Manual Facade: a novella of illusion and insanity (The Facade Novellas Book 1)

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So, Satan decided to investigate this Jack fellow for himself. The next night, blotto beyond imagination, Jack was staggering his way back home along a midnight path, when he stumbled across a dead body. His natural reaction was instantaneous: rummage through the pockets and see what he could find.

The body rolled itself over, face twisted in vile glee. Jack was screwed. Before Satan could swipe his soul, Jack made a swift final request. Do a feller a favour. One last drink, one ale with the great Satan They found a fine pub at a crossroads nearby, and drank the night away. Jack, a prodigious drinker, got through well past a dozen tankards of ale, his stories getting wilder with each one.

Soon his eyes were rattling around in his head. It was almost time to go. Jack, slurring, asked Satan to pay the tab. He was, as they say, a little light. Satan was too. He was not in the habit of carrying around money. He transformed into a coin. Jack placed that coin in his pocket. Also in his pocket rested a crucifix. Satan was trapped. Jack laughed as he left He told Satan the coin of his plan, that he would seal him in a box with the crucifix, and dig a hole incredibly deep and far away from anyone, and he would bury Satan in that tiny box where he would be forced to dwell forever.

Unless he made a promise to Jack. Satan had little choice but to make the pact. Jack was victorious! In fact, he was better off than he had been before the encounter. Now he could do absolutely any foul thing he could think of, and there would be no punishment for it, he would not wind up in Hell. He drank, deceived, manipulated, beguiled, boondoggled, committed fraud, flim-flammed, betrayed, covened like a mad bastard, and doubledealt more vigorously than ever before. He knew no bounds, he ignored all morals, he cared not one jot for the damage he wrought upon other living beings.

Eventually the drinking caught up with Jack, and he dropped down dead. His soul drifted off towards Heaven. God Himself stopped Jack. A soul so full of sin could not possibly pass through the gates. Off Jack went to Hell. Satan too refused him entry. They had, after all, made a pact. Satan could not take Jack into Hell, even if he wanted to. He gave Jack an ember, one that would burn forever, marking him as a denizen of the Netherworld.

And every Halloween, Jack comes searching with his lantern, looking for that house with no lights outside, looking for a new place to finally call home… Be careful out there on the streets, people. With two kids, three cats, and a job in care, for Steve Conoboy writing fantasy fiction is a quiet respite from the madness of normality. A Graveyard Visible, available now in paperback and ebook, is his second YA horror novel.

His first, Macadamian Pliers, is out in ebook. His short story credits include Polluto magazine, Voluted Tales, and Kzine. He lives in North Shields, UK. We refused him, because we are grown men uninterested in playing at reality television scenarios. This gives him the effect of always being right.

On the first day of the Madness, New Orleans attempted to go about business as usual. After demon attacks resulted in numerous car accidents across town, most humans wisely chose to stay inside instead. The demons felled trees and power lines, destroyed cars, and picked fights with anyone they came across. But I am a vampire, so the demons quickly learned not to bother me.

I could run them off easily, as long as no humans were on hand to witness the altercation. This became easier as the day progressed and the human authorities, tallying the fatalities and the damage costs and observing the darkening clouds that hovered over the city, instituted a mandatory curfew and ordered residents and tourists alike to remain indoors. All nonessential functions were shut down, and only approved city personnel could travel about the city. The Louisiana National Guard was also activated, a gallant choice that would soon backfire spectacularly.

As night fell, I realized that, as problematic as the Madness was, it also offered a solution to one of my usual problems: Feeding. For once, I could feed freely, and the results would be dismissed as another unfortunate demon attack in the morning.

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That was my theory, at least. So, close to midnight, I went out to hunt. I considered inviting Adrijan along, but ultimately decided against it. I slipped amongst the shadows and along side streets, avoiding the many varieties of police stationed throughout the Central Business District. There were demons everywhere, hanging from streetlamps and tussling among dumpsters, but the coverage was a bit thin in my area, so I went to the Warehouse District a few blocks away, where the numbers of demons running about and of humans breaking the curfew were both significantly higher.

I can drink demon blood, but, like animal blood, it does not sustain me. I passed on all of the demon options and instead sought out something human or relatively similar. The warehouse seemed quiet on the outside, but I sensed a large concentration of humans inside. The makeshift bouncer let me through the door without asking me any questions, and inside I found quite a wild gathering lit by strobe lights and filled with heavy, aromatic smoke.

It looked like any other pop-up rave. I have been to plenty in my lifetime, both as a guest and as an infiltrator. There were no demons inside the warehouse. I changed that by sneaking up to a rear door and propping it open. A handful of demons caught the scent of densely packed humans, and they found their way into the warehouse. As they set about their usual destruction, I looked around for an ideal target. Near what functioned as the VIP section was a youngish man who was both drunk and high, if his reaction to the demons was any indication; he was laughing hysterically while throwing back the contents of a large brown bottle.

He would make a relatively uncomplicated meal. I made my way across the room, dodging demon-human fights here and there, intending to approach my target at an angle. Just as I closed in, there was a flash of light, and someone crashed into me from my right. What are you doing here? I extended my claws and let my fangs descend. The demon was a rubbery humanoid sort, a shapeshifter that had some effect of durability. But, facing the two of us, the demon had a change of heart, and it threw itself through the back door instead. Christian finally understood my intentions.

My friends are far more aware of and understanding towards the plight of a vampire thanks to having been around me for years, but they still do not grasp exactly what it is like. I kill to survive, after all. I did not say this out loud, but perhaps my lack of response or some wayward facial expression gave away my thoughts. Christian shrugged and gestured toward a different man, similarly isolated and as yet untouched by the demons.

Sometimes he needed to learn the hard way. But I will admit that it is much easier with help. In short, Christian and I took the target down and I fed well. As I expected, the death was counted among those caused by the demons that night, and no one ever suspected a vampire of it, much less me specifically. Then we left the scene and made our way back along the side streets, remarking on the tomfoolery of the demons around us. At some point, Christian checked his phone. I saw him frown and tap at it in confusion.

Wordlessly, he handed the phone to me. I scrolled through dozens of photos of us tackling the target, and of me drinking from him. I was aghast. They just appeared on my phone. The lights of a patrol car swept over us, and we backed into the shadows until it passed. Deborah Dixon is an author and editor residing in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She has written three novels, seven novellas, and several short stories. Her next novel, Falling Stories, is due out in autumn She lives with her houseplants, Thing 1 and Thing 2. In her new novel British author and former BBC broadcaster Ellen Frazer-Jameson reveals how even a picture-perfect image of beauty, privilege and endless riches hides despair, heartbreak, betrayal and loss.

She had never felt so desirable in all her life. She spun away from the mirror to face her mate. The thick velvet cloak fanned out as it followed her around. She paused at the top of the stairs, her hands sweeping across the tightly laced corset of her dress, before calling back down the hall. Numito was watching her from the bottom, a gang of ghouls, zombies, princesses and monsters gathered around him. He bestowed a proud smile on his daughter-in-law as she stepped towards him.

His hands landed softly on her shoulders before he adjusted the full red hood over her head. I just shudder to think how Julio plans to complement your costume. Numito groaned as he shook his head. Just be careful, and be aware, Quintessa may need to put you on a leash if the cops spot you both, or anyone complains. His wolf damn near purred at the contact while she sighed with delight at the tingling she always felt when she touched her mate, regardless of the form he took. The shrill tone of a wolf whistle caused Quintessa to look up, making eye contact with Pablo.

The appreciative gleam in his eyes made her blush as the older wolf wove his way through the costumed pups. He held out a wicker basket, lined with red-check cotton. Curious, Quintessa made to lift the material covering the contents. I already considered the cops. Continue reading here! Lilly describes herself as a wife, mother and independent author. She lives in paradise with her family on a block of land in country New South Wales, Australia. They breed cattle, sheep and horses. Lilly used to write in her youth, but started writing again when her eldest daughter was born in Her mind is flooded with stories, and when she can, she writes; furiously to bring you her stories.

The taxi has dropped us off at the marina — my mother, her boyfriend and me. From the parking lot I can see it. Three masts rise up like pikes from the rectangular deck. A tattered pennant hangs limply from the smallest one. Faded yellow silk. Think of something funny! But nothing funny comes to mind. Hawaii is not paradise — at least, not for me. A jet takes off, flying low overhead, drowning us out momentarily with its thunderous roar. Mother covers her ears with her hands and squeezes her eyes shut until it passes. The boyfriend glances at his big gold watch and grins.

You are going to have the time of your life. I wish I was going! Her words are bursts of color, blinding me. I look away. The old wooden ship lists in its slip. I think of a lame cormorant, riding low in the water, awaiting its fate. Cormorants are different from most other water birds. They have to work harder to get by. My father taught me about cormorants. He was a wildlife journalist, specializing in birds. Dad always said he was going to take me on a photo shoot It was going to be a man-expedition, he promised, an epic father-son trip from Canada to Mexico.

We never went. On the front side of the boat a painted, peeling eye stares at me. An eye that never closes. Is there a matching eye on the other side? How much did you pay for this, anyway? This is Hawaii. How many kids your age get to do that? You are so lucky! The intense light triggers the song. The dead men sing as they march through my head, the men from the dream.

And now the dream is bringing itself to life in the form of this summer adventure program. Mother found this program on the Internet. Or maybe the program found her, summoned her somehow. At all. Like birds and humans, we merely coexist. Now her aura crackles and spits. A Fourth of July sparkler penetrating my skin with hot little darts. Her once pretty face, now unnaturally fragile, a face stretched too thin, too tight. Yet even now I can see the blue light of her love for me shining through the veil of disappointment.

Disappointment and shame. Sometimes when I close my eyes I see his face against the backs of my eyes, like a poor quality video. Come on, now.

Man up! I know what it is they want and it sickens me. She smiles, her lips tight. Compared to the others. They are cut from the same mold, they could be brothers, they could be triplets. But I did bring my lighter, I carry it everywhere because you never know. My shipmates have man-legs, I envy them that. Coarse hair covers their muscular calves like sea grass. Billabong shorts hang low on their hips, they look like some kind of California surf gang.

Their feet are all huge in their ragged Converse AllStars: black, brown, red. These three are the shit and they know it. This is just a cruise, a floating summer camp. They used to send kids like him to military school. Kids these days have all gone soft. Now they get to go sailing the South Pacific.

Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me, right Jim? Like we share a secret. I hate that he calls me Jim. She needs me gone. Not like dead gone, just out of sight, out of mind for the summer. Last summer it was a different boyfriend I forget his name, I forget all of their names and the Teens for Christ Summer Camp for me. There I endured six weeks of forced socialization, thrown in with people I had nothing in common with. Of course I was immediately rejected from their group, expelled into the void of oblivion where I remained in orbit around Planet Jesus like a piece of space junk — potentially dangerous but mostly forgotten, a reflected light passing overhead.

What were the odds of my re-entry? The resident life forms ignored me. But this summer is going to be worse. Much worse. His voice reverberates through my bones like the crash of a gong and I nearly piss my pants with fear. This is it. This is where I board the boat, never to be heard from again.

facade: a novella of illusion and insanity (The Facade Novellas)

Mother bends her head for a kiss. I feel her warm lips brush my left ear as I turn my head away. Love you! You could take me home. She is thinking, You ungrateful brat! I can smell her guilt like a slice of bread stuck in the toaster, smoke filling the kitchen. Wanting me out of the way. Maybe he was, for all I know. Her lips move but the words are drowned out by the dead men from the black hole inside me, chanting that stupid poem again. Born in Baltimore, Linda Collison moved west as a young woman cobbling together a composite career that has included nursing, parenting, teaching skydiving, freelance writing, volunteer firefighting, and other occupations.

Linda and her husband, Bob Russell they met skydiving wrote two guidebooks in the s based on their travel adventures.

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Collison has won recognition for her fiction, including awards from Maui Writers, Southwest Writers, Honolulu Magazine and others. All that is about to change.

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  • It falls to the Alpha One team—Echo and Omega—to find out why Tall black boots with silver trim shod her feet; long white hair cascaded down her back. Street lights illumined the sidewalk along the street, but within the cemetery itself lay mostly darkness, only broken by a few flashlights carried by the few foresighted individuals in attendance.

    There was a large crowd already there, numbering several hundred; in fact, the crowd was so large that it spilled out of the small, cramped graveyard and into the surrounding streets. Some were in costume, some in formal dress, but most were in street clothes. They milled about, watching; some were anxious, but most were bored or amused. Several people, two of whom were in tuxedos, three of whom were in more But the ones who are wearing the robes and buckskins and shit are the spiritualists who really believe the stuff. Look, across on the other side of the family plot. Is Five still extracting from the hotel?

    They should be Within moments the colors thickened, darkened, as the very fabric of spacetime itself seemed to distort. A bipedal, humanoid form began to take shape, hovering several feet off the ground. It was a man, some five and a half feet tall, with curly black hair, a high forehead over vivid blue eyes, and handsome, chiseled features. The crowd sucked in a collective breath of shocked excitement.

    Many of those farthest from the gravesite found themselves pressed against the fence surrounding the cemetery. Omega rubbed her chin, glanced at her watch, then shook her head. Got it. Romeo nodded slightly. He made a subtle hand gesture, and he and India both sent the hand signals that forwarded the order to the other Alpha Line teams. Meanwhile, Echo reached into his pocket, palming his cell phone. His thumb tapped several places along its screen and cover, activating the audio recording app.

    Harry Houdini, I address you. Where is it? The frightened crowd bolted. Alpha and Omega 2. A Small Medium At Large 3. Tour de Force 5. Trojan Horse 6. Texas Rangers 7. Definition and Alignment 8. Phantoms With more on the way! Author, co-author, or contributor to 40 books, including the celebrated Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS and the Cresperian Saga, she writes the criticallyacclaimed Displaced Detective series, the Gentleman Aegis series, and this, the Division One series, her take on the urban legend of the mysterious people who make things When her hand came up empty, her heart started pounding.

    Rounding the next bend in the corn maze, a man in a hockey mask jumped toward them brandishing a fake chainsaw. Tommy laughed as Katie tried to. From the corner of her eye, Katie saw Ian edge closer to Michael. A cackling scarecrow jarred her out of her thoughts, and she fought the urge to throw a punch at him. She liked to think she was intimidating, but it was more likely that the presence of younger children had the characters moving on more quickly.

    As the group of seven moved past the scarecrow, the cornstalks opened to a large area with picnic tables and food vendors. She was careful of the sweets her children ingested, but experience had taught her that Uncle Michael usually spoiled them by ignoring her rules. The group had been behind them the entire evening and had annoyed the family with their inconsiderate behavior.

    Katie turned a suspicious gaze on the group. There were three males and three females in the main group. A lone female stood over toward the side but had been trailing them every time Katie had seen them. They live by the responses of that audience; they travel, play the lute, and change their story to fit the community in which they are working. In other words, while the Fulani epic, like the epic in general, seems to occur in a society influenced by writing, the form it takes varies considerably depending on the bard, the time, the situation.

    Such variants should not to my mind be regarded as part of a definitive cycle, for that exists only when inventiveness has stropped and the epic has been circumscribed in text, but rather as part of an expanding universe around a narrative theme. Hiskett ; Wilks ; Hodgkin Both Finnegan and Tedlock reject the proposition that the epic is characteristically a feature of purely oral cultures and associate it with the early literate cultures of the Old World. Finnegan works mainly on Africa, Tedlock on the Americas. The latter concludes that the only epic texts with long metrical runs come from folk traditions within larger literate cultures.

    The examples he gives have a strong narrative content and are marked by formulaic repetition of the kind to which Parry and Lord draw attention in their analysis of Yugoslavian songs. He discusses two kinds of story, kange and temari, which have been assimilated to the European distinction between fiction and fact22 but which others have seen as having more to do with the distinction between the world of narrated events and the here-now world from which they are being narrated.

    Kange tend to be told indoors, at night, after the evening meal. A single individual holds the floor for ten to twenty minutes, and there is a turn-taking rule with a ratified speaker. Some stories are told by women but to children rather than to the world at large. Rumsey compares these tales to European epics. But while they are certainly narrative and many have a central heroic character, they are short recitations, mostly running between three hundred and seven hundred lines in length.

    It is not part of my intent to deny the presence of fictional narrative in oral cultures, merely to say that long narratives are rare and any narrative at all less frequent than has often been thought, because I would suggest, of the inherent problems of fiction. The fact that Rumsey finds short epics in the New Guinea Highlands and that Finnegan denies them for black Africa and Tedlock for the Americas in itself raises a problem of presence and absence. Why should such a problem exist at all? Why are epics, defined by Tedlock as a heroic narrative with a metrical, sung text,24 relatively rare in oral cultures?

    Why do narratives, especially fictional ones, not dominate the discourse of oral cultures, especially in artistic genres, in the way that much contemporary theory about storytelling requires? I am referring here not only to long, substantial recitations. The so-called epics from the New Guinea Highlands are quite short and involve a single speaker holding the Tedlock 8. Rumsey forthcoming.

    Even if we were to see these tales as epics and they are certainly narrative , we have a problem of presence and absence that needs to be faced beyond saying that this distribution is cultural. That is a question to which I will return later. What about other forms of narrative, of storytelling?

    Legends are often linked to epics, but do not take the same metrical form. Despite their presumed association with the written word legenda, what is read and their connection with written saints tales and the like, they are also found in oral culturesin tribal ones in the form of clan histories, and in chiefdoms in the form of dynastic ones. In the latter case they are often much more fragmentary than is often thought; in some cases the state histories take the form of drum titles for chiefs and of chronicles rather than narratives in a stronger sense.

    Once again myths, which are perhaps the most studied genre, are too often assumed to be universal. Mythologies are in the sense of universal constructions of a supernatural order but myths in the sense of long, supernaturally oriented recitations, of the type recorded for the Zuni of North America or the Bagre of the LoDagaa, which take hours to recite, are very unevenly distributed and much less narrative in form, however, than the early Hindu Mahabratta or even the Gilgamesh epic of Mesopotamia both creations of literate cultures would lead us to suppose.

    Myths are standard oral forms; mythologies are bodies of beliefs in the supernatural derived from a multiplicity of sources and reconstructed by the observer, as in the case of the Mythologiques of Claude Lvi-Strauss. It has some narrative element. But the importance of that has been greatly exaggerated by the collectors of myths and mythologies , who have asked their respondents for stories and not cared much about the philosophical, theological, and wisdom aspects of the recitation.

    That is an error that has led in the past, before the portable tape recorder, to considerable misconceptions. At one level I would liken the Bagre to the Bible in the number of tasks it performs. There is the etiological narrative in Genesis, the wisdom of Proverbs, and the ritual prescriptions of Leviticus. But there is not a sequential narrative or even continuity running throughout.

    Hartman writes not only of its uniqueness but of its unity. Every piece of writing is at some level unique, but that is not I think what is being said. In any case, unity is not the obvious characteristic; books have been aggregated together as a canon almost haphazardly; the unity is given by the ritual context, not by the text. It concerns serious supernatural affairs, falling under the category of proper speech, and it is associated with membership in the Bagre society, which is held to confer medical and in a sense spiritual benefits.

    This long recitation takes six to eight hours to perform in the accepted fashion, with each phrase or line in my transcription being repeated by the audience of neophytes and members their guides , and then the whole process is repeated twice yet again by other Speakers. The time taken varies with the Speaker and the degree of elaboration he employs, as well as with the point in the ceremony at which the recitation takes place. It consists of two parts, the White and the Black. The first is an account of the different ceremonies that are held over several weeks, and it is recited up to the point in the sequence that has been reached.

    The Black, on the other hand, is intended only for the ears of those men women are now excluded who have passed through the first initiation and includes some account of how mankind was created and how he learned to create himself as well as how he came to acquire the basic elements of his culture, that is, farming, hunting, the raising of livestock, the making of iron, and the brewing of beer. This is proper speech because it concerns mans relationship with the supernatural, especially with the beings of the wild who act as intermediaries, sometimes mischievous, between man and God. And while the outsider may look upon the recitation as myth, as an imaginative expression of mans relationship with the world and with the divine, for the LoDagaa it is real enough, even though the possibility that it is false is often raised.

    Indeed, the salvation against trouble, including death itself, that the Bagre medicine offers to new initiates is subsequently shown in the Black Bagre to be an illusion; hopes are raised, only later to be crushed. However, the point that I want to make here is that, leaving aside the question of fiction, of truth or falsehood, the narrative content of the recitation is limited. A certain framework is provided for the White Bagre, the account of the ceremonies, which explains how the Bagre was started after consultation with a diviner following a series of troubles adjudged to have divine origins.

    There is obviously a sequence in the account of the ceremonies and of their associated prohibitions and injunctions. But this hardly takes a narrative form. What we do find, on three or four occasions, is short narratives, resembling folktales, embedded in the recitation at certain points in the context of a particular ceremony.

    Denys Page has remarked upon similar modules embedded in the Homeric poems. They also seem to require a different commitment regarding belief than the bulk of the recitation. The Black Bagre begins in a more promising manner as far as narrative is concerned. The elder of two brothers experiences troubles that he attributes to mystical causes. He consults a diviner to find out which ones. As a result, he sets out on a long and arduous journey, which takes him to the Other World.

    Coming across a river, probably that separating this world from the other, he meets an old man, probably the High God, and with the aid of the spider, climbs up to Heaven to Gods country. There he meets a slender young girl and the High God shows them how a child is created in a mystical way. The recitation continues at length with the man and woman quarrelling about the ownership of the male child and his education. Meanwhile they are introduced, with the aid of the beings of the wild fairies , to various aspects of LoDagaa culture, to the making of iron, the cultivation of crops, the brewing of beer, and eventually to the procreation, rather than the creation, of children.

    While a loose narrative frame exists, the greater part of the recitation concerns the description of central aspects of culture, especially its technological processes. And much of the rest deals with philosophical problems like the problem of evil and theological ones like the relationship between the High God and the beings of the wild. Narrativity is not the dominant characteristic. And even these long recitations, myths, are very unevenly distributed. The LoDagaa have them; none of their neighbors apparently do. What does seem to be universal, at least in the Old World, are folktales.

    We find these everywhere, often in a surprisingly similar formshort tales, sometimes followed by an inconsequential tail or end, involving as actors humans, animals, and often gods. We may think of the Akan Ananse stories with the Spider as trickster as prototypical, together with their Caribbean variants, the Nancy tales of Brer Rabbit. Those tales have been taken by some observers as representative of primitive thought. Frequently they are envisaged as being told around the evening fire to a mixed audience.

    My own experience in West Africa is rather different. Such stories, like those in the works of the brothers Grimm, are mainly aimed at children and do not represent the thought of adults in oral cultures. By far the greater part are short folktales fairy tales of the kind told to children, not the fare of ordinary adult consumption. They represent primitive mentality only to the extent that Jack and the Beanstalk in Europe today can be held to represent contemporary modernity. They are set aside as childrens discourse. Indeed, fiction generally is for the young;. The possibility that these are the main forms of narrative fiction in many oral cultures carries another implication, that fiction itself is seen as appropriate for children but not perhaps for adults.

    Finally we come to personal narratives. In psychoanalysis the talking cure requires both analyst and analysand to construct a case history out of fragmentary conversations, histories that appear in the form of Freuds Dora or the Wolfman. The case history is never produced autonomously but is elicited and created; and it is a creation of a literate society and of literate procedures; like the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh or the contemporary Mungo epic in all probability, it represents a piecing together of fragments to form a continuous narrative, which is never or very rarely given to the inquirer on a plate, except in writing.

    It seems natural that we should create a narrative summary of our lives, for incorporation in a rsum, for presentation to an analyst, or for elaboration in a diary or an autobiography. But how far are such narratives called for in purely oral cultures? I can think of few if any situations where this happens. It is I, the anthropologist, the psychologist, the historian, who tries to construct life histories like other histories from the fragments of knowledge that have come my way, or from the arduous struggle of asking questions and getting ones respondent to respond, to articulate for me what no other situation would prompt him or her to do.

    Life histories do not emerge automatically; they are heavily constructed. The constructed nature of case histories is superbly bought out by Gilbert Lewis in his A Failure of Treatment The history does not exactly traduce the facts, but it gives a narrative shape to the fragments of experience that present themselves in quite a different way. The partial exceptions I have encountered are in visits to a diviner, where he provokes a response by asking what the problem is, or in accounts of past events in hearings of dispute cases in moots and courts.

    However, in both instances narrative recollection is not elaborated into a complete life history but focused on the situation at hand. The diviner will prompt questions from the client that his paraphernalia of divining instruments will attempt to answer; in moots and courts we have more structured narrative accounts of the dispute, but directed to that incident, even though the notion of relevance may be more inclusive than is usual in a contemporary Western court. Narrativity, the narrative, and above all the fictional narrative, does not seem to me a prominent characteristic of most oral cultures.

    The rise of narrative, or of lengthy stories at any rate, is associated with written cultures. They can be regarded as fictional only in the same sense that the Old or New Testaments can be so considered. This absence is not only a matter of the juvenile status of much fiction, of its imaginative relation with truth. Part of the problem with long recitations is the attention they demand. The situation of an audience sitting round listening quietly to any long recitation seems to me a rare occurrence. Most discourse is dialogic; the listener reacts to what he hears, interrupting any long sequence.

    One may begin to listen for a short while to an individuals account of his voyage to Kumasi when he went to work down the mines or to anothers account of a holiday in Mallorca. But he or she will not in real life be allowed to continue for long without some interruption, such as I myself had an experience like that. The exception is when a monologue, because that is the nature of narrative, is validated by its supernatural character or context.

    One is hearing not about mundane matters but about the work of the gods. So such mythical accounts tend to be told in ritual contexts where attention is required for magico-religious reasons. It is ritual, ceremony, rather than narrative that is the focus of the recitation, which is often much less a purely storytelling exercise than the term narrative suggestsmore like the diversity of discourse we find in the Bible.

    And in any case, for the listener it is not fiction. The Novel Walter Benjamin saw the advent of the novel as putting an end to storytelling which he sees as basically a speech form , an end that began with the introduction of printing to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century. LviStrauss considered that myth gave way to the novel at the beginning of the eighteenth century. My earlier argument has suggested that storytelling, at least to adults, and indeed narrative in general, received much less emphasis in preliterate cultures than has been assumed. The break came with the coming of the written word.

    Writing takes place in private. We construct an autobiography, like a diary, in private. Privacy means that we do not face the problem of direct, unmediated communication to an audience, the problem of interruption or its authoritarian suppression; we have the peace and leisure to construct. Of course later on the writing will probably become a public document. And in so doing it sets a model, an agenda, even for orally composed recollection of ones past. Literacy imposes its own pattern on the. There is feedback from what the written has encouraged and achieved.

    Narratives, monologues, long recitations, are encouraged by writing. The products include some brands of fiction or fictionlike forms, such as epics of a heroic character or legends like saints lives. The problems to which fictional narratives earlier gave rise in oral cultures are still there, and that is perhaps one reason why the novel appeared so late on the scene, when printing was available to diffuse it rather than with writing alone.

    When it does appear, it signals the blossoming of narrative, which subsequently makes its mark in film and in the electronic media. It is not difficult to see how narrative, the telling of true or fictional stories, was encouraged by writing. Writing automatically involves distance between the teller of tale and the audience in quite a different way from oral storytelling.

    Both the teller and the reader have time to reflect on what they are doing, either writing or reading, whereas the speaker is in immediate contact with the audience. A sheet of blank paper and a pen is an invitation to produce a narrative of structured recollections or of imaginative invention. One begins at the top of the page and continues to the foot, then goes on to the next. One is relatively uninterrupted in the writing as well as in the reading. Human discourse does not work like that; a speaker is constantly being interrupted because, except in authoritarian situations, discourse is dialogic, interactive.

    A story begins and is interrupted by an interlocutor: That reminds me of a time. So that the teller does not get the chance to finish a tale, or even a speech, before another breaks in. From one point of view there is no real division between speaker and audience. All are speakers, all are listeners of a kind , and the conversation proceeeds in starts and stops, often in incomplete sentences and nearly always in unfinished narratives.

    Of course there are occasions in an oral culture when a speaker commands an authoritative position and delivers a continuous speech, either directed to a specific occasion or in a standard oral form which would be literature if written. These occasions are rare and specialperhaps a traveler returning from a voyage and telling of her adventures and of the knowledge she has acquired; or in politically centralized regimes, a chief or his spokesman addressing his subordinates gathered before him; or a subject offering praise songs to the ruler, recalling the deeds of ancestors, songs that perhaps verge on fiction.

    Just as writing makes history possible, so too it promotes life histories. I do not mean to imply that oral cultures have no conception of the past on. So in terms of cultural history, what is surprising about the novel, as distinct from narrative more generally, is not simply its absence from oral cultures, but its late and sporadic appearance long after writing was introduced, followed by its great popularity despite the continuing hostility it attracted up to the nineteenth century in Europe, later elsewhere.

    Today we live in a culture dominated by fiction, as none other has been. The word novel appears to come into English from the Romance languages in the late fifteenth century with the meaning of news. Within ten years of the advent of the printing press to Europe, around , Henry VII started to publish partisan diplomatic accounts as well as news or announcements in occasional printed broadsheets.

    By Elizabeths time, various groups beside the government made use of this media, often for domestic affairs in the form of ballads. The term used for these news-ballads was novels, like the French nouvelle or the Spanish novela. It only suggested something new, and did not press the issue of facts versus fiction. In the seventeenth century, it comes to be employed as in contemporary English to refer to a long fictional prose narrative in contrast to the romances the French and Italian roman and romanzo cover both , because of the close relation to real life.

    Nevertheless, the problem of acceptability remained. There was still a doubt, expressed by Richard Steele in the Spectator, no. The great diffusion of both was related to the mechanization of writing in the form of printing, reducing the need to read aloud, as many could acquire, even if temporarily from a friend or a library, their own copy for silent perusal.

    It was this possibility of a disordered mind that encouraged the notion of people being led astray by fiction, to the symptom of Bovarism named after Flauberts nineteenth-century novel, but which had arisen much earlier with regard to the romances as we see in Cervantes Don Quixote of , in Charlotte Lennoxs The Female Quixote of , in the many objections to the novel that were expressed in the eighteenth century, and in the preference of most male readers for nonfiction and the development of a dominantly female reading public.

    The novel is clearly a product of literate cultures as well as of leisured. Early narratives appear in Greece and Rome, few in the earlier period in the Near East. But stories like Apuleiuss The Golden Ass or Longuss Daphne and Chloe and the erotic romances of the Greeks were at best forerunners of the novel as we know it today. Although these works were thought to have been directed at a popular audience, the reading public was much smaller and more elitist, though it comprised women as well as men.

    Modest could mean less than six thousand words. Some were longer. The chief structural means by which stories were made more extensive than a simple anecdote is the device of a story-within-a-story. There is no evidence that narrative texts were used in education. Closer prototypes than these novels before the novel appeared in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, most notably in Rabelais and Don Quixote, but also in the mass of French romances of the seventeenth century. After the classical period and the long hiatus that followed in Europe, fiction seems to have revived only in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

    The historian Norman Daniel sees this revival as representing a bond with oral culture: The sudden appearance of a fictional literature is evidence of Europes natural links with the other cultures that derive from the ancient sources of the Near Eastin other words, the Bronze Age cultures with their invention of writing. The author was a converted Jew who translated the tale from the Arabic and was the first to introduce the genre of fable, a kind of subdivision of Wisdom literature.

    European boxed stories include the Confessio Amantis of Gower, the Novella of Giovanni Srcambi [an important future name for the genre in English], Boccaccio not only Decameron but Arreto and, above all, Chaucers Canterbury Tales, as well as the Tale of Bergis associated for a time with Chaucer. All these date from the later fourteenth century and represent at least what we have called Mediterranean culture; in some cases there are Arabic and even ultimately Indian sources.

    What is fascinating here is the relatively late appearance of these narrative forms at roughly the same period in different parts of the globe. A central problem about the history of the novel is precisely its late arrival on the scene, its initially uneven distribution and its great and widespread popularity since the eighteenth century. The late arrival occurs not only in Europe but in China. Andrew Plaks remarks on the outstanding coincidence that the rise of prose fiction occurs nearly simultaneously, step by step, in both China and Europe, namely, in the sixteenth century.

    While it is not found in all earlier literate societies, the limitation of the discussion of the rise of the novel to Europe, let alone to early eighteenth-century England, has no justification. But why the uneven distribution and why the late arrival? I suggest the problem goes back to my earlier discussion of narrative, especially fictional narrative, in oral societies.

    Despite the development of narrative in writing, similar doubts about its fictional forms arose. Storytelling was always an ambiguous activity, implying telling a story in the sense of an untruth or even a lie. It failed to represent reality, was not serious. There were two ways around this problem.

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    As with myth, the narrative could be legitimized in the form of an account of supernatural events, which automatically got around one objection to the reality of the representation. The earlier narratives of Christian Europe were legitimized as being accounts of heavenly miracles the New Testament or of the lives of saints, in Daniel Plaks Even in the eighteenth century, it was this aspect of John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress that rendered it acceptable to many Nonconformist Protestants. The modern novel, after Daniel Defoe, was essentially a secular tale, a feature that is comprised within the meaning of realistic.

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    The hand of God may appear, but it does so through natural sequences, not through miracles or mirabilia. Earlier narrative structures often displayed such intervention, which, in a world suffused by the supernatural, was present everywhere. Indeed, one can argue that in such circumstances the actors drew little distinction between natural and supernatural; it was certainly shaded, even in personal narratives.

    Those times had passed with the saints tales and with the fantasy of the romance. And even earlier in the classical world, there was a separation between the two, more distinct in some fields than others. With the coming of the Renaissance and of printing, secular romances made a definite appearance. But they were often ridiculed, seen as fare for leisured women rather than serious men, and having potentially very negative effects on their readers. In eighteenth-century England, the romances of fantasy were supplemented by the realistic novels of Defoe and his followers, more serious and less fanciful.

    The early-eighteenth-century novel adopted a different strategy of legitimation, which was its claim to be true to life, to be a history rather than a story. Consider Defoes attempts to establish the details of the time and place of the tale he is telling. And in fact the tale itself, in the case of Robinson Crusoe or A Journal of the Plague Year, did oscillate between truth and fiction, incorporating details of actual events. So too with time and place in Henry Fielding or Tobias Smollett. The epistolary mode, adopted by Aphra Benn in the late seventeenth century and later by Samuel Richardson in Clarissa, was perhaps another example of this claim.

    I have used the words truth, actual, and reality in their obvious, literal, commonplace, perhaps superficial, meaning. There is an equally obvious sense in which these words could be applied to fiction that purported to say something imaginatively about the human condition. But a discrimination between literal truth and poetic truth is often recognized and refers to different modes of discourse.

    Fictional narrative embodying the second is certainly promoted by the use of writing, but its fictional nature is sometimes concealed either by a concern with the supernatural, the nonnatural or, in the early history of the novel, by the pretence to offer literal truth. In this way the readers bluff is called, and his or her doubts are calmed. Despite the new realism in the eighteenth century, the novel was still heavily criticized. As fiction, the novel was widely considered to display a lack of seriousness, much as I have argued it did in many oral cultures.

    The resistance to the novel continued in eighteenth-century Europe. These objections to the novel and the preference for nonfiction is visible in the history of American printing.

    Moretti_The Novel Volume | Narrative | Oral Tradition

    This work, which as we now know was largely imaginative, was published in by Christopher Sauer of Germanstown, Pennsylvania; Robinson Crusoe followed only eleven years later in New novels were imported from England; they were rare in the publishing world even of the later eighteenth century in America.

    For early New England firmly rejected the secular trends that it saw as returning with renewed vigor to England with the restoration of the Stuarts to the throne. The Puritans objected to idleness, to the theater, to ribald literature. That included romances, which were seen as especially attractive to women. In , Increase Mather wrote of this vast mischief of false notions and images of things, particularly of love and honour. While such material was imported and diffused through circulating libraries, the moral arbiters continued to frown on all fiction.

    In seventeenth-century Europe, as I have pointed out, the main readers of fiction were women; French romances were often written by women, and it was women who formed the main audience of the English novel in the eighteenth century. The dominance of women among the audience was one reason it came under criticism. They were the ones more likely to be misled and deceived, especially by the lengthy romances, though such perils were not limited to women only.

    The great Spanish novelist Cervantes built the picareque novel, Don Quixote, around the deception of the hero, who was led astray as the result of reading old romances. It was the same in the eighteenth century. As I have noted, the realism of the writings of Defoe and others was intended to contrast with these fanciful tales; they deceived in another manner, by making false claims to historical truth as a way of presenting an imaginative tale that came closer to reality. In this way they attempted to circumvent the criticism of the old romances that they misled people into not only false beliefs but into false The statement of this position is nowhere clearer than in Charlotte Lennoxs The Female Quixote, in which she tells the story of Arabella, who was herself misled by the reading the great Store of Romances left by her mother.

    Such possibility of deception was not confined to the French and other romances; it was equally criticized in the Gothic novels of the later eighteenth century, above all by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. As noted by Arnold Kettle, Q. Leavis emphasizes how strong a part in Jane Austens novels is played by her conscious war on the romance. She did to the romance of her day whether the domestic romance of Fanny Burney or the Gothic brand of Mrs.

    Radcliffe what Cervantes had done in his. The relationship between the two develops rapidly. When it was wet, they read novels together. Yes novels, declares the author, for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding.

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    Let us leave it to Reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been more decried. With this reputation, which the author herself discusses, Jane Austen contrasts that of the Spectator or other nonfiction gentlemen read better books. All Catherines experience comes from reading fiction. She had read too much not to be perfectly aware of the care with which a waxen figure might be introduced [into the coffin], and a suppostitious funeral carried on.

    As with Don Quixote, with which the theme is often compared, reading led her away from reality into fancy that is, fantasy , which turned out to be folly. That reading colors her entire journey to Northanger Abbey. Nothing could shake the doubts of the well-read Catherine; castles and abbeys were the charm of her reveries and with them went the hope of some traditional legends, some awful memorials of an injured and ill-fated nun. Riding there in the curricle with her suitor, Henry Tilney, she anticipates a fine old place, just like what one reads about.

    He plays on this expectation: Are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as what one reads He then goes on to elaborate all the Gothic possibilities of this Gothic Abbey. Her responses are fully roused by the storm that strikes the building on her first night and by the closed chest and cupboard that prove to contain nothing more than spare linen and a laundry list. She suffers from causeless terror that results from self-created delusion, all due to the indulgence of that sort of reading.

    For it was not in the works of Mrs. Radcliffe that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for. Her suspicions are unfounded and Henry Tilney upbraids her. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observations of what is passing around you. Not books but your own experience. Her disillusion is complete. The visions of romance were over, and Catherine is completely awakened. The advocacy of critical realism in Northanger Abbey is not isolated.

    In her early writings, Jane Austen engages in burlesques that take the form of the direct inflation of the novel style. In Love and Friendship , Edwards father asks, Where Edward in the name of wonder did you pick up this unmeaning gibberish? You have been studying Novels, I suspect.

    The genre came in for heavy criticism for being either a simulacrum or a travesty of life. The best-known literary example of this kind of deception is undoubtedly Flauberts Madame Bovary ; indeed the predicament of the eponymous heroine has given rise to the problem of bovarism. Her problem is not only being misled by novels but by reading in general. Like Don Quixote and Arabella, Emma Bovary is effectively in retirement, living in the country, married to a boring doctor and having little to do but lead a fantasy life of the imagination in which reading plays a dominant part.

    But her imagination revolves around contemporary life, not the past; she constructs a virtual reality. She buys herself a street map of Paris, and with the tip of her finger, she went shopping in the capital. She took out a subscription. She devoured every single word of all the reviews of the first nights, race-meetings and dinner parties. She 38 A. Watt, ed. Even at the table, she had her book with her, and she would be turning the pages, while Charles was eating and talking to her. The memory of the Viscount haunted her reading. Between him and the fictional characters, she would forge connections.

    Emma uses novels to escape from her own present into another imaginary present. Books dominate her life. She entertains the young clerk, Leon, with the fashion magazines she has brought along. He sat beside her and they looked at the engraved plates together and waited for each other at the bottom of the page. Often she would ask him to read her some poetry.

    And so between them arose a kind of alliance, a continual commerce in books and ballads. When a certain novel starts a fashion for cactuses, he buys some for her in Rouen. The book overshadows all and directs much of the course of events for those who immerse themselves in it. This gives rise to a dependency on fiction, to a kind of addiction, to a devaluing of the life into which one was born and a hunger for a life of luxury, of a higher stratum. These qualities were thought to be characteristic of women in idleness, and a novelist portraying them reveals his own ambivalence toward the feminine; in criticizing them Flaubert is consciously playing with what he called his own feminine disposition.

    These criticisms of the effects of fiction did not of course appear only within the pages of the novel itself. They couldn't be more wrong. When Stray, a runaway foster kid, stumbles into the Once upon a time, people were so scared of elves and fae that they hung knives and scissors over their children's cradles to keep them from being stolen away.

    When Stray, a runaway foster kid, stumbles into the space between the Eldritch world and his own, he is forced to accept their existence - and forced to fight for his life. To escape, he allies himself with two other teens, who he quickly realizes are just as dangerous and unstable as the Eldritch themselves. Blaire was a junior beauty queen until she was kidnapped by the fae. Now she lives for revenge. Declan is a fourteen-year-old diagnosed sociopath, who's been trained since birth to slay the supernatural. Together, the three misfits make a dangerous, volatile team, but the Eldritch will not let them get away so easily.

    And soon Stray begins to realize he is more a part of this world of illusions and insanity than he could have ever suspected. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about facade , please sign up.

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