Literary Reviews, Page 15

"Numbers,"  by Katherine Vondy


The Stickman Review is an online literary journal such as, among others, storySouth.  It is visually the most impressive E-zine I’ve yet encountered.  Both its internal graphics and its offered artwork from contributors are exquisite, as is the zine’s presentation and styling.

The Stickman Review offers literary short stories, poetry (unusually heavy with poetic works) and nonfiction contributions, including literary essays, interviews and memoirs.


Unlike most other online publications, the editors offer at least a nominal payment for contributions, which is commendable and should not be interpreted as mere tokenism.  On the contrary, those who produce this professionally presented free access publication should be commended for their efforts to advance online literature as an apparent sacrificial labor of love.


As to the fiction offerings, if one reads print or online literary journals

one is often confronted with stories written by angst-ridden, aging baby boomers reflecting upon their lives and bemoaning their misspent youths and missed opportunities over veggie burgers and jalapeno cheese dip. (Bourbon and cigarettes to earlier generations.)


A new wrinkle popping up recently is that now "Generation Xers" have joined their elders' chorus of woe, apparently intent on getting an early start, while characterizing being in their thirties as "middle age."  Thus, they start their litany of existential lamentations earlier than had their spiritual predecessors from Abbie Hoffman's era.


In one such offering from The Stickman Review, the reader is subjected to learning that a character, during a downturn in his social life, includes autoeroticism as a nightly part of his routine, which seems to presuppose that the typical reader finds his or her life as meaningless as does the character.


Literary stories are primarily intended as character studies and are usually pretty much devoid of plot or suspense.  They are often philosophical in tenor and strike nerves by way of social commentary. Such literature does not appeal to the average reader, though it is immensely popular in academic circles and with highbrow literary awards committees.  Entertainment and escapism are most decidedly not their mission, and one either enjoys this type of literature or one doesn’t.  It’s as simple as that.  Literary journals such as The Stickman Review will not blot their metaphorical notebooks with “genre” (perish the thought!) unless such a piece can eek out some claim of literary pretension in the process.  Click to continue:



Literary Reviews 16