Futuristic Art Submission Period Extended

May 17, 2011

The submission period for queer, futuristic artwork for the July 2011 issue of Collective Fallout has been extended until May 31.  We are accepting submission for the cover; blak & white images may also be considered for the interior (though we do not normally publish interior art).  The “Futuristic” theme of the issue includes sci-fi, slternate history, steampunk, etc.  The following is pasted from our Submission Guidelines page:

Art and Photography submissions must contain queer imagery and fulfill one or more of the following requirements: 1) be related in some way to the accepted fiction genres; 2) be of surrealist, dada, or similar style.  Only one or two full-color images will be printed per issue on its covers.  No other images will be published.  Cover submissions should be submitted digitally via email as an attachment (JPG or GIF) at a maximum of 500 x 500 pixels. Upon acceptance, higher quality images will be requested.

The queer focus of this magazine is on the Art, not the Artist.  So long as the work is queer (and speculative), the sexual orientation and/or identity of the artist is irrelevant.  Likewise, if the work is not queer, the sexual orientation and/or identity of the artist is equally irrelevant.

from “Bulletproof Faces” by Michael C. Thompson

September 30, 2010


I’m sitting at a glass table in the middle of Fountain Square. Jets of water burst in the center of the tiny man-made lake in the middle of the cross-section, and water splashes lightly to the brick red cobblestones that the glass table that I’m sitting at rests upon.

There is a ragged copy of a novel to my left, an odd little piece entitled The Picture of Dorian Gray. The government claims to have written it. Maybe they did. I’ve never heard of a citizen ever creating anything aside from an outfit to wear. All entertainment is provided to us by the government, even the nightclubs are run by them on some level.

It is a good day. The heat has been too much for me lately. It’s been so intense that it has warped all of the city’s dandies into cartoon-ish wooden puppets, no longer standing straight when they walk but bending into indeterminable angles.

Even in the heat, they won’t stop wearing eight layers of velvet clothing or multiple scarves and top hats. Their plastic eyes gaze out, almost melting, their pupils dilated from obviously the strongest of drugs. The dandies consume absinthe and marrow like water and bread, making homage to their dark god Bacchus, the absinthe his milky green blood and the marrow his own red flesh.

They wear feather boas and fur coats, holding their canes out and slapping the peddlers they pass by. Their hair is dyed black, purple, burgundy, or whichever color they happen to fancy on whichever day it happens to be, and they paint on the darkest of eye make-up, smearing it on their faces like charcoal and smudging it without notice. It runs down their faces in thick rivulets of sweat in this horrible humidity.

I know the government turns up the heat somehow. They must be behind it. They claim it is an unexplained phenomenon, but I’m not as dumb as most of the “citizens” of this prison. They’re behind everything that ever goes on here. I even suspect they are behind my drug dealing. I can’t be sure.

I don’t know Dr. Venison well enough to know anything as an absolute regarding his motivation. But I do know the government is behind this heat. They’re behind the cold when that comes too. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I should care, either.

I have heard that the dandies can be rather violent. Once I saw one beat a young boy of about sixteen bloody and senseless with a cane in a back alley. The boy lay bleeding for ten minutes before crawling under a bench and waiting to die.

I am not a dandy myself, nor could I be. I am decadent, yes, excessive, yes, but I could not fit in with these people because, for the most part, they are my customers. It is not good business to fall in league with your customers. And aside from that, though I do many drugs, I do not find myself reaching the level of pivotal madness that these men do – they are haunted with ghosts from the past, ghosts who visit and torment in the form of syphilis, amongst other things.

I don’t have syphilis because I know who I’m fucking (usually). They really don’t care who they’re fucking. And that, you see, is the essential difference between myself and a dandy. I give a shit.

The city’s government tried to crack down on the dandies nearly two decades ago. At this time I was a young man of twenty-six (and I do rather look like a twenty-six year old to this day, as a result of my constant face erasing and other plastic procedures which I have undertaken at great pains to myself). I remember it as if it were yesterday.

The government was not successful in capturing all of the dandies, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole thing was a sham crack down anyway. Those who were not imprisoned or killed were let go for a reason.

They controlled many things that happened in the city back then – maybe starting to rival the Bit City government for power. Now they don’t, of course. Now they are simply mechanical creatures, re-fueling with drugs and unloading all of that un-necessary semen in the closest vessel at hand. Something happened after the crackdown. Maybe they had gained too much power, climbed too high up a tree, and our fearless leader had to shake it to get them to come back down.

Dandies are great lovers because they always fight back. They hate being out of control. Naturally, the older the dandy, the harder it is to capture him (or her) for such a means, but of course, the older the dandy, the less you want to capture him (or her) anyway. The older they are, the more decayed they are, the more dangerous, the more risky.

Get them while they still think they have the city in their hands, ready for a fucking. Hold them down and listen to them protest before the heroin takes effect and collapses their veins, softens their eyes, drains their vitality and hardens their flesh with age. Take it before the marrow powder fills up their eyes with blood and their souls with filth.

I sit at the table with my ragged copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray, imagining.

 I look into a back alley from my safe vantage point in the gray daylight. I see a teenage boy trying to fight off an attacker. He’s got green make-up on his face.

from “Radiance” by Jonathan Mack

September 7, 2010


I should not have looked.

If only!

I should never have looked, not peeked.  It was too much for me.  Not that I am such a weak man.  (Well, only in this way.)  I should have covered it up soon as I saw it, the crack in the wall, the crack I found in the back of the closet while I was in there rearranging my collections.  I could have filled it up with quick drying cement, a few coats of paint.  I could have simply ignored it.  Most people would.  Many people must live, day after day, with cracks in the walls of the rooms where they live and never once yield to this magnetic itch: the urge to turn off all the lights, crouch down, put an eye to the crack in the wall and peep.

I am, overall, a reasonable, respectable man.  You’d like me if we met, I think.  Well.  To be likeable requires charm and also force, a visibility I don’t possess.

Some people make themselves seen; they shine their shoes and rush up to shake your hand.  Some of us do not.  I’m too dim, too drab, but I am confident nonetheless that if you met me at work (credit authorizations) or on the street you would find me, at very least, inoffensive.  I’m a restrained man.  I have never once struck anyone, never kicked anyone in the crotch, kneecaps or elsewhere.  My voice in public is courteous and subdued.  I am, overall, a very reasonable and sane person except for my eyes which are two mad dogs always straining forward, pulling me ahead, two big dogs jumping up, snuffing about.  Crotch dogs.

The rest of my organs are very subdued, very sane.  All except for my eyes.  My eyes and, I suppose, my mind.

On the other side of the wall is a man.  Alone, as I am, but seeming not to mind.  He lives, as I do, in a bachelor’s studio with a sliver of a kitchen and a splinter of a bath.  His door opens into another hall, another staircase in this labyrinthine ramshackle low-rent complex, so that I have never met him while struggling with the groceries or going out for the mail.  He looks like a friendly sort of person, the kind who’d give you a nod, at least, even in a city like this one.  He might even volunteer to carry a bag if he noticed you struggling.  He has very sturdy arms; all his limbs, in fact, look very amiable.

The crack in the wall is, I estimate, slightly above and to the right of the man’s television.  So that I often saw him sitting turned toward me, gazing off to the side.  He was very fond of television, content to sprawl his long arms and legs over a chair and abide there for hours.  Personally I loathe television.  It is dull to watch.  Nonetheless, I admire the feckless courage of TV viewers.  How can they imagine they have time to waste?

As for me, I am a theorist.  A collector.  I was rearranging my collections when I found the crack in the wall.  I’m someone who has big ideas.  (More about this later.)  The man on the other side of the wall is only my latest, and most compelling, object of study.  In my closet I have gathered a number of popular astronomy texts, a life of Edison and the Pocket Upanishads, as well as a number of photos culled from newspapers and magazines in which the subject appears strangely illuminated, pictures that might prove something or might not, like photographs of ghosts.

The man liked to talk to his television–always in a very sensible and amiable manner.  He said, ‘Good Morning’ to the morning show, yawned at comedians, and did not seem to take anything personally, no matter how awful the nightly news became, as if everything he saw were happening in a country not his own, which he was only visiting.  At no point, of course, was he aware that he was, himself, a thousand times more interesting than anything he was watching.

I saw–and I knew.  Crouched in the dark, my nose tickled by the crumbling plaster, I watched him hour after hour.  The empyrean mysteries are introduced with simple questions: will he rub his taut belly now?  Will he stretch?  Will he yawn?  Is it time for dinner yet?  Is the world a concern?  Do his balls itch?

I watched him for hours, night after night, because–because I am a lonely pervert?  No.  Because it is my work.  My duty on earth.  I am a theorist, you understand, of the order most rarefied.  I am the student of a theory and I’ve spent all my life in its tracking and pursuit.  It’s a very tricky theory, a theory of consummate delicacy.  As soon as you look at it, it vanishes.

Yet it is there.  I’m sure of it.

Volume Three = Three Themes

June 22, 2010

Why settle for two issues of Collective Fallout per year when you can have three?  Volume Three will do just that with a triumvirate of themed issues!

Number 1 will be released in November 2010 (well, closer to late October) with a Gothic theme—focused on horror, mystery, and related genres.  The submission period for this issue will be July 1 – September 15, 2010.

Number 2 will be released in March 2011 with a Fantastic theme—focused on fantasy, magical realism, and related genres.  The submission period for this issue will be November 1, 2010 – January 15, 2011.

Number 3 will be released in July 2011 with a Futuristic theme—focused on science fiction, alternate history, and related genres.  The submission period for this issue will be March 1 – May 15, 2011.

Our requirements for submissions otherwise remain the same—and each issue will continue to include surrealist and metaphysical works as appropriate to the themes.  Above all, Collective Fallout remains a Queer publication—all literature and art submitted must contain strong queer elements in addition to the theme requirements.

from “World War III Doesn’t Last Long” by Nora Olsen

March 7, 2010


Fell was pretty sure she was in Sunnyside now, but her knowledge of Queens geography was a bit underdeveloped.  She wished the CitiGroup building was still standing.  It had been such a good landmark, the only really tall building in Queens.  It had been like a polestar that told you where you were.  Fell remembered shopping in Chinatown with Soo Jin and giggling at gaudy commemorative wall plaques of the CitiGroup building that were for sale on Canal Street.  They had joked that soon there wouldn’t be a skyscraper left in the city, just lots of commemorative plaques.  Soo Jin had worked as a math tutor to a little girl whose parents both worked in the CitiGroup building.  Soo Jin never heard from them again after the attack, and refused to look at the names of the dead.

The thing was, it was a pretty big declaration of love to travel across the city when the government was telling you to stay indoors because of the radiation.  Fell didn’t know if she was ready for that yet.  The declaring her love part.  She might be marginally more ready for radiation.  Lesbians were supposed to move really fast.  The cliche was that the second date was renting a U-Haul truck so they could move in together.  But it hadn’t been that way with Fell and Soo Jin.  If only she could have had a chance to talk to Soo Jin when the bombs fell on Pennsylvania.  They could have made some kind of plan.  But Fell had only been able to speak to her father in California, and then the phones had stopped working.  She should have called Soo Jin first.  She didn’t even really care about her father all that much.  Just thinking about this was making Fell feel nauseated.

Every way Fell turned she was confronted by a fence with some train tracks behind it.  It seemed to go on and on, and Fell was getting frustrated.  Then she started hearing music.  She knew it might be a mistake to go to it, but she was curious.  It was hard to tell where the sound was coming from.  Then she turned on to Skillman Avenue and saw the playground.

The two men in the park looked so natural that Fell wasn’t even surprised to see them.  They were two middle-aged black men.  One was doing chin-ups on the jungle gym.  The other, less fit-looking, was sitting reading the Daily News.  It must have been an old copy, but the man seemed engrossed.  A  boom pod was next to him, blasting out the music on its tiny, high-quality speakers.

Fell approached cautiously.  The chin-up man saw her and acknowledged her with a slight nod.  He continued his workout, dropping from the bars to knock off a few pushups.

“This guy wrote to Dear Abby,” newspaper guy said.  “He’s in prison and suspects his girlfriend is seeing another man.  He’s got two more years and he’s asking her what should he do.”

“There’s nothing he can do,” chin-up man said, not even out of breath.  “He’ll sit there in prison one way or the other.”

“My point exactly.  Two years is a long time.  He went and bought a stamp from the commissary, and sent off this letter to Dear Abby.  Now he’s waiting in his jumpsuit for her reply so he can find out what he’s supposed to do!”  The man slapped his newspaper and laughed.

“That’s off the hook,” said the other man.  He was finally panting.  He lay down on his back and begins to do some sort of sit-up.

“Excuse me, do either of you have cell phones that work?” Fell ventured.

Chin-up man barked out a laugh.  “No one does,” he said.  “And I’ll tell you something.  That’s a satellite station we’re listening to.  No DJ, all music.  So the radiation isn’t interfering with no waves.”

It was what Fell expected, but she was disappointed.  “Can you tell me the way to Steinway Street in Astoria?”

“Just keep going the way you’re going and take a right on 39th Street,” chin-up man said.  “That’ll take you over Sunnyside Yard.  You cross Northern Boulevard and boom, you’re there.”

“You have a blessed day,” newspaper guy said sternly, as if he knew she would disobey him and not have a blessed day.

“Thanks, you too,” she said.  Was that the right thing to say?  It didn’t sound right.  The man’s directions were excellent.  Soon Fell was coasting along Steinway Street, lined with its familiar shops.   A black car with TLC plates was speeding along the other way, and honked at her as he passed.  The car was going so fast that a blowback breeze made Fell’s hair stand up.  The only moving car she had seen all day.

Fell turned off onto 25th Avenue and there was Soo Jin’s building.  More classy than her own, brick not aluminum siding.  Now she was sick to her stomach with nervousness.  If Soo Jin wasn’t there, she had no Plan B.

from “Another Journey” by Michael Sutherland

February 23, 2010


When I stuff my hands in my pockets, leather’s creaking in the quiet, I see this Barbie doll on the other side where no street car desires nor dares drive along.

Crossing over her stilettos clip in a Cyclobarbital orbit her high heels tree topping her Veronial strides. And she wears this deep scarlet peony stem stuck under the strap on her shoulder, and she’s slim, and she’s black, and she’s in a really short white haze for a skirt. And she has this long blonde hair that’s not going nowhere because there isn’t even a breeze, and I’m freezing already and wonder how she can stand it.

And as she keeps on walking I have to crane my neck to look only she’s really a he, and not a missed step in her Barbexaclone dream as she’s strolling on by. So I keep going, and she keeps going, space stretching between us until stardust fills the void, until each of us fades from the other, until we’re back in our own dreams dead in the water from each other’s past.

Reality takes a hit then, so the Moclobamide don’t work, and now there’s parapets and hungover concrete shielding iron zinc shutters sprayed hell to high heaven with some heavy water boys’ trade off to Telemark’s dream. But not a sign of life now though, ain’t that no surprise, and but for that astrolabe queen that I thought I once saw there’s no one else here now even though I sure as Christ am.

Then there’s this kind of clearing, rock solid earthen clumps and dead grass, and snowflake flurries, and what could have been a gas station at some point. Only now it’s all gray wood frayed fibres and peeling popped blisters, of paint, of white and sun jaded blues, and some dark reds bled in going pink and anaemic. Just an emptied shell now though, like cardboard all crumpled and less lifeless than dead.

I take a turn on a point trying to find out my bearings only now I am lost. And I should keep going in a line only I’ve been going in a curve where everything’s different and nothing’s the same. Bricks, mortar and asphalt there may be right by me by now, but stranger in a stranger land as I am I feel like one no more as I breathe the air of my life. Of ozone and diesel, butane and glue, and see red lights and pin pointing prickles of green in the deep distant dark from the way over there, from the far side of the river, the pilings, the harbour, the freight boxes too. But their shells are all rusted and black in the dark, and great blocks to memory in shadow to me now.

Welcome back, Jack, says the walls, says the Hudson, its waves lapping on ever, and the sky and the earth from under my feet. Only I’ve never been here before that I rightly recall, just that feeling of knowing, as always, like always, and it’s anything for a grip on something to go on. But a stone is a step from there to where I am now only I’m waiting for the way to be pointed and true.

‘So come on dear Christ, what am I supposed to do now? Tap my heels, wish for Kansas?’

‘But it ain’t gonna happen, guy. It don’t work that way do it? You’ll forget, then you’ll see. And before you know it you’ll be there.’

Says who?

Says them as I’m eating the doll in my hand when my head’s in a spin as my heart goes bang.

Everyone’s in a neurotic rush with eyes seeing nothing in a blur, and fashion is either brown, gray or black and nothing in between, with the guys wearing high pants and baggy seats hitched up with bleeding fat braces under jackets open flapping and baggy shirts too.

Lots of ties, every guy has a tie, brown or black or gray. Only the shirts are a different color from everything else, and that isn’t a color but white. Every guy wears a hat: a Fedora of felt or a Homburg if you want to show you’ve cash in the chaos.

And dressed in this clobber from the stepping stone last, more will be less, so I was told, or you’ll vanish with the dust in the detail of a devil of a whirlwind skirting that Flat Iron Building over there.

So I stroll on quick past a minstrel tip tapping his spats, the sidewalk his boardwalk, his straw boater up down rolling arm one to another, cane swinging through the air that’s well over iced. And it feels like we’re in the Arctic and not in New York. And he does all this in tune with his carousel buddy, this mini macaque that’s chattering its teeth, its wizened fingers gripping, clattering this tin cup of old crimes paid in penance filling with passers-by’ gilt.

And you can feel the contempt from the guys and the gals rushing on by, like they don’t know that this guy’s got kids to feed and he’s only doing his best in the way he knows how.

So now I know I’m well and truly a century in the past, and through the swing doors I go when this bellhop scoots over snapping his bow tie to his neck.

He’s a skinny kid and jumpy wide eyed with a crackered tooth grin that the Benzedrine he’s swallowed doesn’t help to make better. In a neat uniform is he, all brown and red collared, a dented tin soldier bounced right out of his box. But then my face goes iron and he’s all hands up, ‘Hey whoa there big guy.’ Only he hasn’t said anything, just knows no deal’s to be done.

But then the elevator dings its descent and I step inside of its cage while this other old soldier, face deflated with rage, wraps his knuckles swollen round a gear lever brassed, then pushes us forward on the numbers and up on we go.

And from up here I see Battery and Ellis like it’s toy town down there and me just one more tin soldier with a zip gun in my vest. But it doesn’t matter what I use really seeing as everything will disappear along with me anyway like always, the bullets, the carbine, the gunpowder smoke. But the pest will be gone, and then we’ll all be on a different wavelength or something I don’t understand.

Don’t have to do it, I said, don’t need to, don’t want to.

But, ‘Just do it, kid.’ That’s what they said. ‘And you’ll be okay.’

from “Made to Be Broken” by Katherine Sparrow

December 14, 2009


Yells, and the sound of pounding feet came from down the street. Two boys ran toward them.

“Come on! Run!” one said as they passed by. Rosemary turned and followed. Eddie followed her. He heard concussion shots behind them. Firecrackers, he told himself. Cars backfiring. The kids looked like ghosts in the moonlight as they ran on modded legs with bulging muscles too big for their frames. Eddie’s ligaments, joints, and muscles throbbed as he tried to keep up. Rosemary kept pace effortlessly.

They slowed down when they came to a train yard full of boxcars covered in spiraled graffiti. They jumped into one just as it started to roll out of the yard. Eddie put on a last burst of strength and jumped on as it was starting to pick up speed.

“Jesus, Rosemary.”

“Sage and Thyme,” she said.

“I mean Ross.”

“Anyone see the bull?” one of the kids asked.

“Naw. Where’s the Bones?”

“Lost them on Seventh.”


“No. Hope so.” The boys spoke in short bursts of sound, as though the world spun faster for them. “Are you two true-old or faux-old?” one asked. Wind and the sound of turbines sped up beneath them.

“I’m only thirty-six,” Eddie said.

“Whoa. Wow. I’m Soda. This is Makeshift.” They wore ‘jigsaw youth brigade’ patches on their sleeves. Their faces were a patchwork of different squares of skin color that bled into each other. Eddie had read there was a war between the multis and supremacists in the city, and that the supremacists were winning.

“I’m Ross. This is Eddie,” Rosemary said. She tried to pitch her voice lower, and ended up sounding adolescent. “We’re trying to get to the convergence.”

“Everyone’s trying to get there. Only neutral place in the whole city. Only it keeps shifting around.” Makeshift rolled up his sleeve and poked a finger in a knife cut that ran up his arm.

Soda lit a splinster and they passed it around. Rosemary inhaled and, coughing on each word, said, “It’s just us boys tonight. Right?”

They nodded and Eddie felt sad until he placed the wet edge of the splinster into his mouth and inhaled bits of smoke and dust into his body. Then they were all hugging and laughing as the hulls of high rises, fractured roads, and mounds of garbage rolled by beyond the train.

“Where does this go?” Eddie asked.

“Nowhere. Through the city. Performance artists rearranged them to make it a train to nowhere,” Makeshift said.

“Or government workers rerouted it to keep us in,” Soda added.

“Maybe it’s just to distribute inner-city goods,” Eddie said.

“I want it to never stop moving,” Rosemary said. “We can farm right in the boxcar. We can take care of each other and maybe some chickens, too.” 

The boys high-fived her. They sang songs and flicked matches off the train onto weeds and rubble.

“We should get off now,” Soda said. He stood and jumped. Makeshift did a somersault off. Rosemary followed right behind him, not even looking at Eddie.

Eddie hesitated and looked down at the moving ground five feet below. He jumped and fell hard, hitting his shoulder and knee. He lay on the ground and moaned. Rosemary ran to him and helped him up. She hugged him, but then pushed him away and punched him in the arm. “Boys like pain,” she said.