Modern Reading

(originally published in Hourglass Literary Magazine     https://hourglassonline.org/news/modern-reading-by-lochlan-bloom)

Credit: David Evers

There is a group, let us call them the anti-fictionists, that proclaims the death of fiction. They call for an end to the make-believe, the fake, the imaginary. Who needs fiction, these anti-fictionists say, when there is the scientific method, progress, development.

We may be a society of readers but how much of that time is spent reading books? Certainly it seems the traditional novel is dead or dying. Is there really any need to read fiction?

It is true that we are reading more than ever, hour after hour spent staring at screens, reading, scrolling, scanning, reading, reading, reading… but the role of fiction in the modern world had never seemed more hopeless.

This group, the anti-fictionists, believe that if fiction is needed at all it should be a commodity. A product that can be pushed into the idle hours of our day, marketed as a consumable, valued according to economics.…continue reading on Medium.

Credit: Young-Deok Seo

The Slave Traders

It has been known for several years now that slave traders are operating in this area but despite the best attempts of the police captain and his men it has proven impossible to catch any of them.

Some people have blamed this on poor Captain Jacobs himself, suggesting he is corrupt, but this is unfair on the poor man as he is no more involved with the slave traders than the rest of us.

Wherever you go you will hear people talking of them. They are discussed everywhere in this town — from the bars to the library, the primary school to the prison cell — but still no one will come out and name names.

Nearly everyone, when the subject is brought up of an evening, will lay claim to some familiarity, yet when they are called upon as witnesses they crumble and talk incoherently leaving the jurors unimpressed. Some amongst us even pretend that the traders might have left the town or else claim that there have never been any slave traders here at all.

They point out, rightly enough, that……continue reading on Medium.

Credit: Young-Deok Seo

Credit: Young-Deok Seo

The Parcel

It is calm, there are no puzzles, the parcel arrives. 

It is not so big, perhaps the size of your head.

It is a box, a sturdy cardboard box. There is a stamp on it but the postmark is illegible. You pick it up. It is heavy. You shake it — it makes a hissing noise.

You open it; excited. There is a creature inside. Made of metal. Metal wires. An ornament, like a giant spider made of metal wires. It is not pretty.

You feel disappointment.

Who would send you this? It is not pretty. You put it on the side next to the glasses. You look at it again. It is certainly not pretty.

You move it over near the window. The TV is turned on. You watch it for a while. You watch the metal creature also but it does not move. You don’t have long before you have to leave. You wish you could just…continue reading on Medium.