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J.G. Ballard in the New Yorker and more short stories

May 4, 2009 |  3:01 pm

The new story "The Autobiography of JGB" by J.G. Ballard, who died April 19, is in this week's issue of the New Yorker. It feels to me like he got up in the middle of the story and never came back to finish it. But then again, Ballard was always messing with readers' expectations -- maybe that's exactly what he wanted. 

Esquire has rejuvenated its love for fiction with the online publication of the short story "The Gray" by Aaron Gwyn -- it starts with a barfight, then gets ugly. Esquire promises more short fiction is to come. And the magazine is holding a new fiction contest: entries are free, deadline is Aug. 1, no more than 4,000 words and the story must fit one of three titles provided. If your story isn't called "Twenty-Ten," "An Insurrection" or "Never, Ever Bring This Up Again," it's not going to have a shot at the $2,500 first prize (or the accompanying publication in the magazine, either).

At the Emerging Writers Network, Dan Wickett points to a story by Ben Percy he anthologized in "Visiting Hours." The story, "Where to Begin," is online on Minnesota Monthly's site, and, in its own gerontological way, it's as brutal as Gwyn's Esquire piece.

Louise died, things changed. The dying part started with a stroke and ended a month later at the Muskego Rehabilitation Center ... when night came — when there was no more racket, no sunshine, no neighbors ringing the doorbell to hand him peach pies and hamburger casseroles — crying came with it. He called this blubbering. Crying was for pantywaists. Blubbering he could deal with, somehow.

Less outright wrenching and more off the beaten path is "The Museum of Whatnot" by Kevin Wilson, posted recently at 52 Stories. Honestly, if someone really was selling T-shirts to the MoW, I'd be buying.

Winners of the Macavity mystery awards will be honored in October in Indianapolis. Sarah Weinman has the complete nominee list; Laura Lippman, Dana Cameron, Tom Piccirilli, Sean Chercover and Toni L.P. Kelner are the finalists for best short story. But, darn, I couldn't find any of their nominated stories online (if you can, let us know in the comments).

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: jamtea via Flickr