Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"The Other Forty-Two" by Sean Williams

"Flash fiction," it seems to me, is usually used for trivial purposes: obnoxious little jokey clevernesses or underambitious purple masquerading as poetry, mostly. This glimpse of genuine grandeur and mystery justifies the form in a way these others never will. I have my usual objections — this onslaught of short paragraphs in a story that, with almost no sentence-by-sentence changes, should have been told in three, maybe four — but if one works to overlook them one might brush up against something real. The notion that Big Dumb Objects could be inexplicably common, and endlessly varied, combines with the peculiar non-physicality of our viewpoint (Heart thinks, examines, signals, moves, keeps her distance, but we get no hint of what bodily form carries this thinking moving acting eye, or what sort of vessel, or of what apparatus she has to perform any of these tasks with; all are simply assumed, and thus forever unknowable from our impossibly distant position) to create a sort of inconclusive dialogue about scale and physicality — object-ness — itself.

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