Literary Reviews, Page 65

"Through Jelly Glass Darkly," by Nancy Stebbins.

Along with Clarkesworld Magazine, Menda City Review was named as the best new literary online magazine of 2006 by the Million Writers Award. Editor Terry Rogers is a writer, and one of his novels is offered for sale on the zine’s website. He’s assisted by Associate Editor Andrew S. Taylor and Editorial Assistant Daniel Bachleda, also writers. Their online publication offers fiction in the form of short stories to 8,000 words (though longer works might be considered) and novel excerpts, as long as the excerpt can serve as a stand alone vehicle for the benefit of the reader’s comprehension.

They currently also offer non-fiction as essays of socio-political commentary, which tend to have a decidedly left-wing slant; particularly focusing on environmental issues, an apparent special interest of the staff. As noted in my review of AGNI Online, it is certainly the prerogative of the management of any publication to harbor within their publications whatever political slant they desire. It just seems a bit tiresome, however, that so many of the literary journals I have investigated seem to hold a similar viewpoint. Diversity—as liberals are oft wont to point out—does have its appeal and virtues.

It would seem that the conservative intelligentsia has a penchant towards devoting themselves to the pursuit of business and wealth, while, conversely, the liberal intelligentsia would rather altruistically devote themselves to informing the former how (and how not) to make and spend it; and, it might be added, have a tendency to become quite annoyed when their well-intended and sage advice on such matters is cavalierly discarded. Thus, one witnesses the plethora of writers and editors of a leftist inclination as, oddly enough, wealth creators always seem to be vastly outnumbered by those with advice on how it should subsequently be spent.

Of several essays I read concerning environmental issues, I’d particularly recommend “Altar Call for True Believers,” [Issue 9, October, 2007] by Janisse Ray, a writer and environmental activist. The piece is the most assertive that I read, and it is perhaps indicative of the mindset held by the editorial staff of Menda City Review.

Although some might raise questions as to where one draws the line between a true commitment to (any) cause and fanaticism, I would personally commend Ms. Ray on her passionate espousal of her beliefs and a willingness to accept self-denial and to expose the hypocrisy of fellow travelers who, by their personal actions, belie the cause they claim to champion and thus fall short of being “true believers.” (Indeed, at times she sounds like conservative commentator Sean Hannity, an assertion I would suspect that Ms. Ray would find ironic and more than a tad disconcerting.) Click to continue:

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