Set along the 455 Nebraska miles of Interstate 80, the 48 stories in Brett Biebel’s debut collection, 48 Blitz, introduce characters who search for roadkill, play high school football, drink on rooftops, and strive to find purpose amid the cornfields and humidity of the Great Plains. Whether it’s the politician on a bowling alley tour, the local loudmouth, or the Husker diehard slated for execution, the people who make up this collection struggle with the legacy of the American frontier, its sometimes empty promises, and often stubborn beauty. By turns experimental and character-driven, 48 Blitz goes inside the heads of characters not often seen in literary fiction, inviting readers to immerse themselves within, rather than fly over, the wide-open Midwestern prairie.
Alternating Current Press
In the wee hours of a cold winter morning, the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed in a remote Iowa field, killing all three musicians, and forever marking February 3rd, 1959, as “the Day the Music Died.” The 59 linked flash stories in Winter Dance Party focus on the obsessions and indifferences of the inhabitants who still live near that field, as well as on the development company that bought the property—and what cash-grab designs they might have for a big empty piece of Americana. Amidst flyover-country pranks and bowling-alley shenanigans are the struggles between those who want to stop the commercialization, those desperate for the tourist dollars, and those caught in between. Told in crisp, lyrical prose, this is the fragmented story of tragedy and aftermath, filled with that American determination to profit off them both.
A Mason & Dixon Companion is a thorough reader's guide to Thomas Pynchon's brilliant 1997 novel. Going line-by-line, Biebel's notes provide context for many of Pynchon's historical references and offer insightful commentary on the book's major themes while also highlighting valuable scholarly resources for further reading.
A MASON & DIXON COMPANION
University of Georgia Press
There's a 200-mile long traffic jam on I-94, and people are going to be stuck there for days. Maybe weeks. In 64 very short stories, Gridlock explores the event, its origins in American political, athletic, and romantic institutions, and its impact on all the individual lives that go on in its shadow. Four roommates order a Japanese sex robot. A man designs a book review algorithm. Sentient pitching machines debate life, death, and violence, and bags of deli ham fly across shitty grocery store parking lots as the cars idle. Day in and day out. Their gears grinding down to nothing, or, well. Maybe it's something after all.