Nov 202010

The following is the first teaser trailer for Wings Over Arda: The First Age, put together from the raw HD footage.  Our aim was to focus on locations and faces without giving too much (well, anything, really) away.  We started editing the film itself last night, and I think the result is going to be something very special.

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Here’s a closer look at the film’s current logo, created by my brother, Philip.

The image includes, from left to right, Voronwë (Jennifer Wicks), Tuor (myself, looking a bit more devil may care than usual), Dior (Philip Hartshorn), Celegorm (Juan Carlos Tapia), Caranthir (Samuel Aguirre), and Curufin (Jonathan Duncan).

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Nov 182010

Carrie Cogan lives off the coast of British Columbia. She is a VCFA graduate, one of those brilliant, promising writers you come across occasionally as a teacher, a natural writer, with a zest of language, an amazing inventiveness, a sense of humour, and a feel for the human. Here’s her take on where she lives and why, the landscape of her heart.


What It’s Like Living Here

from Carrie Cogan on Salt Spring Island

You are asked to tell what it is like living here, where you find yourself, on this island in Western Canada.  Could anywhere, at this point in your life, be the same as anywhere else? That is to say: because you are somehow Mama to an almost 1-year-old and a 4-year-old you live foremost in that strange muddle of dirty diapers and super-hero capes, dangerous electrical sockets and stairways; of mesmerizing eyes and tentacle toes and never-ending strings of questions and needs.   Your sons are the landscapes your eyes follow, so that the other, outside landscape—huge and remarkable as it is—blurs to merely a back-drop.  If you were honest you would have to say that your baby’s body (to summarize: a giant, smooth, pale one, with three-and-three quarter teeth, trumpet-blowing cheeks that never deflate, and feet as wide as they are long) is the place where you live.  But this letter won’t be about that.  It won’t  it won’t.  Or it will.  The children will climb in; little fingers are tugging at your pant-leg, a voice is tugging at your ear, as you type this.  They are always sneaking in.

You remember once, when words were your only company, how it felt like treachery when writers wrote about their kids.  You swore you never would.  It was an easy vow, since you figured your books would be your babies.  Your boys would be in books.  Now you have babies, you have boys—but no books.  O crazy carnival ride life: turning you here, depositing you there.  Splitting open your heart, tying off your tongue.  Could anywhere be the same as anywhere else?

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Nov 162010

Mike Barnes and dg met years ago at The New Quarterly WILD WRITERS WE HAVE KNOWN CONFERENCE (see the famous 400-page double issue Volume XXI, Numbers 2 & 3) in Stratford. He appeared twice in Best Canadian Stories during the decade dg was editor (which tells you what dg thinks of his fiction). He is the author of numerous books—novels, story collections, a book of poems and a stunning memoir of his own struggle with psychosis The Lily Pond: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, Myth and Metamorphosis. He writes occasional entries in a blog called 2009 which nowhere mentions his name. But if you go there you can find links to readings and talks he gave based on The Lily Pond, also gorgeous poems and photographs. What dg is printing here are three excerpts from a work-in-progress, a sneak preview of a dystopian future, not to be missed.


These excerpts are from a novel-in-progress, a future-fantasy about an ever-expanding world-hospital, or “medically based consumer imperium” as the resistance movement terms it.

The world-hospital is part “real” (e.g. concrete and steel) architecture and part mass consensual hallucination. It is “total architecture.”

The novel is a mosaic of dispatches sent by telepathic scribes, assembled by central collators in the aftermath of a disastrous battle between the resistance and the world-hospital.

This phase of resistance—what happened? amid the wreckage—thus consists of attempts at accurate polyphonic reportage and archeology.

The name in small letters below each dispatch is the moniker, or “scribesign,” of the scribe that submitted it. Sometimes multiple scribes collaborate on a dispatch.

Two of the bits (“Mixer” and “Little People”), show the world-hospital’s furthest extension, beyond life itself, and feature the same character, for continuity, and the other (“Blowback”) is a short comic glance at the resistance movement.

—Mike Barnes


Excerpts from a novel-in-progress

By Mike Barnes


Steve and Randy meet each other at a mixer for the newly dead. They went to the same high school but are a few moments placing each other before they break into grins of startled recognition.

“It’s you!”

“Yo, Steve.”

So much has changed, so many reversals, in the passage across. Randy, a depressive back in the warm world, has taken to the après-vie like nobody’s business and is already doing well for himself. Steve, a doctor’s son who except for an ill-advised romance in his senior year has mostly had a blast, is having trouble finding his footing.

“It’s a whole new ballgame, Stevie,” says Randy, a shy stutterer so recently but now empowered by fluent clichés. “Look at me.” Steve is looking. “I used to have trouble carrying off a change of sweater and a haircut. Here, though. Here I’ve given myself a brand-new name and not one person has laughed. “I’m”—he hesitates a moment, a hiccup of life reflux; it’s little Randall Maggs for Chrissakes talking to SH the football captain—then declares confidently, “I’m Randy Raven.”

Steve doesn’t laugh. Doesn’t even feel like it. At first he heard razor, Randy Razor, and even that seemed possible. Doable. Like any good athlete, Steve is a fast study of the field, and he sees that Randy really can be anything here. He can stop the identity wheel on any slot he likes.

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Nov 162010

Henighan in Romania

Hot off the presses (actually not even off the presses yet), here is the first chapter of Mihail Sebastian’s novel The Accident, translated into English from Romanian for the first time by Stephen Henighan and about to be published by Biblioasis (in just a few weeks). Numéro Cinq readers are already familiar with Stephen’s fiction (see his story “After the Hurricane” earlier published on NC). He is also an indefatigable globetrotter, critic and translator. Here is his own short intro to the chapter that follows.


Mihail Sebastian (1907-1945) was one of the major Central European writers of the 1930s. Born in southeastern Romania, he worked in Bucharest as a lawyer, journalist, novelist and playwright until anti-semitic legislation forced him to abandon his public career. His long-lost diary, Journal 1935-1944: The Fascist Years, was published in seven countries between 1996 and 2007, launching an international revival of his work. Sebastian’s novels and plays are available in translation throughout Europe, and also have been published in Chinese, Hindi, Bengali and Hebrew.

The Accident is Sebastian’s first work of fiction to appear in English.

In spite of what his death date might suggest, Sebastian was not liquidated by the Iron Guard (Romania’s Nazis). He survived the Holocaust (in gruelling circumstances), resumed his public career in early 1945 and was run over by a truck in May 1945, at the age of thirty-seven, while on his way to give a lecture on Balzac. On the basis of the four novels and five plays he left behind, it’s hard not to conclude that Europe lost one of its major writers.

—Stephen Henighan


The Accident

By Mihail Sebastian

Translated from the Romanian by Stephen Henighan


Chapter 1

She didn’t know how much time had passed. A few seconds? A few long minutes?

She felt nothing. Around her she heard voices, footsteps, people calling out, but all muted and grey, like a sort of auditory paste, from which occasionally a tram bell or a shout shook loose with unexpected clarity, only to fade away again into the suffocated commotion.

They’ll say it’s an accident, she thought very calmly, almost with indifference.

The thought made her feel neither alarmed nor hurried. She had a very vague impression that she must be stretched out next to the sidewalk with her head in the snow. But she didn’t try to move.

A stupid, senseless question passed through her mind: What time is it?

She strained to listen to the tick-tock of her wristwatch, but couldn’t hear it. It must have been smashed. Then, in an effort to concentrate, as though immersed in herself, she observed that in fact she heard nothing of her own being; not her pulse, not her heart, not her breath.

I’m…, she reflected. I’m like a clock. And it seemed to her that she was smiling, although she couldn’t feel her lips, for whose outline she searched in vain somewhere in that familiar yet vanished space that was her unfeeling body.

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