"Lil Kim was important to physics. She came up with the 'Gigantic Shit Ton of Shit We Cannot Understand Theory' which attempts to make sense of the ways in which the universe can be so fundamentally fucked the hell up." Short fictions from MR Sheffield’s manuscript, We Are the Blood, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.
"In our actions we are beyond the believable and we divine, through tea leaves or wind, chemical signals, market rates or text codes of our clan— where we are driven next— furthest from before. Join our little gathering despite these many faults and without which we wonder whose art is reverential. Meet our misshapen family." Excerpts from Laynie Browne’s novel manuscript, Periodic Companions, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.
"Sometimes I would rub my face in the corner where the blue carpet smelled like damp, burning goat candles and then my face would smell like damp, burning goat candles." Excerpt from Mark Baumer’s fiction manuscript, Yachts, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.
"Fire stormed on ice that winter night. Down turned to coal inside my pillow. A sky above my ceiling and the Devil bright red in it, I ate God’s Holy Bible. One prophet at a time. Deep within my bowels, his mercies turned to sour meal." Excerpts from Brian Kubarycz’s fiction manuscript, The Instruments I Used, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.
"At a certain point, Mitzi had no idea. 'I saw a gang,' she said. // 'Were they soldiers?' // 'They were flowers. It was summer. I love you.' // I told Mitzi she was sick, like a person with lice or a demon. // 'I love you,' I said, but that was a lie, a demon or a word that conceals another." Excerpts from Rachel Levy’s A Book So Red, winner of the 2014 Caketrain Competition and finalist for the TS Book Prize.
"The dinosaurs were distracted. They stood in a row, watching something off screen. A comet perhaps, a single black mark against the sky." Excerpts from Emily Martin’s hybrid manuscript, Routine & Leisure, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.
“Spiders crawl down my thighs, across my abdomen. A kind of scholarly pornography.” — from Miranda Metelski’s Resisting the Book of a Woman Possessed, a finalist for the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prizes.
"A flash of lightning from outside the cave, a brief illumination: snake heads, so many snake heads, swaying inches from the tip of her nose. ‘Emmeline,’ the heads say together in a language not legible above ground. ‘O crooked, ugly Emmeline: you are blessed.’" -- from Bridget Brewer's Beasts of Revelation, semifinalist for the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prizes.
“we weren’t so stupid. we’d done our reading, even there in school. we knew of the deformities. we’d seen the portraits in our history book – the habsburgs with their horrible lips, their jaws. mental retardation, et cetera. we knew, we knew. but that wasn’t what we were doing.”
"Having climbed all five thousand stairs of the towering high-rise, OUR AUTHOR, in a red state of rage, erupts wildly into the room, and there, seeing that he was late to the conference, seeing that there were already so many authors at the table already, a million authors with a billion inflections, OUR AUTHOR thinks to himself that to pose even a single assertion, to converse with even a single poet, simply would not do...." Excerpts from Sandy Florian’s prose manuscript, The Chair, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.