Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tonight's post will be brief, as I'm busy reading Rhian's post-apocalyptic lesbian gang novel. Man, this stuff is foxy--wait 'til you see what they're getting up to in their caves! It is just TOO HOT FOR BANTAM DELL!

Meanwhile, I bring you news of a new magazine called Murdaland. It is, apparently, a haven for literary crime fiction, and its web site is lovingly embedded with scary noises. A colleague of mine gave me a copy of the first issue, and although I haven't read the whole thing, it seems pretty damned good so far.

Crime fiction lives and dies by the opening line, so let's see where we stand with Murdaland #1...

Rolo Diez: "Night falls and there's nowhere to go."

Anthony Neil Smith: "I wanted to plan the coolest funeral ever for my girlfriend."

Kaili Van Waiveren: "Meatball opens the door holding a knife."

J. D. Rhoades: "These days, they mostly used the backhoe."

Tristan Davies: "In the course of my job, I sometimes wear a Boy Scout uniform."

Who the hell are these people, and where have they been all my life? (To be fair, I have met Tristan Davies, but this is the first thing of his I've read.) It's funny, there are established literary writers here (Mary Gaitskill and Richard Bausch), but they resist the temptation to start off with a corker...as much as I admire them, I'll be reading their stories last. Fast and lurid wins the race.

Go subscribe to this thing--its editors should be rewarded.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to mention, Issue 2 of Murdaland is available now in book stores or via the Website.

Lots of interesting stuff, including stories by Scott Phillips, Vicki Hendricks and Harry Hunsicker, as well as a novel excerpt from Jayne Anne Phillips.

5 Red Pandas said...

This is really exciting. Thanks for pointing it out to us!

I always feel like a tool when I tell people that I like "literary mysteries", because that sounds a bit pretentious, but it's true.

I haven't read it yet but I picked up a copy of David Markson's two-fer detective book: Epitaph for a Tramp & Epitaph for a Dead Beat.

I don't like the back cover because it says: "Before achieving critical acclaim as a serious author..."

Now, surely you can be a serious author and do a little bit of both, can't you?

5 Red Pandas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Saflo said...

It's cool that they made it to issue two and that now there's a somewhat big magazine for crime, not simply mystery, fiction, but I wasn't very pleased with what I've read from the first issue. Especially the story about the kid who goes to his girlfriend's funeral. Just...meandering, amateurish stuff. I also hate puppies and kitties and sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Bummer if it isn't so hot, I haven't read much yet. But I love the idea. Make it good by submitting something good.

I have written to them to see if they might be interested in reading an excerpt of my Great Unpublished Literary Crime Novel.

Pandas, I bought that Markson too, on a friend's advice, but haven't read it yet...it certainly looks to be quite different from "Wittgenstein's Mistress." For instance, it contains paragraph indents.

Hmm...wonder what that deleted comment was...

Neil said...

About that "meandering, amateurish" story Mr. Saflo mentioned, here's what NewPages.com said about it:

"My favorite pieces combine gore and humor in uncanny ways. Such as Anthony Neil Smith’s “Lovers Through All Eternity and Forevermore” is about a Goth boy planning his girlfriend’s funeral. The first-person narrative is exquisitely macabre. This line is an example: “Oh, my lover Hannah. She was good in bed. Often at climax, she’d scream, ‘I hate you!’” This is an exclamation that belongs in Murdaland. It fits the theme like a telescopic lens snapping snugly into place above the rifle’s barrel." (review by Sheheryar B. Sheikh)

And, yeah, I'm the guy who wrote the story. I'm not saying it's everyone's cup of tea, but just giving you a different reader's take on it. I loved nearly everything in Issues 1 & 2 of MURDALAND. Esp. Hendricks, Hunsicker, and R. Narvaez's "Roachkiller", which is masterful.

Cheers. Glad you loved the first line. I found this blog through a mention on Dogmatika. And I really enjoyed "Eight Pieces for the Left Hand" from BASS 05. I even assigned it for my workshop students to read.