August 2018: Fame & Celebrity

Inside This Edition

It’s our third-ever August issue, and this time around, we’ve decided to focus on the concept of fame and celebrity—but don’t expect a sugar-coated bunch of stories all about glitz and glamour. On the contrary, this selection of short fiction challenges our assumptions, tackling even the lowest lows of fame.

The Middle Child by Andrew Feldman is a black comedy examining a Christian family band—and, in particular, the family’s oft-neglected, hapless middle son. Hysterically funny, The Middle Child is also packed with its share of shocking twists as the protagonist goes to extreme measures just to get the attention he craves. With its perfect blend of sociopolitical commentary and superb, page-turning writing, The Middle Child might be the most unique story you’ll read for quite some time.

After that, we have Zofia’s Not Her, a piece about a woman who engages in an ill-advised online friendship while under the guise of being a celebrity. A thoughtful critique of the intersections of fame, beauty standards and social media, Not Her is heartbreaking at times, funny at others, and consistently recognizable due to its frank portrait of the world and flawed, deeply human characters.

Sean Sanford’s story, Wendy’s Rafters, is a stylized piece that touches on many different themes, seamlessly gliding from one to the next and bringing them all together with a well-realized ending. A truly surprising tale that utilizes language to maximum effect, Wendy’s Rafters is grisly in all the right ways—a story you won’t soon forget.

Next we have Last Letter from Longyearbyen by Greg Roensch, which follows a man who is doomed to infamy after a trip to the arctic goes very, very wrong. Suspense builds as the piece masterfully unfolds to reveal the supposed misdeed at the story’s center; the plot is fascinating enough—and the writing strong enough—to sustain even a full-length novel, but instead it smoothly wraps up in a tight 1,725 words.

Schrödinger’s Cat is a more offbeat, understated interpretation of the theme, examining the titular cat of Professor Schrödinger as the two lead quiet, peaceable lives in Vienna. Quaint and sweet, Schrödinger’s Cat is written from the cat’s point of view and gives beautiful life to a feline’s inner monologue.

Our penultimate piece is the deeply relevant Fauxpology by Salvo Montmartre, a piece of satire for the modern age. About an actor whose inappropriate behavior finally catches up to him thanks to the #MeToo movement, this story lampoons the many terrible apology statements that actors have given, as well as the subtle and pervasive forms of misogyny that are ingrained in our culture.

Finally, we have Shipmates by Zofia, about two celebrities kidnapped by obsessive fans and made to take part in some real-life fanservice. Horrifying and hilarious in equal measure, Shipmates is a reflection on the dangerous extremes of fandom and the ugly side of fame—but manages to package these heavy themes in an entertaining and digestible package.

These tales may inspire you think differently about fame and celebrity, but—like celebrities at their best—they’re also guaranteed to entertain you from start to finish. So take a break from chasing that spotlight and give ’em a read.