Quest for Mira

Mira was named for a binary sun and she was binary, in more ways than one.


Though I was considerably older than her 31 years, I had always wondered if Alexandra was attracted to me. When she asked to meet me privately, at a quiet coffee shop, I knew the answer. True, she was also to meet the other members of the creative writing group on an individual basis, eight of us, in all. But as for my session, I believed there was an ulterior motive, a motive beyond her assisting me in my pursuit of becoming a passable fiction writer. read more

Primal Actions

Audio churned through my headphones like static in a washing machine. An ever-increasing banshee wail of unidentifiable nonsense, my hearing faced a sonic assault. I tapped one earpiece, then the other; an electronic scream for me to stop. read more

Strange Animals by Chad Kultgen

Let’s be honest, folks: Chad Kultgen isn’t for everyone. In fact, I’d argue he probably isn’t for most. Outside of his one turn in the sci-fi world with Darklight (which, admittedly, I haven’t read), his novels tend to focus squarely on the vile, sexual, masturbatory, selfish and destructive tendencies in relationships between men and women—with a specific focus on the male perspective. read more

To Tell the Truth



When my real mother dies, I go looking for another one. The Catholic Charities counselor’s word for this other mother I want, after decades, to find is “biological”. Illegitimate is another word for people who end up like me. It’s what I feel now: unlawful, unauthorized, unwarranted here in this office that smells like antiseptic and rubber gloves, hot teeth drilled down to bone. read more

Not Dark Yet by by Berit Ellingsen

At times, because I read incessantly, I grow weary of novels published by the major houses; novels that are written and released with the intention to reach a majority of readers and to sell. For palate cleansing I turn to books from indie publishers. Two Dollar Radio is such a one, run out of their home in Columbus, OH. by a husband and wife team. Berit Ellingsen is a Korean-Norwegian science writer and novelist who lives in Norway and writes in English. Not Dark Yet is her second novel.

A weird and wondrous novel it is. The first sentence: “Sometimes, in Brandon Minamoto’s dreams, he found a globe or a map of the world with a continent he hadn’t seen before.” He has just left his boyfriend in the city and gone to live in a decrepit cabin in the mountains, seeking quiet. His military experiences and an incident when he felt forced to kill a research owl haunt him. Inner quiet and outer space are his quests. He hopes to be accepted into the space program as an astronaut. His life in the cabin moves as slowly as a glacier through fall, winter, and early spring.

In flashbacks we learn his history and gradually come to realize that you wouldn’t want this guy in a spaceship with you.

As a teen, he used to dream of a “round body of water the color of the sky” that echoes a fountain he had visited with his mother when just a toddler. During a visit to their paternal grandparents in Korea, he and his brother went to a shrine containing the relic of a monk who had been mummified after fasting to death.

Then follows a story (from inside Brandon’s mind?) of the monk’s long and agonizing journey into the spirit world through starvation. Brandon’s conclusion is “He wanted to be happy.

What more does human life have to offer?” Self-imposed loneliness, more dreams of a bodiless spirit nature, training his body to survive in space, and a brief foray into environmental terrorism follow.

In a refreshing twist, this is not a post-apocalyptic novel but a pre-apocalyptic one. The awareness of climate change, melting ice, rising sea levels, violent storms, food shortages, and animals going extinct, permeate the story.

Written in close third person making you feel you are in Brandon’s head, seeing with his eyes, feeling the cold, longing for space, this is a novel that might convince even a climate denier to have another look.

Not since Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl have I experienced such an intense second sight meditation on where we are headed. Except that in Not Dark Yet, the elegant symmetry between one man’s yearning and the demise of the entire race moves it several paces away from an eco thriller.

The tone is more like early J. G. Ballard. Deadpan recital of mundane daily events punctuated with explosions of disaster or Brandon’s surreal dreams. I finished the book and could not leave the world she had created for hours. I cleaned the house and tried to read another book. No go. This is why I read!

Judy Krueger has been reviewing books since 2009. She also runs a literary blog She is a member of at least 5 reading groups and reads 7 to 10 books a month. Every now and then, she works on the autobiography of her life as a reader or on her novel in progress. You can follow her on Twitter at

Love Smoke

Or burn the skin of our compassion,

they get hugs, handshakes, drugs, blow jobs,

the pantomime road to 100 euros for a double male twice penetration

gifted from sad eyed prostitutes in the whore houses of Mannheim.

They get the masque of love, another useless arrangement of letters

from broken sad men all bad intentions and outward deflection

lost and he only dark grayscale black /startled

juxtaposed against the flawless playwright scored fog-smoke,

mental architecture of gentle white and endless snowhousing your and your’s

only buzz-saw blue eyed angels baiting their breath with your heavy praise.

Your lost and found erections bleeding red with mistakes as blood always does

makes you look inward for a holy moment and realize you never spilled a drop.

Teddy Ray Bullard is a 39 year old US Army Veteran, former gov employee and proud father of two girls. He grew up in rural SE NC, tobacco country, in a fairly religious household. He was first introduced to “underground/controversial” authors by way of a Rolling Stone interview with Michael Stipe (wherein he mentioned the beat author William S Burroughs). That interview was the catalyst for what would become a lifelong obsession with literature and a deep, abiding love for writing, both as an art form and as a means of self-preservation /discovery. His favorite authors are Harry Crews, Larry Brown, Hemingway, Murakami, and Raymond Carver.