A Webzine of Astonishing Tales


Issue #4, Fall-Winter, 2007

Agranoff, Anders, Flurbert, Goonan, Kessel, Laidlaw, Robinson, Rucker, Sellar, and Thomas!



Issue #4 Contents:

Rudy Rucker
Heironymus Bosch's Apprentice

Kathleen Ann Goonan
What Science Fiction is All About, or,
The Amazing Dancing Chairs

David Agranoff
A Fifth Noble Truth

Marc Laidlaw
The Vicar of R'lyeh

Gord Sellar
The Egan Thief

Charlie Anders
Anxiety Branson, Social Security Hustler

John Kessel

Penelope Thomas
Mountain Memory

Kim Stanley Robinson

Gustav Flurbert
Irene Leaves the Werehouse


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From the Editor

September 19, 2007

So here's Flurb #4, kicking off a second year of Flurb's world dominance of literary and unclassifiable SF-related webzines that are illustrated with paintings and photos by me. I plan to settle down to a leisurely pace of two issues a year.

This another fat and juicy issue for which the contributors are receiving no money at all. If you like it, please favor us with a friendly note at the comments link, which lives on Rudy's Blog.

And now for a rundown of Flurb #4.

My narrative about Hienonymus "Jeroen" Bosch is drawn from my current novel-in-progress, Hylozoic, a sequel to my novel Postsingular. It was wonderful and somewhat debilitating to log so much imaginary time with the guy. He showed me how to finish my novel and its accompanying triptych.

Kathleen Ann Goonan sent in a witty, warped, flowing, political, sfictional, satirical gem about life in Tennessee. An unsettling delight. Surely SF writers shall inherit the Earth.

David Agranoff, a newer writer, comes up with a mind-bending riff on body-mods. "Whiteheads," haw! There's a vibby dissonance between Agranoff's tale and John Kessel's "Downtown."

The cardinal of gnarl, Marc Laidlaw, sent in a supremely sinister and satirical Cthulhu piece that I've been begging him for. Marc and I just got together and wrote another surfing story in our Zep and Del series; it'll be on the cover of Asimov's in January, 2008.

Gord Sellar, another emerging writer, sends evidence that it is in fact none other than Gord Sellar who wrote all the stories in this issue of Flurb. This startling claim is seemingly verifiable on the basis of pixel-level steganographic signatures: note that, e. g., the cellular-automata-generated pattern to the left, when viewed properly, is in fact an image of Sellar's face.

Charlie Anders, the sharpest-tongued emcee in San Francisco, is here with tale I'm so sure is great that I haven't even read it---but now that I've formatted it, and illustrated it (using the Surrelaist principle that any image fits with any text), I finally have time. Hmm... Oh my God! Stop the electrons before this gets out!

Writer and anthologist John Kessel zings us something like On the Road compressed into a six-hundred-and-sixty-six word cyberpunk haiku. With a happy ending, no less.

When I turned sixty, my wife had the inspired idea of asking the party guests to write SF stories involving me. My daughter-in-law Penelope Thomas delivered this transreal and UFOlogical version of a trip our family took to the Sierras.

Kim Stanley Robinson weighs in with his gripping memoir of a long day's hike through god country in the Swiss Alps, complete with a life-threatening Flying Object and a Mechanized Tunnel Beast.

Wrapping up this issue we have something along the lines of the old Zap Comix jams---where a bunch of the regular contributors contribute individual frames to a single extended cartoon. Marc Laidlaw orchestrated this, and came up with a fitting name for the emergent group writer mind: Gustav Flurbert. This story may be the first of a series. Read at your own risk.

                      ---Rudy Rucker


Back Issues:

Issue #1, Fall, 2006


Issue #2, Winter, 2006


Issue #3, Spring-Summer, 2007



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