Little Goat,” published in The Conium Review: Vol. 5 (print).
Eric Hoffer Book Award nominations:
Independent Publisher Book Award nomination:
Eric Andrew Newman at Necessary Fiction has reviewed Matt Tompkins’s Souvenirs and Other Stories (Conium Press, 2016).
He notes “In his book Souvenirs and Other Stories, Matt Tompkins is able to bring magic to the mundane . . . ” and he says the stories “all pack a narrative punch.” The reviewer goes on to compare Matt’s style to that of George Saunders and Manuel Gonzales.
Eric closes the review by saying “While every narrative in Souvenirs and Other Stories seems fairly simple on the surface, they ultimately have multiple layers and grapple with more complex issues than those seen at first glance. Not only do the stories wrestle with loss, but also companionship, family, reality, and sanity. Each of the stories deals with the kernel of a bigger issue, but never in a heavy-handed and always in an entertaining way.” Read the full review at Necessary Fiction‘s website.
NewPages has a new review posted of Souvenirs and Other Stories, by Matt Tompkins.
The reviewer, Katy Haas, spends much of her review talking about character development. She notes the plain and calm demeanor of Matt’s narrators as they grapple with the surreal, as if each is hoping “to just make it through the life they’re given.” Katy closes her review by saying “In Souvenirs & Other Stories, Tompkins shoves the door wide open and welcomes the surreal into reality. With characters and situations that are relatable despite their oddities, readers are sure to connect with this pocket-sized collection of flash souvenirs.” We couldn’t agree more!
Take a look at the entire review here, and purchase your own copy of Souvenirs here.
On the island, the greatest hunters move together, as one mass. They are so great. They have killed many things such as eagles, trucks, trees, tigers and people. When the greatest hunters roam the island, people come out of their houses to yell, “Roam, roam!” This is tradition. No one knows if the cry is an admonishment to go away and roam far from here, or if it’s a banner of respect for the hunters’ peripatetic life.
This has all happened for centuries.
Don’t we all want to be the greatest? Haven’t we all been pushed too far?
The greatest hungers roll in on themselves. They don’t got no step that ain’t for themselves. They slide. Then, past a new cemetery, all dug up and mounded: “New Lots Available: 784-2948.”
Something cracks in them, then splits. Sounds inside like a nose clicking, some deep disruption sinus cavity click. Deep click that disturbs the inner throat and head peace.
They take protective and reactive measures, which include don’t look at the moon and be celibate, especially from creeps. But it’s no good, the cemetery split has seeded and gone to grown, like tapping the tiniest nail into a temple. Pain is good until it pulls asunder, and down they go, collectively. What good is a great hunter who’s scared of dying?
That’s the kind of rhetorical question that great hunters dread, because there’s only one answer. They are, in a word, fucked. Useless. Once such swelling handlers of the hunt, now staring blank into their own ever-present hanging graves.
And so, now what? Can a society survive without its great hunters? We didn’t think so. We thought we’d go hungry, as fucked as they were, but no, funny thing, we survived. On our own. We didn’t kill no elephants, but we made it by trapping song birds, whacking them and subsisting on their songs, which proved much more mentally enlivening than any strand of animal protein, if also a bit less sustaining. We went peace. And after we ate the great hunters, we decided nothing else would ever be designated as “great.” We certainly weren’t, and we knew it, even when the songbirds proved hard to trick, because they grew wary of our traps. Still, we were so far from great. Our songs were pretty, sure, but we were the only ones who heard them. They were only for ourselves.
Sometimes we think back to the days of the greatest hunters. Such thoughts are always red and fleshy. We often remember the anger inherent in meat and chase. Sometimes, we must admit, we miss the smell of it all. Such carnage smelled thick with industry. Now it’s all sound, and that sustains us. We sweat sound, now, and smile all as one song. We make our hand gestures that say, open up, and we sing it.
About the Author:
Jefferson Navicky’s work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Crossborder, Quickfiction, Stolen Island and Hobart. He works as the archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection, teaches English at Southern Maine Community College and lives in Freeport, Maine with his partner where they watch the bluejay boss the bird feeder.
This piece was selected as part of the “Dis/appearances” theme, guest edited by Matt Tompkins, author of Souvenirs and Other Stories and Studies in Hybrid Morphology.
Image Credit: © bekkersara – stock.adobe.com