Climatic Exile: An Interview with Erik Martiny

George Salis: You have two new novels out since 2018, The Pleasures of Queueing and Night of the Long Goodbyes. The former novel was published first so technically it is your debut, but which one is your first novel? Also, how do these novels compare and contrast? Are they in conversation with each other or totally disparate?

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I noticed the symptoms after my last surgeries: gastric E-Zpass, electroshock of my kidneys, gallbladder flush & fill, and liver elasticity test. Dr. Ming Gulah was the surgeon. Even though he is on the FAA ‘No Fly List,’ he came highly recommended. The operating room lost power halfway through my procedure, but I was told they were able to compensate by utilizing two car batteries and a giant hamster wheel, which the intern spun. I was discharged three minutes after the operation. They wheeled me outside to the bus stop with a map pinned to my gown, since I couldn’t talk. I arrived home three weeks later missing my gown, wallet, and cell phone. I felt fine even though I was vomiting blood and my skin was a purplish-green color. For my recovery process, I was given: a bottle of vodka, roll of duct tape, and Vicodin, which was secured under the gurney mattress to avoid theft and misuse.

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Gumball Blue

Gumball Blue

“War,” the little girl says, “is when papa is gone.” If you look out the window, you too might see the horizon line fizzing like a lighted fuse. It began years ago. More and more words were allowed to choose their own meaning, and now we find ourselves surrounded by random fragments of abstruse codes. Don’t you think it’s time for a gumball machine that dispenses eyeballs? Everything else has failed – duty, honor, country. We need to have a conversation, decide on a plan, something, before unfamiliar birds visit us in our sleep, stripping dream bushes of every last berry.

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Old Ephraim (an excerpt from The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas)

The mechanism that relayed the visual majesty of a still panorama of mountain and valley, river and tree line, snow and sun, shadows unseen yet known and darkness invisible where life ate life and thought not, or where desert yielded scrub cactus and range, the living seen still or as the disappearance following on rapid bursts of movement, what relayed these for indescribable sensory bloom inside a man as majesty, this is what Tom Garvin sought with his meditations and was awarded for delineating fecklessly in prose poems.

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Punnery & Nunnery: An Interview with Rick Harsch

Rick Harsch’s new novel, The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas, is now available in a special edition run of 100 signed copies. At over 700 pages, the novel “is in part a story about what empire has wrought, and how over the recent two centuries the United States rose to global economic mastery and nuclear proliferate madhouse. But it is also an absurdist masterpiece and a metafictional epic rooted in American history (including the story of Hugh Glass, his journey along the Salmon River and the epic battle with Old Ephraim, a giant bear), and the impact of that history on our modern society (the movie by DiCaprio notwithstanding).” Order here.

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Quetzalcoatl Comet

He looks out across his resplendent city in the glowing sunrise and sees the sacred sun silhouette the Temple of Tlaloc and Huītzilōpōchtli. Will the latter god save them from the annihilation in his recent dreams, or had the war god grown sick of the priests’ gifts of gory hearts and flayed corpses? Had he decided to do the unthinkable and abandon the Mexica to darkness, famine and extinction? The dawn sun basks the sky in a fiery orange. The water of Texcoco scintillates in the light, and the causeways reach out to the world beyond Tenochtitlan, from where the strangers with metal skin and moveable volcanoes for weapons will deceive him and raze his kingdom to the ground.

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Some Random Thoughts on Voice (Or, Why Writing Programs and Workshops Aren’t Really Worth Your Time)

The name of this column is taken from Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel. The entire passage is as follows: “My dear, dear girl [. . .] we can’t turn back the days that have gone. We can’t turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire—a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron—which we cannot get back.”

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