A new literary review from Subtle Body Press
A dense collection beautifully devoid of ads and laced throughout with punkish collage art, scratchy illustrations, and some A.I. generated stuff that I found truly impressive. The collection kicks off with a poem and it’s a good one. Relatable, ethereal, and concise. What a poem should be but I don’t often see it.
There are a few interviews in here, and all of them are highly engaging. I found these to be the most absorbing pieces of the review. A well-directed mouthful with a multi-media art collective from NYC (D4MT Labs Inc). The art in this interview is from one of the members of the project and it is absolutely top-notch inkwork. A discussion with Jake Hanrahan of Popular Front of the state of journalism, modern conflicts, and lesser-known scenes of political unrest. A mystically intriguing talk with the creator of Randonautica, an app that essentially lets you shuffle the playlist of your present reality, or at least that’s how I used it.
Long reads should be decently engrossing, purposeful, and unique in their perspective. Particularly now that we have all these language models laying around. This collection has a few throughout that hit all the marks and present a wild buffet of weirdo cool essays. The first is a hypnotically in-depth review of the life and work of William S. Burroughs written by Adam Lehrer. As someone who read through Naked Lunch and wrote Burroughs off with the rest of the wine-pickled beatniks, I found the essay so compelling I’ve started to reconsider my views on his writing. Not enough to hunt for a copy of Naked Lunch again, but enough to give an eye to his other stuff.
Another stand-out article concerned a subject I love, but don’t know how to explain succinctly and I have a feeling there’s a name for it. Something like philosophical theories on the possible associations and parallels between the otherworldly impacts of mainstreaming psychedelics on both the individual and greater society (in the spirit of Terrence McKenna), and the concept of Christ as a universal symbol beyond the historical figure (in the spirit of Jung and Nietzsche). I’m making this sound very dense, but the essay, written by Matthew Pettefer, takes a casual approach to exploring this subject without getting all academic about it. I’m glad someone said it better than I could.
What turned out to be my favorite of the essays was about the potential forces that have driven humans of every era to develop ever newer technologies. It reminded me a lot of something I’ve seen referred to as the Electric Demon Theory. The central question of both theories seems to be the same. Do people throughout time compulsively develop new technologies simply out of the inherent desire to create, or is something external engineering us to, and if so, for what purpose? The writer, Esoteric Eddie, goes through Bill Cooper’s observations on the development of fire, the Thule Society’s influence on the Nazi’s obsessive search for the missing Aryans, modern humanity’s decline of our personal connections with mysticism, CERN’s twiddling with quantum reality, and the Anunnaki Theory that spawned all those Ancient Aliens & Co. shows.
In the introduction, I mentioned some A.I. art. If it wasn’t obvious, I’m not against art generators at all. I use it shamelessly on this website. I do this because when I draw concept art for my fiction it takes me at least a week to complete something. For the world builds I put out on another tab here, I just want to grab the art equivalent of take-out. I view it as a tool, but I’ve laughed off anyone who presented their A.I. prompt art as some kind of achievement. I work on A.I. models for my day job, so maybe I’m taking things for granted. However, there is some truly appealing semi-erotic artwork in this collection. The art, fluid and fleshy, is accompanied by a short article about the artist, Hossein Askari, and his approach to these brave new tools.
The physical copy of Seven Story Hotel comes out to 158 pages in total. Copies can be purchased for $22 on the publisher’s website. There are a few preview articles up from issue zero of the review to give a sample taste. Writers and artists who are interested in submitting can also do this by visiting the website and following the link to submissions and queries.
Leave a Reply