Scout & Engineer No. 2 is now available! I must apologize that its announced publication date came and went without the anticipated premiere. Rather than delaying a couple exciting late-in-the-game developments for publication in S&E No. 3, I incorporated them in this one. So, albeit belated, this issue is crammed with excellent short fiction and a few bonus features.
Without further ado, here is the cover, designed for Scout & Engineer by the talented John Cox:
This issue of Scout & Engineer introduces two new features: an essay on the philosophy of fiction, and the kick-off of Scout & Engineer Reviews. The essay is brought to us by the talented Stuart K. Hayashi. The literary critique segment initiates with my review of Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood, which will be available from Little, Brown and Company on October 23.
Something else I'm very excited to offer this go around: an interview with author Shelly Reuben in which she discusses her writing, her heroes, and her work in arson investigation.
As with the inaugural issue, this one delivers outstanding short fiction from five authors who dare to create the both entertaining and thought-provoking. Annette Hansen, Will Conway, Sara Puls, Ryan Cooke, and Jenean McBrearty.
As always, excellence in form is the golden standard, though S&E also champions individualism, a celebratory worldview, heroism, knowledge, confidence, and wit.
See our shop page to buy your copy of Scout & Engineer No. 2 in paperback, PDF download, or Kindle or Nook ebook.
Theme to plot to word, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind embraces its very bookness--the setting, characters, what they say, the vigor with which they pine, their pastimes, their secrets. Shelved amid tomes that hinge on the suspension-of-belief modus operandi, TSotW goes more with: Look, you and I both know you're reading a book and there's no sense in pretending otherwise. Clearly, you're a book-person; and boy've I got a story for a book-person such as yourself. If you pick a ripe copy of this book and squeeze, bookness really should trickle out (test-squeezing prior to purchase is recommended).
What's impressive is that even this book--so gutsily BOOK through-and-through--engenders a cinematic scent, one that results from more than the verdant scenery for which it is famed. At a pace of approximately every three pages, Zafón churns out sentences commanding enough to be clipped from context and broadcast in preview to the fullness. Big Spaghetti Western-worthy lines. Coming-attraction lines.
One of my personal favorites from The Shadow of the Wind:
"Our world will not die as a result of the bomb, as the papers say, it will die of laughter, of banality, of making a joke of everything, and a lousy joke at that."
In honor of reputable preview-sentences of books past (and present), I would like to offer the following previews from Scout & Engineer's works to date:
Scout & Engineer No. 1
From Be Clear and Prosper by T. D. Edge: "Your church reckons the universe gave you all some sort of auric glow that convinced all other religions to lay down their good books and grab an enpound detector. But I say you simply brainwashed enough punters to make it past the spiritual, in inverted commas, bleedin' tipping point."
From Inside the Mountain by Nemone Thornes: "There was so much that was smothered before it began, because people didn't see the lines they ran on, the hidden rules that controlled not only their behaviour, but their thoughts, their knowledge of what was possible."
From Convergence by Zeke Jarvis: "Thus, although one will not find the actual sum of a given series, one at least can determine whether or not a finite sum exists. Sometimes, this is the best for which one can hope."
From Eyewitness by Erika Holzer: "That did it. The press was treated to a family reunion on the sidewalks of New York and the spectacle of a Mafia princess being whisked away into the bosom of her family."
Elena Gorokhova, from this issue's interview: "These last two decades of the Soviet state were known as a period of stagnation, both economic and intellectual, with cynicism and disillusionment settling in the generation of my peers."
Wendy Never Married by Christopher Blonde
From the title story: "I studied studied studied, day and night, I got the music theory books and I'd fall slam asleep listening to either the guys singing or this typing-teacher-sounding lady talking about how to beef up your vocal cords and still keep 'em limber."
From The Strange Case of Christine Hodge's Pica: "No matter how close she snuck to the lawnmower with its hood popped vertical, she could not put her finger on why the pungent smell made her not just want, but violently need, to drink."
From The Poincaire Boys' Girls: "He had been happy. A new sort of man, he thought. Just having met Marah. Still dripping from his baptism in the white of her eyes and teeth and heart. Why then? Why had he?"
From The Picture That Cost Alice Everything: "It was like sitting outside in a solid block of shade, squinting for clarity at a minute detail across the way, then realizing with a sudden sense of time-loss that you cannot see the detail clearly any longer because the sun has shifted to you. You are highlighted. You are warm."
From Carnies Chase Fast Women: "News of my pregnancy was met with numerous chastisements on how I never should 'of' opened myself to a man who'd blow off in the wind within the week."
From A Solution For Camels: "Gran, just like I have not heard Mama storm at people with great bolts of f-words and s-words, will tell me a dressed-down version of what Mama said by reply."
From Sports & Entertainment News: "Because my internship involved, in part, sieving through a voluminous haul of letters to the editor, I could pinpoint the moment when every reader in town became personally privy to the unabridged, unsung, and unexpected full story. Amazingly, it was right away."
From Who is Carlotta Jenkins?: "Eternity promises you the opportunity to see your loved ones, and liked ones, and casually acquainted ones, over and over and over and over, so help you God."
From the included selection of Esther in the Flesh: "Every weekday since the third week of her AP English class, I had eaten lunch in the teachers' lounge because I more or less viewed the cafeteria as a cafe for spiritual vampirism, a place where one went only to lose in testimonial momentum whatever was gained via the intake of food, and because our librarian was understandably loath to allow my handling of books while I ate."
The good thing about these previews, of course, is there is no need to wait for the betokened works' months-off release dates. For interested readers, Scout & Engineer No. 1 and Wendy Never Married are both available in paperback, PDF download, Kindle ebook, and Nook ebook here.
Thanks for reading!
The Scout & Engineer blog will soon be dedicated, in large part, to literary review. Current book reviewers along with those who are interested and have some experience relevant to publishing or criticism are encouraged to contact Hannah Eason at email@example.com. When applying, please send a brief cover letter and a sample review (published or otherwise). Please also indicate whether, in the event of your joining the S&E review team, it would be permissible for us to publish your sample review.
Our blog will feature brief (400-600 word) reviews of current and older novels, memoirs and other nonfiction books in which overall tone leans toward the literary, short story collections & poetry collections (single- or multi-author), and individual short stories.
Scout & Engineer reviews--which will partially summarize, not spoiling large, late-in-work plot points--will contain analysis based on factors such as the plot's coherence and intrigue level, characterization, consistency, overall style, and more. These reviews will also take into account a given work's conceptual congruity (does it present an integrated world view?).
Of note to potential reviewers is that S&E reviews should offer an examination of works in terms of Scout & Engineer's stated, championed, and incorporated philosophy: individualism. Reviews should acknowledge when and where a novel or other work advocates groupthink or depicts characters' actions as resultant of doomed genes, their existence within a malevolent universe, their cog-function within a crude social machine, etc. Also, reviews should highlight ways in which books or shorter works properly integrate the concepts of free will/volition, individual rights, cause-and-effect, egosim, etc.
Authors interested in submitting a work (self-published is fine) for review are also welcome to contact Hannah (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details.
Finally, for would-be reviewers: we cannot offer payment at this time. For that reason, this arrangement would be ideal for anyone interested in accumulating review clips and experience.
Thanks for reading.
Anyone with a keen eye for dates may have noticed that, on the 5th of this month, Scout & Engineer No. 2 did not make its debut. I'm happy to confirm, first, foremost, that the publication is alive & healthy.
This month, in lieu of regularly scheduled programming, S&E offers a single-author short story collection. Its snazzy pic lies below, and you can read all about it here. It is available for purchase as a PDF download here.
The skinny: 9 regular-sized shorts, 1 flash. One reprinted from S&E No. 1; 2 making reappearances, having been first published in other magazines. The others--previously unpublished, in print or electronically.
What I would like to briefly emphasize is that the stories in Wendy Never Married (primarily) abide by the theme of individualism. Issue No. 1 contained stories similarly themed while distinct in subject, style, etc.
At this juncture, I can confidently say there will be a Scout & Engineer 2--slated for release early in October--and that it will provide an assortment of precision-crafted stories, from a variety of talents, that weave in S&E's core focus. I'm gratified to have read the work of these authors, and I encourage all who enjoyed the first issue to stay tuned for our second.
I would also mention, though, for a second time, a point I originally belabored here. Namely, that Scout & Engineer will only go to print when a solid issue's worth of theme-appropriate and stylistically excellent material has been gathered. For this reason (a change from the planned design), Scout & Engineer does not offer subscriptions; readers are encouraged to sign up for our newsletter &/o connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for announcements concerning new issues.
A brief word also on submissions. Since the gates officially opened, S&E has received a bounty of stories that reveal their authors' polished sense of story, discipline, and familiarity with the best of words. I'm delighted to say--as I was to see--that the stylistic quality of submitted stories has been, on average, very high. In the minority, unfortunately, are those submissions that integrate our theme. And as for the detailed theme--well, that point can be found belabored in more or less any editorial piece sitewide. As long as submissions that--creatively, skillfully--match in some sense with our focus keep rolling in, I will gladly continue orchestrating new issues.
On a closing note, if you like what you've read in our first issue, and if you enjoy the stories in Wendy Never Married, please consider spreading the word about S&E; putting us on the radar of authors whose work would be at home here; posting reviews to Amazon, Nook, and Kindle pages; liking S&E on Facebook; following on Twitter, etc.
And there's always the helpful-to-all option of bulk-buying copies and with them replacing Gideon hotel bibles. Whatever strikes you as appropriate.
Thank you for reading both the Scout & Engineer blog and literary offerings, and thank you for your time.