I’ve been reading the Harp & Altar Anthology and especially loved Leni Zumas’s Leopard Arms, which, since Harp & Altar is a web-based publication, you can — yay! — read in its entirety online. It’s maybe long for online reading, but well worth the investment.
I like pieces like Leopard Arms that are speculative but also solidly sentence-driven. The piece locates itself in an imagined world that could be some future time, or possibly an alternative present, such that the story engages political/social/cultural ideas and issues a la some of the best science fiction, but does so obliquely, w/ whatever “world building” project it undertakes subsumed by how text materializes on the page. Zumas’s world’s literal relationship with our own is not important; language is.
Probably there are other texts that accomplish something similar, but I’ve only had the privilege of reading a few.
5 thoughts on “Leopard Arms”
Yes! Leni’s story is great as is the rest of her collection Farewell Navigator. Versatile, inventive, imaginative. I wrote more about the book here.
Considering you like “Leopard Arms,” I think you’ll also enjoy “Heart Sockets,” “Farewell Navigator,” and “Waste No Time If This Method Fails” from the same collection.
I was thinking abt ordering it. My book stack is now officially out of control, but I think I probably will order anyway.
I was going to make this a longer post abt what optimism means in speculative stuff building on that great quote abt optimism in surrealist poetry that got posted on the Giant last week, but I’m kinda in a million places right now and having trouble concentrating.
Man, I know what you mean about an out of control book stack. But those piles are beautiful things, aren’t they? even when it seems like you’re only chipping away at a mountain?
Million places, huh? You must be like Dr. Manhattan, or something. Actually, I think this time we’re living in will be called the scattered age.
Seriously would love to read your thoughts on speculative fiction.
It’s definitely mental scatter more than actual lack of time. And then I’m kinda trapped in that cycle where I feel like I’m not using my time productively enough and get anxious abt that, and the anxiety only leads to more scatteredness. Need to clean my desk. And finish a couple of silly admin things I keep leaving hanging over my head.
I read this story too and it blew me away. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.