The fiction section features stories by Frankie Barnet, Forest Orser, Madeleine Lee, Jeremy Hanson-Finger, Alex Manley and Russell Helms. The selection is all good. Mostowski was right; this is a publication of quality. However, the standout piece was most definitely “Black Clouds” by Jeremy Hanson-Finger. His expertly crafted and well written story is a twisted version of the bible story “Garden of Eden,” the shrewdness of which is unparalleled anywhere else.
Here are the first couple of paragraphs of “Black Clouds” to tide you over until you get a copy of Soliloquies!
When the glaciers receded, they left behind boulders that now rise from the middle of the river like God’s own teeth. Most are spread out, at least twenty feet apart, but some of them are impacted, jammed together, forming a cave the river flows through.
We went to the cave that fall to make a movie. The script was inspired by an idle fantasy I’d had about a girl and the work of Jean-Paul Sartre. I mean, the fantasy was about a girl, and the other inspiration was Sartre—his play ‘No Exit,’ the one with the line “Hell is other people.” I think I’ll talk about the fantasy first. Sex over Sartre makes a pretty good mantra, especially when you’re seventeen.
Let’s call the girl in the fantasy V. One drowsy morning, I imagined myself and V naked in the cave. I’d been there once before with some other people—not V or the film club boys, Aidan and Nagendra—and none of us had been naked. Still, I could extrapolate.