Wet Asphalt Recommends: "The Ledge" by Austin Bunn

Today's recommendation is a short story published in One-Story. For those of you unfamiliar with it, One-Story may have stumbled upon the perfect format to sell individual short stories—they publish one story a month in a portable, pamphlet like format, for $2 each off their website, or $21 for 18 issues.

"The Ledge" is a tale of a 15th century cargo ship that unexpectedly stumbles across the edge of the world. It feels like a cross between adventure on the high seas, Latin American magical realism and the gothic ghost story and is utterly compelling from page to page. It is written by Austin Bunn.

Excerpt:

Mother, I have seen such marvels. Like the ocean aglow at night with a cold green fire and a fish with a child’s face and two fleshy whiskers. (No man would eat it. We blessed the creature and tossed it back.) I’ve seen a corpse with golden hair in a boat set adrift; his eyes were the slits on a newly born kitten. When the boatswain came-to after three days on the garrucha for the crime of sodomy—his wrists tied behind him and hoisted above the deck so that his arms tore and jellied—he asked, "Am I dead?" and soon he was. I looked to Diego, who dropped his dark eyes in shame, and I saw that too. Three hundred leagues into the Ocean Sea, we came upon a floating meadow, crabs and petrels tinkering along its dank branches and fronds. A palm tree had taken root there and I imagined, briefly, the coastline of Seville, of home.

You can find more on "The Ledge" here, and can order a copy of it from One-Story here. You simply mail them a check for $2 with a note saying you'd like a copy of "The Ledge" by Austin Bunn.

A note on One-Story: though as I said, they seem to have found the perfect format for selling individual stories, in general they seem to put undue emphasis on subscriptions and collections of issues. For instance, the page where they tell you how to order individual issues is buried away and to find it one must click through multiple pages. Meanwhile, their "Store" page has only T-Shirts, box sets, and boxes to store sets of issues. This, I feel, is a categorical marketing error, and perhaps will be addressed in greater depth in a future post.

Comments

It is pretty annoying -- I

It is pretty annoying -- I wanted to read "The Ledge", but found no easy way to do so, and quickly gave up.

It sounds like a great idea, but I will probably just forget about it now, since I'm unable to try before I buy!

But it costs only $2. That's

But it costs only $2. That's the beauty of it, the cost of sampling it is so low.

it is tough to find out how

it is tough to find out how to get back issues:
here is the link to the ordering information:
http://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=back_issues

Note that if you subscribe, you get two free issues and can cancel before the subscription starts and have the option of being billed for the subscription rather than paying with a credit card.

Thanks, I think I will.

Thanks, I think I will. Start with a couple of back issues and go from there.