Short fiction is often spoken of in terms of genre, a genre of ephemeral writing that is erased from the mind as quickly as it was most likely written. But the fallacy in this is that genre presupposes a style and tendency. But short fiction doesn’t necessarily “tend” the way romance tends toward the quest, the division and reunification of lovers, and/or an interest in the occult. In rebuttal are journals, like Monkeybicycle, that publish a broad range of fiction that, while short, refuse categorization by naming. In its six years of publication, MB has published work by Dawn Raffel, Steve Almond, and Sarah Silverman, a variety that testifies to the genre-less nature of the work presented. And it offers some polished podcasts online such as “One Year After the Death of Leonardo (an excerpt).”
With its latest issue, #6, MB builds on its tradition of keeping short fiction and poetry varied with authors such as Kim Chinquee, Ryan Boudinot and Laura van den Berg. MB’s online offerings are slightly more humor-oriented, and playful where form is concerned. See Darby Larson’s “Cube,” which toys with the plosive possibilities of consonants and Meg Pokrass’s “Underground,” a great piece in the series “One-Sentence Stories,” which harkens back to the “Minute Stories” of Robert Coover’s TriQuarterly. But whether short writing is called micro, quick, or “Blasters” (as Sudden Fiction was originally going to be named), Sarah Layden’s “Tweets We Would Like to Delete,” shows us how difficult it is to make short work with the power to stay.