New Finds

A Good Best

An annual anthology of online literature ushers in a brave new world.

Book Cover There must be some explanation for the fact that it wasn't until 2008 that someone had the clarity of thought to anthologize their well-considered selection of the best writing on the internet. Possibly it is that whatever cabal decides these things was finally overwhelmed by the torrent of quality prose pouring out of the virtual realm. Or maybe someone unfettered by any proprietary bonds to old media. Which brings me to Dandy Dan Wickett (who was once derided by a small-minded L.A. Times critic for having a day job) of the Emerging Writers Network and his Dzanc Books cadre--who may not have removed the scales from the eyes of the mainstream media (now known to all as MSM) that was done by the circulation and ratings plunge that evidenced a looming irrelevancy--but has exhibited both the multifaceted legitimacy of new media and its vastness as a wellspring of creativity by publishing Best of the Web (Dzanc Books) in 2008 and 2009.

The latest iteration of Best of the Web is guest edited by Lee K. Abbott and aheres to the series mandate to "compile the best fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that online literary journals have to offer in an eclectic collection in the manner of other broad-ranging anthologies." Additionally, there is a comprehensive appendix containing valuable information about 300 or so online literary venues. That's worth the price of admission alone.

Of the contributors I recognized, few are household names--Blake Butler, Matthew Derby, Roy Kesey, Terese Svoboda, Todd Hasak-Lowy, Stephen Dixon--the rest are discoveries waiting to be made, which is what commends this wide-eyed effort.
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