The week’s best online fiction, with recommendations from FictionDaily’s editors.
The Musical Brain by Cesar Aira, trans. Chris Andrews, The New Yorker
Everyone probably knows about this because it’s in The New Yorker and I don’t usually write about or feature anything from there because everyone already knows about that stuff and features it and retweets it and whatever. But Cesar Aira is worth a little write-up because he’s probably the North-American-English-Literature-Official Market/Place-for-Exciting/Exotic-Spanish Writing machine’s next fodder. For instance, Bolaño–the machine’s most recent fodder (whom I love, btw, both the machine and Bolaño (where would we be without our dear machines?)) called Aira, in a preface to An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Artist one of the best living Spanish authors. That’s paraphrased, but you get the point. Aira’s the next up. Get on the train. —David Backer
“I would dress my baby in fox pelts. I would polish my baby’s head ’til it shined like a bus,” says talented person Megan Martin. Obviously she’s a gifted trapper and furrier as well as poet – but what kind of caretaker? And isn’t that the name of the game, really? Extrude & Defend. So many littler, livelier flames into which the dying content of one’s hearth is divided and more firmly insured. Rabbits beget scorpions. Lions beget goldfish. Greyhounds beget iguanas. Even things, so portentously plump!
(Computers carrying unborn young. Oxford shirts carrying unborn young. Pancakes carrying unborn young within their golden, fluffy bodies.)–Ryan Nelson
“Stalker” by Ed Gorman, Beat to a Pulp
The dynamic cosmos of the internet isn’t just for the Cyber Generation – you can find electrifying fresh material from great veterans too, like Ed Gorman. “Stalker” is Gorman’s offering at Beat to a Pulp, and it shows that his keen storytelling techniques are as timelessly effective as a knife to the throat. Gorman’s prose and plotting is pared down to pure steel, and he aims right for the nerves. It’s a delight to see a pulp stylist still atop his game, so spend an uncomfortable quarter-hour reading “Stalker.” You’ll find that the high-octane hardboiled classics are classics for a reason: Sharp, savage style like Gorman’s never fails to be flammable.–M.C. Funk