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Monthly Archive for April, 2013

On the advice of a friend, Crane filed suit; the case was decided against him, but the product was withdrawn after the parents of children with Animate Paint sets discovered that a simple stroke of chrome-yellow or crimson lake suddenly took on a life of its own, streaking across the page and dripping brightly onto […]

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Whole At Last

Father had shot himself in the head after being discovered in Disgrace. We didn’t know what kind of Disgrace, but apparently it was the catching kind because we were all in it, too. We didn’t care what other people thought, but Mother took it hard. She came from a very old family and she was […]

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New Beginnings

First of all, authors of the fantastic have some sort of clinical aversion to exclamation points. The Millhauser stories, in particular, are fantastic in that they are told in a rather cut-and-dry way; the dresses covered everything, the tower touched heaven, the paintings were moving. An element of the fantastic is that it tries to […]

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La Liberté

(Perhaps the dogs always told these stories and we could not understand them. Now they tell their stories here in North Park, as does the pack in Cruz Park a little to the south, and so across the world. The tales are not all the same, though there are similarities. There is no possibility of […]

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Millhauser’s story “A Precursor of the Cinema,” feels as if he combined his two other stories “In the Reign of Harad IV” and “Eisenheim The Illusionist” to create a larger story on motion, illusion, and advancement of technology. Millhauser seems to grasp two sides of man, the curious and those who want to go beyond […]

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Long Story, Short

I will curse the stars and go down fighting. But it will still have been a wonderful thing, to cross the mist. “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” Three things make this story eerie. One. I feel as if I’ve read this story before, or had this experience at one point in time in my […]

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Conceal or Not to Conceal

“Women, it was argued, were never more naked than when concealed from view (174).” When we consider the lengths in which a Muslim woman in Iraq, for example, might go to cover her body, this line is particularly intriguing. The implications of this line could be that a woman’s choice of dress speak to her […]

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It was as if, after half a century of reckless exposure, a weariness had overcome women, a yearning for withdrawal, a disenchantment with the obligation to invite a bold male gaze.  In every skirt fold and blouse button, one could sense the new longing for hiddenness.   I’ve found that Millhauser’s imagined histories have quickly […]

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It was titled Waiting for the Right Moment. One day, she explained, he’d pass by the window and, given the correct lighting, moment, and identical gesture, his shadow would match, for an instant, the painted one. His feet tingled as he stood uneasily at the edge of the flat, dark shape. “It’s only a matter […]

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Fashonistas

The new dress completed the urge to concealment by developing the bodice upward into a complete covering for the face and head. Now the Hyperion dress entirely enclosed the wearer, who was provided with artful spaces for the mouth, nostrils, and eyes…Women, who had gradually been disappearing into the hidden spaces of the new style, […]

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The Tyranny of the Body

Fashion is an expression of boredom, of restlessness, the successful designer understands the ferocity of that boredom and provides it with new places in which to calm its rage for a while. Millhauser takes style obsession to the extreme in “A Change in Fashion” and comments on art in the process. Art, especially the fantastic, […]

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It’s Only A Matter of Time

Her bare feet were fit into a pair of her dancing shoes, opposite one 0f his empty pairs. Her eyes were closed and she was smiling as her shining body swayed before an invisible partner. He returned to bed unseen and so disturbed that he didn’t notice when she came back to lie beside him. When […]

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The fantastic element of this story seems to follow the pattern of much of Millhauser’s work in that it contains a plausible attempt to explain scientifically or logically something that doesn’t actually exist. Rather than introducing the fantastic without explanation but with enough surety to keep readers from questioning it, Millhauser spends a great deal of time examining how […]

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I loved this story. The characters emerge from Johnson’s prose fully imagined and engaging. The world is fascinating and weird, but Johnson was so sure of it that I never questioned mist solid enough to support a boat through which swim monsters. The story stayed grounded in real problems, starting with the need to build […]

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Waiting for the Right Moment

What’s so fantastic about a man falling in love with a woman and finding out she’s crazy? Nothing. Does Graham’s story have fantastic potential? Well, I thought so at the point of the story where she is dancing in the shoes that are glued down, but Graham’s ending had me not seeing where that one […]

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“Waiting for the Right moment.” I enjoyed the flow of this story. Graham seems to have a firm grasp of each of his characters. As the story continues from their first meeting until the ominous end, we see something else in Graham’s story, momentum. His pacing is really well thought out. I have one complaint […]

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“She could teach them her fudoki and they would become her family. She would have a home again.”  “People have their own fudoki, Small Cat realized, though there seemed to be no order to the stories and she didn’t see yet how they made a place home.”  “Everyone wanted to tell their stories and to […]

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Ponies

At first, I didn’t think Kij Johnson’s “Ponies” was a story about peer pressure. Honestly, I didn’t think this was anything but a nightmarish Nick at Nite special. It wasn’t until Jenny and I were having lunch that I saw the light. “So that was pretty awful,” I’d said over my chicken. “Peer pressure stories […]

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Legends and Journeys

The fudoki was the collection of stories about all the cats that had lived in a place. It described what made it a home and what made the cats a family. Mothers taught their kittens the fudoki. If the mother died too soon, the other cats, the aunts and cousins, would teach the kittens. A […]

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There is also a third way, which is the one I like best. That’s when you can stop for a moment, midway along the path, and turn your head in both directions: toward the other town, which shimmers through the thick branches of oak and pine, and toward our town, almost obscured by the woods […]

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