14 April 2007

Murdaland: Crime Fiction for the 21st Century

Issue One of Murdaland arrived yesterday, on Friday the 13th. I was born on a Friday the 13th, in November of MCMLIX. Knowing that we are now in MMVII, get out your Roman Numeral Slide Rule and calculate my age. OK, OK, I'll be XLVIII in November. I'm a math teacher, forgive me. It's like a disease--no matter how many drugs you take you still have the damn disease. Like this noir thing. I'm infected. I think I might have used that metaphor in a previous post, but it still works. I'm on a noir kick, a hard-boiled jones, a crime bender. I'm the same milquetoast I was before, cringing before the might of the law, terrified of prison, intimidated by cops, queasy around attorneys, a goody two-shoes, all talk no action, never been arrested, jailed, or hauled into court, and lost the only real fight (self-defense) I was ever in. Get the picture? I work for the SCHOOLS fer cryin' out loud! Let's all join hands and chant "NERD!" So what's the deal? What's with this noir obsession? Beats me. Sorry if you thought I was gonna get psycho-analytical on y'all, I got no deep insights or breast-baring neuroses to talk about. I just like reading the stuff. Now I like writing the stuff. And Murdaland seems to be the hip, upscale version of it these days. This is a literary magazine, like Granta or The Sun, but it is entirely fiction. No essays, poetry, interviews, photos or artwork, and just two b&w small-press ads at the end. It has a muted feel with the cream-colored pages and small typeface. At 250+ pages, it is novel-length. Perfect-bound, 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, it has the heft of a trade paperback. Interesting that Out of the Gutter and Murdaland both have one issue under their belts, though OOTG comes across like the poor relation that shows up at the fancy wedding in a suit from Sears. Guys like Daniel Woodrell and Ken Bruen are featured along with 17 others, including a David Goodis reprint. M.C. will report back after reading all of it, stay tuned to TPP for updates. I will say that Anthony Neil Smith's Lovers Through All Eternity and Forevermore is a story I wish that I had written. Find it at http://www.murdalandmagazine.com/.


Anonymous said...

"Dark tales for tawdry times' -- VERY promising-sounding. I think I am glad it is bi-annual: I'm never going to catch up in noirishness with you anyway, but a monthly MURDALAND would do me in. (so to speak) Would it be pushing the limits of friendship to ask to borrow your copy when you have made your pass through it? I will be VERY careful, honest, and I am a speedy reader -- but I hate to miss out on what sounds like lovely dark stuff. And, yes, you are addicted. But it looks pretty good on you. So far. NOC

M.C. O'Connor said...

Of course you can borrow any book in my library any time!!!