“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
Hello Forum Magazine readers! Today we’re talking about Dystopian art and stories, or, more specifically, your favorites within the Dystopian genre. Whether we love, hate, or carry a lukewarm temperament toward it, we must admit that Dystopian art is definitely popular, right now. We can argue the reasons for or merits of this amongst ourselves later, but for today’s discussion is about your top three Dystopian pieces (whether visual or written art).
So our question to you is: do you have three favorites that you consider the best in the genre, or even just the best representatives of it? What do you consider the three art pieces, stories, novels, plays, what-have-you that are the first three Dystopian pieces that someone new to the genre should see?
1) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
2) 1984 by George Orwell
3) The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins is a very close runner up to this list.
But enough about my favorites, what are your favorites? Please, comment below so that everyone can see, and possibly appreciate your top three.
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!
Angie Chau’s daring 2010 short story collection, Quiet As They Come, has been adopted for classroom curriculum at universities and high schools across the country–including at our own City College of San Francisco.
Finalist for both the Commonwealth Club Book of the Year and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year awards, Quiet As They Come explores the lives of Vietnamese immigrants as they struggle to adjust to life in San Francisco. Three families share a house brimming with secrets, dreams, and desires. Some thrive while others are destroyed by the false promise of the “American Dream”.
Chau, winner of the 2009 UC Davis Maurice Prize in Fiction, has been published in many distinguished literary magazines. Her work has earned her a Hedgebrook Residency, an Anderson Center Residency and a Macondo Foundation fellowship.
Chau was born in Vietnam and traveled throughout the world before settling in California. She earned a BA in Southeast Asian Culture and Political Economy from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in English with emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Davis.
How old were you when you left Vietnam? Where did your family move to?
I was three years old when we left and four by the time we arrived in San Francisco.
In many immigrant stories, most people are caught in between two cultures and trying to find harmony with both. What was your experience of leaving home and moving to another country? Or if you don’t remember, what was it like for your parents or the rest of your family?
Your question is beautifully put and it’s an eternal question. How does one find happiness, balance, harmony, and live life gracefully? I think it’s a question that every individual struggles with regardless of country or creed. Maybe this question comes to the forefront in immigrant stories because the differences in cultural norms and tastes can be so striking when a person is uprooted from one country and put into another. It sets up tensions that are accessible for good storytelling if done right. In practical terms though I whole heartedly confess to picking and choosing what I like best from each culture, whether Vietnamese or Western, and selectively integrating what I like.
We line up and we know what they think of us. We know they see us as freaks; we know they do not see us. It took a long time for me to see that life is more than what you see, and I think some folk do not, they do not ever see that. They go on, to them we are our shirts, pants, legs, arms–each of us a bone, all of one corpse, we go to the fire. But what makes me, that is more than the me you see. It is the thought, the choice, the laugh; it is the thing that I do with my eyes when I smile or frown, the ways my skin folds–these make me. Mom, she’s in front of me. She has short hair, too short. It looks bad and makes her feel like a small thing when she is a big thing, at least to me. She has bad clothes too, clothes that the camps didn’t want. They take all from us, but don’t want what she has. It is too poor for the poor; the work dust on it will be food for the fires. My dad, his son, they are sent to a camp far from us, over the fence, the cold fence. We do not hear from them, but I hear that the men, they have it worse than us. They are told: work, work, work, work, then die. We are just told: die. One girl, she has a baby. They pass the babies through the hole in the fence. Those that are not like us, some of them take the ones that are small enough to fit through. I think of what will happen to them, those small babes born in the midst of this death place, those ones that get set free. And I think I should have had such luck, to be one of them, and not me. They break us up now, and make us form two rows. They scream. We scream. I can’t reach her hand. She can’t get to me. They have clubs and guns. I don’t know why they take us apart just to push us back together. Maybe for fear. There we were as one, one more time, all our big Jew bones in one room. That’s what they say: your big Jew bones, you brown girl–but I’m not brown. The room is closed. There is no light. They line us up. No one fights. There are dead with us, and small ones too small to do much but cry. We are one, and that’s how they burn us.
Copyright © Sarah Hoenicke
When the fires went up on the last day,
the embers flew into the sky, crackled
like the stars that were no longer there.
Words went into the flames
lives, records, whole stories
consumed in the heat of change —
they fueled our endings, threw
up the hot air that stirred our sails;
they were funerary offers to a dead world.
When did it start? When they left us?
Now we leave each other
and I stand alone with strangers
on the last beach, sand on the edge of some hell.
We will leave in the black ships lost out
in the darkness, riding at anchor.
I hold the jar against my body,
the glass warming almost as if
it has already been touched
by the flames
the paper charring inside
gasping out its last light before falling to ash.
I unscrew the lid, put the jar down,
tie the packet of papers to the smooth stone
I hold in my pocket.
I glance again at the words,
the black ink, all the things
I can remember, all of me,
all of us. I toss it toward the fire
and soon it is gone and
all the world is doomed.
I turn and walk in the sand,
not sure I want to sleep,
not sure I want to wake.
The sky is black.
Copyright © Ayo Khensu-Ra
When my grandmother
was asked why she can’t complete
before going onto
the next – continuously
confusing her listener –
she considered for a moment
that she thought too fast –
she thought too fast
and by the time the words were
free, had flown from
her mouth and lingered
long enough to be heard,
that she was bored by them.
Her dialogue was
in effect old news,
and she was ready for the next
morsel of information
as it was ripening in
her mind. The pathway,
the expressway from thought
which moved at the speed of light,
in its conversion to sound.
Consequently her listeners
could never enjoy the velocity
of her internal brainstorm
and were never privy
to a fully realized
Copyright © C. S. Hull
Following in the spirit of Forum‘s recent publication party—which, if you missed, was a great success and a lot of fun—we are hosting a second open mic and reading this semester, this time at the ever-excellent Cafe La Boheme. Located next door to the 24th Street BART station, Cafe La Boheme is not only easy to get to but also serves as a dependable locale for finding good food, drink and conversation—and, in the case of this upcoming Sunday, a chance to hear the latest literary works of the CCSF community as well. So whether you have some new or old work you would like to read, you’d like to hear some great stories and poetry, or you’re simply looking for something to do Sunday night, come on out and enjoy the festivities!
When: Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 5:30 PM
Where: Cafe La Boheme (3318 24th Street)
Here is a preview of Jordy Lynch’s Holding Up the Circle, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Jordy read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue, video from which can be viewed below.
I looked up.
Clouds spread out across the sky, covering any blue the atmosphere usually reflected, resulting in a range of dark and light grey. The mottled sky peaked through treetops and around rooftops.
I was walking to the lake, the usual sounds of gunfire absent today. The gun range across the lake was only open on Wednesdays and Sundays. I think it was a Tuesday. I always wondered why the lake in the city would have a gun range attached to it, but the lake absorbed any missed rounds. Plus the water acted as an excellent surface for the gunshot reports to travel on, and I enjoyed the periodic noise of the firing range.
Jerome Steegmans, General Editor
Author. Editor. Occultist. Publisher. On my bedside table: Terisa Batista; Home From the Wars by Jorge Amado; Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston; Norse Mythology and the Modern Human Being by Ernst Uehli; The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi; the February 2013 issue of Poetry; the Winter 2012 issue of The Paris Review; A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson; The Red Book (or Liber Novus, a reader’s edition) by C.G. Jung; The Old Testament, by God (sic). On my eReader: Finnegans Wake by James Joyce; Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov; Nine Lectures on Bees by Rudolf Steiner; Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace; The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; the Alan Moore stretch of Swamp Thing. Perhaps I am reading too many things at once …
Seth Luther, Managing Editor
Seth Luther is the managing editor this semester for Forum Magazine. He is currently reading Kobo Abe. He also likes very much Kafka and Vonnegut. He is also the mastermind behind Magicwear Manwear Underwear: a manufacturer of manly magical underwear designed specifically for men who are magicians. His efficiency studio apartment receives no light causing mold to grow on his face instead of facial hair.
Nick Witstok, Fiction Editor
Nick Witstok is in his third year at City College and is a fiction junkie/editor at Forum. He has taken a handful of creative writing classes, reads Cormac McCarthy almost religiously, writes surreal/dark fiction, jams at local metal shows, and is currently working on a story which will undoubtedly drive him insane. Also enjoys Faulkner, Hemingway, Thomas Harris, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Joseph Conrad, Tim O’ Brien and The Art of War. Continue reading Meet the Spring 2013 Staff