Monday, August 12, 2013

Intrepid Travelers - Nicholas Litchfield, ed.

I've been so involved with genre fiction for so long that I tend to forget that I once read a lot of literary fiction, too. (Of course, literary fiction is a genre of its own, but that's probably a discussion best left for another time and place.) What it's always boiled down to for me is that a good story is a good story, no matter what cubbyhole people try to put it in.

The Lowestoft Chronicle is an on-line literary magazine run by Nicholas Litchfield that publishes fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, usually (but not always) with a travel theme. It branches out from time to time into other areas, such as these interviews with me. Nicholas Litchfield did a great job with them, and I'm glad that the first one has been reprinted in INTREPID TRAVELERS, a fine new anthology showcasing some of the pieces published in the magazine in 2012. There are two more interviews in this volume, one with bestselling travel author Franz Wisner and the other with Randal S. Brandt, librarian and expert on the life and works of mystery author David Dodge, who also did a considerable amount of travel writing. Both interviews are entertaining and informative.

I'm absolutely the most unqualified person in the world to talk about poetry (the closest I ever came to writing any was the lyrics to an unrecorded country song that popped into my head one day). Let's just say that I enjoyed the poems in INTREPID TRAVELERS. I can talk about the fiction, though, and it's all good. Some favorites are "Cracked Windshield" by Tamara Kaye Sellman, a story about a young woman who delivers cars from one side of the country to the other that felt to me like it ought to be the opening chapter of a novel; "Bloody Driving Gloves" by Hector S. Koburn, a short, potent, noirish crime yarn; and "The Final Ascent of Hal Tripp" by David Klein, a tale about climbing Mount Everest that strikes a Kilimanjaro-esque note although the plot is very different from the Hemingway story. I really liked the writing in all of these. There's also the supremely silly "You and I Have Something in Common" by Brian Conlon, which is about a very bizarre job interview.

More than anything else, INTREPID TRAVELERS is refreshing. It's well-written, takes the reader to a wide variety of literary destinations, and makes even a confirmed hermit like me want to get up and go somewhere. Highly recommended.

No comments: