And Shepard's short story was only part of what amounted to an excellent lineup featured in the inaugural issue of Electric Literature, which came out this past summer. I suppose I'm a little late hopping on their bandwagon, but I am not ashamed to be. And nothing against Electric Literature but I debate long and hard about buying and subscribing to literary magazines, good as they may appear. Ultimately, I caved and got the first issue, and I now plan to become a subscriber. They deliver a good product, much the same as the nicely hewn short story a la Shepard, and it's appealing to see authors I know I'll at least find interesting, as was the case with well-knowns like Shepard and Michael Cunningham, coupled with others I was less familiar with but whose writing I found topnotch as well: T Cooper, Diana Wagman and Lydia Millet. And isn't that at least part of what a good literary magazine does anyway -- publishes some authors you may not yet know but who are no less good?
I'll summarize the stories in brief: "Your Fate Hurtles Down at You" is about avalanches (to sell it very short), "Three-Legged Dog" by Diana Wagman is about a woman with one breast cause of cancer and the man who claims to love her (but does he???), "The Time Machine" by T. Cooper isn't hardly about a time machine but rather is about a man and his jealousy towards another man because of that man's previous marriage to the-man-who-is-jealous's girlfriend-cum-likely future wife (it's funny, probably the funniest of the bunch), "Olympia" -- apparently part of a novel in progress -- by Michael Cunningham is about family and all that jazz, very gripping and well-conceived and I look forward to it novel form, and lastly but not leastly "Sir Henry" by Lydia Willet, a story which makes professional dog walking about as heart rending as I think is within the boundaries of the human language, although that might be slightly hyperbolic. A really excellent collection of short stories, and I'm not just saying that because I really would talk about how much one or more sucked if I indeed thought they did. But I don't because they aren't.