jasminenoack's review against another edition

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4.0

review to come... hopefully, when I find my notes.

okay notes I wrote in the book next to the contributor names to remember who I liked.

Danielle adair: alright not great, a fine story

angi becker stevens: interesting would be good as a novelist I think

matt bell: Fucking fantastic. WANT. geeked out story about jumpman!!!

kristina born: very good. buy about how we interface with the world, like Tao lin.

ryan call: interesting everyone but me vibe, a fun story.

joshua cohen: very cool, pretty writing, interesting ideas, about hidden magic.

beth couture: very cool sideshow/nobody/why can't I fit in ambivalence.

ian davisson: he isn't credited for having written any of the stories in the collection I don't know why his bio is in the book.

zach dodson: I didn't know he launched featherproof. But I like it this is not a surprise. (boring, boring, boring guy)

ryan downey: interesting amelia grey everyday life shorts

jaclyn dwyer: palahniukesque, proud of sleeze. an inside, but a happy moment.

andrew farkas: reminds me of work about conflict and misunderstanding lack of identity.

Elisa gabbert: see Rooney

rachel glaser: interesting reads like pretty basic gay fiction. nice but not special

adam good: postmodern poetry. I don't get it.

devin gribbons: very good meta about how to write a story and the meaning of the author.

evelyn hamptom: very cool sort of blake butler like in fact very very similar to there is no year

shane jones: duh fantastic. nice magical realism.

sean kilpatrick: poetic random, good in an amelia format

andrea kneeland: very good I like it interesting character holes

christina kloess: reminds me of shane jones interesting bizarro tint.

rebecca jean kraft: good kind of like bucket of tongues of suburban pornography, literary, smart.

michael j lee: very very good. emotional but distanced. BUY

conor robin madigan: interesting ideas nothing sticks out as special but worth looking at.

megan milks: nice. good. bizarro vibe. about family, life, has a moral

brian oliu: very much of the life vs. technology vein and how we separate them would read more

kathleen rooney: with gabbert. very cool, joycesque, poetic word play like it very much

joanna ruocco: alright has the "look at me" aspect of palahniuk's writing would be better with less focus on shock factor and more on character.

todd seabrook: very cool, strange formating, cool story of disconnection and confusion.

michael stewart: very nice good distance/perspective, interesting ideas.

james yeh: writing moments a fit more detailed than amelia gray. true to life.

mike young: really good palahniukesque writing grimy but relational

werdfert's review

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top 10 words from first paragraphs:

1. "crock-pot" by ryan downey
2. "glopping" by rebecca jean kraft
3. "disbiotic" by kathleen rooney and elisa gabbert
4. "tarpaulin" by mike young
5. "pretzel" by sean kilpatrick
6. "genetically" by rachel b. glaser
7. "clouds" by shane jones
8. "fuzzy" by christina kloess
9. "esconced" by andrew farkas
10. "affix" by joshua cohen

melanie_page's review

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3.0

30 Under 30…
is a conglomeration of what makes those under 30 unique to their particular moment in time. These stories use as their inspiration everything from Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong from the NES system released in 1985 to compu-speak, “languages that no one else knows or pretends to know.” When the under 30 generation opened itself to technology, there had to be error, and one story synthesizes faith with machine: “I am not the god you wanted but you already clicked send without double checking the address and these mistakes happen.” There’s something very present about references to reality. I once listened to an interview with Steve Tomasula where he commented that although it’s the 21st century, writes still have their characters twirling phone cords around their fingers and mailing letters. 30 Under 30 uses the technology it grew up with to propel storytelling into the present.
30 Under 30…
is a mysterious land that leaps into the absurd without testing the waters to confirm that they are safe. It’s not safe. Babies are definitely not safe. After a mother of 13 gives birth, a man (is it safe to call him a man?) climbs in through the window: “He shoves the lump of umbilical cord through his skinny lips and chews ponderously. Inside his mouth, his tongue curls rapturously over the morsel, relishing the coppery taste.” Okay, so who cares about an umbilical cord, right? But when one teenager at an amusement park takes multiple birth control pills each day, babies beware: “She walked by the teacups and, using only the supreme gravity of a uterus pumped with too many synthetic hormones, tore a six month-old boy from his umbrella stroller, snapping he plastic buckles from around his waist, sucking him toward her poisonous chamber.”
30 Under 30…
makes you fall in love with suspicion. One narrative folds inside, disorients, makes us question if we are driving in a car or falling down the rabbit hole: “You’re bleeding, shit, here, he says, dabbing at the gash in her head. I’m going to call an ambulance. After the thirtieth or fortieth ring, the ring tone becomes not a sound but a series of pauses between affirmations that he is, in fact, alive. During those pauses weeks might go by, months, a year, his skin becoming flakier, his arms fleshier, his bathroom moldy, his dishes congealed, bruises he can’t explain appearing on his body, then fading to greenish, then fading to flesh, then flaking off, accumulating in corners, his bodily flesh renewing itself despite his inner disintegration.” When the narrator cannot be trusted, we are left with nowhere to move but forward, led through a brief but amazing world. In a satire of colonialism, we learn that characters confuse purpose and loyalty while the narrator mixes up the details of the story: “And just like the heat that came gushing from room 311, agitated on by an enormous noisy floor fan, the former inhabitants of 311 rushed into 312 full tilt, which means really fast because (if one is so inclined) things set to their highest tilt settings are…fast? No, that’s not right. Things tilted forward move rapidly, much as if they were going down hill. Yeah, something like that. Only not that exactly. I think. Maybe…”
30 Under 30…
is a beautiful language that surprises. It doesn’t matter if the content is familiar—a high school boy doesn’t want to graduate as a virgin—because the way it is written begs to be read aloud: “That summer my parents hadn’t yet journeyed into the saw-toothed arena of their divorce; instead they tiptoed around it for some time, lingering hazily in the vague countryside beyond, the divided landscape of their relationship. Such was their loveless cohabitation: had they but noticed me, their young son, they might have prevented my stumbling into a similarly underwhelming failure. My then-girlfriend, a weak facsimile of a woman, liked her boyfriends weather-beaten and tired.” Even when I read the story of a sweet blond girl who enters the world of pornography, one that stretched my mouth into expressions of disgust and surprise, I couldn’t deny the elegant craftsmanship of the sentences: “Incurable rash that isn’t a rash. Red spots surface, spread over her ass in a constellation of sores. She is not the only one. She is the only one who retires. Every other year she retires, runs home. Hides. Sequestered. Quarantined, until she fills her prescription. Every other year, our beauty returns to the hills, the unforgettable hills to shoot and film and smile while strangers, en masse, take turns masturbating onto her face.”
30 Under 30…
is wireless…is off the hook…is sporting flannel…is talent—this anthology isn’t a collection of friends publishing friends, but a group already established as published writers, magazine editors, college professors, students in competitive writing programs, bloggers, and multi-media artists. I can only image how this collection would have inspired confidence and a sense of community, had it been available in my own creative writing courses. Hell, it still inspires, and rips like a Band-Aid, too.
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