Little Fiction Big Truths 2017 Edition
Reviewed by Jordan Melz
Life is not always as simple as it seems. The literary site Little Fiction Big Truths provides a glimpse into such complexities found in everyday life. Created in October of 2011 by Troy Palmer, the magazine (although they eschew this name) brings a variety of new writing into the world on the first Wednesday of the month, although they are currently working on their 2018 offerings. Based in Canada, it has become a well-known online literary venue – while its robust presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr only adds to its success.
Little Fiction Big Truths is all about being different in the world of literary magazines and working with emerging writers. The magazine is a collection of short fiction and nonfiction that reflects upon modern truths and illuminates the often unseen baggage in a person’s life. Though the magazine is not in a place to pay its authors, it is notorious for its unsparing feedback and author support. They publish what they like, plain and simple, and are transparent about this via interviews. As editors, the success of their vision is admirable and proves the effectiveness of simplicity.
The site also offers a minimalist space to digest insight into the world and self without the cover to cover material of most publications (including online ones), which also helps distinguish it. Creativity and modernity radiate from the site design. Large fonts and simple headings make the site easy to navigate (blue backgrounds for truths and orange for fictions). Each story is attached to a small illustrated image that connects with a main object or theme in the story, a herald of what is to come. Another notable aspect of the site’s layout and design is the option to read work through multiple platforms—ePubs, downloading as PDFs, or directly online.
The Little Fiction I read from November 2017 is Robert James Russell’s “Holograms”, which begins with a scene of a summer job and two dissimilar high school girls. Nothing seemingly complicated or out of the ordinary, but the story gradually unfurls the normality of Caroline and Kelly at their job at the Michigan International Speedway. On the phone, Caroline gives directions on how to get to the races while Kelly collects guns from the entering guests. A day of boredom leads to a moment of truth and realization when Kelly brings a gun to Zach, a boy they know that works as a janitor at the Speedway. Zach promised Kelly that he’d teach her how to shoot, but seems more interested in talking about a class he took at Michigan State where he learned about the holographic principle of the universe:
All this information bouncing around. Like, a hologram is just light being projected through an object, you know? That’s what our bodies are. What we are. Just information and light, and these ideas of our world, our cultures, being projected.
These theories get the reader thinking about the nature of self, the solidity of our relationships and mistakes. But they also get Caroline thinking too—-about a mother with cancer, about a girl who is not her friend holding a gun at the crotch of a boy, about what we sometimes choose to believe doesn’t exist.
On the other “side” of the site is Big Truths (in blue), a collection of essays and memoirs. A piece entitled “Running From the Pumpkin King” by Tabitha Blankenbiller published in February 2017 along with its illustration of the president immediately grabbed my attention. This essay recounts the all too real fears brought by the 2016 presidential election. Compelling and dangerously honest, Blankenbiller shares her experience in Vegas and her feelings of impending doom.
I’ve been thinking about the holidays and how special I want it to be, like get out all my decorations and bake all my favorite cookies and just try my best, you know? Because maybe it’s going to be the last one we have.
Jesus, you’re scaring me.
I apologized. I should know better.
This anecdote likely hits too close to home for readers and reflects on the challenged opinions alive in our current historical moment. The essay displays an understanding of what goes on in a person’s mind in more intimate moments which is often blinded by day-to-day occurrences by the facades we create for ourselves on social media or elsewhere in an effort to be diplomatic or to simply cope one more day.
Little Fiction Big Truths is contemplative and honest. The magazine inflicts a type of reflection onto its readers on their own challenges and truths they face in life. Full of humor and retrospection, it leaves one craving more.
Visit Little Fiction Big Truth‘s website here.
Read “Holograms” by Robert James Russell here
Read “Running From the Pumpkin King” by Tabitha Blankenbiller here