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The Anti-Odyssey

“The war is over. Troy has been looted and burned. A valiant Greek warrior whose name has been lost to posterity and so will be designated as X, loads his ship with treasure, hoists the sails, and sets a course for home.” So begins “The Anti-Odyssey”, a short story of mine in the newly published […]

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‘Death in Omsk’ in Kriticna masa

“What does it matter where you die, where you’re buried? It’s where you live that counts.” My burst of confidence clearly wasn’t being reciprocated. “I’m not so sure that dying in Omsk is any worse than living there,” Adam responded, his eyes staring blankly into a future of factory smokestacks, grimy snow and excessive drinking… […]

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‘Kryptonite’

“Superman, you say?” Vassily mumbled, musing over the name which we all assumed he must have heard of. “And you say he has special powers . . you mean of thinking?” “No Vass, he can leap over a building in a single bound and stuff like that. Get it?” Suzie said. “In fact, no. I […]

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‘The Literary Life of Russian Airports’

“What begins as a glance extends into lingering contemplation. She is going through my passport page by page, as if reading a novel. Then she turns to the computer for some corresponding information and back again. Her eyes have lit up. My first reaction is pride, that she likes it, but then I remember that […]

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The Cathedral of Es – Pilvax

“It was as if there was a roulette wheel turning, not with numbers, but with destinations that had evocative names: Sofia, Odessa, Bangkok, Istanbul. He had been watching the wheel spin, waiting to see where the ball would finally land. He would be happy to go to any of these faraway places and so assumed […]

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Literary Theft – Drunken Boat issue #13

The latest issue of Drunken Boat is out, including my short story “Literary Theft” – a story about, among other things – a literary theft, St. Petersburg and a nefarious urban legend. “Literary theft!” Ivan cried, suddenly going into some kind of rapture. “You stole that from my poem!” —Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov “Literary Theft” […]

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Adam and Eve – Pindeldyboz

Adam and Eve by Michael Stein It began as the obscure idea of a German philosopher, that our bodies are nothing more than the physical manifestation of our wills, and that our fingers can find their way on a keyboard, tie knots and make obscene gestures because those are things we probably wanted to be […]

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Persephone and Science – Cafe Irreal

Persephone is making her yearly ascent, trudging up the tunnel which leads from the underworld to the surface of the earth. A pinpoint of light guides her way, a distant star which gradually becomes a sun, before finally enveloping her in the blinding haze of daylight. As always, her mother is there waiting, although without […]

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Potemkin’s Empress – McSweeney’s

Potemkin had built his legendary villages to be viewed from a distance as the Empress passed by in her carriage. They were meant to be merely glanced at, for effect, like a neon sign or a fashion model, and were created accordingly. But what if the Empress decides to leave the designated path, what if […]

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A Fairy Tale (part 2) – Pindeldyboz

A Fairy Tale (part 2) by Michael Stein read part one The storyteller, meanwhile, is already far, far away, racing through time and leaving the past behind him, as the cliche wisely tells us to do. “Good riddance,” he says to himself smugly, if in fact it is well and truly gone. For his trained […]

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