Review: ‘The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain’ by Judy Darley

Sam Burt In ‘Why Rivers Run to the Sea’, one of the many flash fictions making up this collection, a river running through Bristol warns us: ‘Don’t try to slow me; I have somewhere to be.’ It’s a tiny, insistent, sensuous story, written in prose that manages to be both economical yet lyrical, and that wisely keeps the river’s personification at the surface level of … Continue reading Review: ‘The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain’ by Judy Darley

Left hand column: Reverse Engineering short story anthology cover. Right hand image: three scratch marks against a white backdrop. Scratch Books at the bottom.

Introducing Scratch Books

Tom Coganhan Editing at Bandit Fiction teaches you a few things. In the years I’ve worked here, I’ve got to read some brilliant stories, and some less than amazing stories. It’s made me question what makes a good short story. How would you attempt to write something brilliant? How would you know if you had achieved it? Because they are so various, one amazing story … Continue reading Introducing Scratch Books

Book cover for In the Cut

Review: ‘In the Cut’ by Susanna Moore

‘In the cut. From vagina. A place to hide. To hedge your bet. But someplace safe, someplace free from harm’  by Harry Wilding Content Warning: Discussions of sexual violence and gender based violence Susanna Moore’s brutal novel, full of explicit violence and sex, was originally released in 1995, but its depictions of misogyny, the police force and victim blaming has kept it unfortunately relevant for … Continue reading Review: ‘In the Cut’ by Susanna Moore

The Man in the Rain by David Christopher Johnston

They sat in the tiny bus shelter, hoods up, huddled together to ward off the bitter wind. The whole structure shuddered and creaked like it could collapse at any moment. Nathan tore through his burger like a starved cayote devouring a fresh kill. Cassie ate hers slowly, taking small bites and savouring the taste, enjoying the warmth in her stomach. She watched Nathan shovelling food into his mouth and laughed. Continue reading The Man in the Rain by David Christopher Johnston

Review: ‘Sterling Karat Gold’ by Isabel Waidner

Sam Burt Describing the story of Sterling Karat Gold, Isabel Waidner’s third, Goldsmiths prize-winning novel, is probably a fool’s errand – a struggle against ‘bullfighters, football players and time-travelling spaceships’, according to the blurb. But here goes. Sterling Beckenbauer (the estranged child of German football legend Franz Beckenbauer) lives in Camden with their bestie, Chachki, with whom they organise Cataclysmic Foibles, ‘a quarterly series of … Continue reading Review: ‘Sterling Karat Gold’ by Isabel Waidner

Quemperi by Camila Torres

Two white men arrived in Quemperi in the morning. They were two white blemishes in the perfect brown and green of the rainforest. They were no children of Mama Sacha, and their mere presence disturbed her eternal peace. To the white men, it seemed as if the grass and bushes were becoming taller and thicker; as if mosquitos’ bloodthirst was growing, biting their eyes, ears and necks; and as if the mist was becoming warmer and wetter only to suffocate their airways. Continue reading Quemperi by Camila Torres

Butterfly Stitches by Jeremiah K. Balko

Dad’s still only twenty minutes away, which is why he can still see us all the time. He’s not like these dads you hear about who don’t want their kids. Mum made it seem like she got us during the school week because she was the mum and he got us on the weekend, like it was the law. Mum doesn’t make us do chores, so we like that, and Rita would’ve picked her anyway. She hates Dad. She has no taste in things. Continue reading Butterfly Stitches by Jeremiah K. Balko

Oh Baby by Sam Burt

To stave off hunger, he does another line. He pulls a chair to the table and delights in the newfound compliance of physical objects. He wants music, so gets up and puts it on and there it is! It wanted to be heard. He sits down again but suddenly knows there should be different music and a different drink, something fruity to take the edge off, and the curtains drawn, and then enough time will have passed to check his messages again. Continue reading Oh Baby by Sam Burt

Leaving Orua (The Last of the Estuary’s Sun) by Gregory Dally

It could be called piquant, the tangleft by a haystack once it’s dried.The rain has dispersed. You breathe in.It’s an indulgence that has you imagining tussock fire. These vapours can only keep moving your atomsin a quest for the ultimate condition.You assay the tide’s fleet of shiversaround your legs and your mind. It’s soothing to take in the coolness on light raysturned in jade over … Continue reading Leaving Orua (The Last of the Estuary’s Sun) by Gregory Dally