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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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The Imaginary Lives of Mechanical Men (Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction)

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The Imaginary Lives of Mechanical Men (Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The mechanical men in these stories—Industrial Age holdovers, outsiders wanting for relevance and respect, or overwhelmed people who confuse the certainties of one reality with the doubts of another—are cut off in some way from contemporary culture.

Sometimes in these stories, which Randy F. Nelson calls "thought experiments about values in conflict," the characters are like the Native American prison guard in "Escape": Rifkin thinks that atonement is possible even for fugitive killers. Others are less sanguine. In "Breakers," a corporate hitman arrives on a forgettable island off the African coast. His mission: to shut down a hellish, polluting, ship-demolition business. His nemesis: a lawyer, now gone Heart-of-Darkness crazy, who preceded him years earlier for the same purpose. The bottom drops out in other stories, rearranging all reference points to good and bad, true and false. In "Abduction," for instance, a distraught young woman summons a tabloid reporter to a grubby hotel room, where the now-lifeless alien who had invaded her body lies wrapped in a sheet.

Nelson once explained his motivations by alluding to a line in a Gabriel García Márquez story. A crowd of villagers are gazing upon a man, "but even though they were looking at him, there was no room for him in their imagination." "Stories and characters and situations that ask the imagination to accommodate something bigger, further, deeper—that's what I'm after," said Nelson.

About the Author

Randy F. Nelson is a professor of English at Davidson College. He is the author of The Almanac of American Letters. Nelson's stories have appeared in such publications as Gettysburg Review, North American Review, and Kenyon Review.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780820344430
Author:
Nelson, Randy F.
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Imaginary Lives of Mechanical Men (Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction) New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820344430 Reviews:
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