• Let Them Eat Cake: The Gross Food Porn of Craig Latchaw

    Somewhere between a punk-rock Harvey Kurtzman and R. Crumb guesting on “Top Chef” are Craig Latchaw’s gleefully gross gourmet recipes, seasoned with all the farmworker abuses, assembly-line injuries, and accumulated factory filth of today’s food industry.

  • The Feast

    On the heels of the American Thanksgiving holiday, Britain’s L.P. Lee delivers a timely — and richly told — fable of power and abuse, and asks uncomfortable questions about abundance, scarcity, appetite and satisfaction. Her work is exquisitely illustrated by UK artist Annie Ridd.

  • A Dream Library: The Art of David Slebodnick

    Youngstown, Ohio-based artist David Slebodnick pulls pages out of children’s books from dream libraries. When encountering these works one has the sense of holding a bound volume of them, accompanied by verse or some fabulous narrative to mark the borders between the wakeful day and sleep.

  • Enigma

    Boise, Idaho, author and reference librarian Grove Koger brings us this heady, moody, mythic bit of verse, to inspire your own musings.

  • In Our Hearts Risen

    What do you do with an android that malfunctions? The runaway replicants of Blade Runner might suggest one brutal fate, but Olga Zilberbourg’s Fabulist debut “In Our Hearts Risen” imagines a beautiful alternative.

  • The Bus Drawings: A 9/11 Survivor’s Diary

    9/11 survivor Thomas Haddad’s wildly diverse and phantasmagorical artworks have the mythic detailing of a tarot deck, and a sense of the grotesque that invokes underground comics, Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe.

  • Krishna

    Bay Area poet, professor and publisher Hugh Behm-Steinberg brings us this sweet serenade of a yarn, in which the protagonist’s usurpation of a deity’s musical prerogative brings only more delight to the world.

  • Detail, "Soothsayer," by Adam Myers

    Household Gods

    Happy Halloween from The Fabulist, with our first horror story, “Household Gods,” a lurid shocker by Oxford divinities scholar Tara Isabella Burton. It is a dire telling, and the protagonist’s travails are vividly described, caveat lector. Illustration by Adam Myers.

  • Illustration by Adam Myers

    A Secret Mother

    Don’t mind the gnawing sense of dread that comes with reading California author John Zic’s chilling Fabulist debut, “A Secret Mother.” It’s an immersive narrative of two teenagers on a certain sort of road trip — and a nerve-wracking spiral into their sociopathic alternate reality.

  • Rock Fantasia at the Nebula Awards

    Fabulist art director Adam Myers’ “Rock Fantasia” illustrations were inspired by rock ‘n’ roll lyrics written by authors Michael Moorcock and John Shirley. They were produced in a limited print edition for the 2013 and 2014 Nebula Awards Weekend conventioneer book bags.

  • Charles Louis Gabriel (1857-1927), medical practitioner and photographer.

    The Hospital: A Game for Lovers

    Jenny Bitner’s latest yarn is a skewed but compassionate fantasy of love and convalescence, and of real life and death. It is a companion to her earlier contribution to The Fabulist, “Hansel & Me”; both are excerpted from her unpublished novel “Here is a Game We Can Play.”

  • Fall/Winter 2014 fiction, submissions and more

    Our summer program of publishing an original work of short fiction or poetry (almost) every week is now at an end. Forthcoming this fall is a great lineup of stories and fragments exploring fantastical and extraordinary lives, worlds and incidents — almost all in the most ordinary of places.

  • The Great Farm Painter

    California author Tantra Bensko returns to The Fabulist with this surrealist, briskly hallucinogenic vignette, showcasing her vivid prose and loopy, dreamlike plot constructions. (Image source: The Tucson Daily Photo.)

  • Basket

    Two boys sat on a log in the middle of a valley. The trees surrounding them blocked out the sunlight and the boys had trouble seeing their hands in front of their faces. A woman appeared from a cluster of trees.

  • Sidewalk Devolution, by Sarah Bisceglie, http://www.sarahbisceglie.com/

    Roses

    A tall woman and a small man walked down the street one late morning in a town in New Hampshire. They looked confused and weathered and people stared at them as they passed by. She picked up a… Read More

  • The Changeling (A Shakespearean Prequel)

    “She never had so sweet a changeling,” says Puck of the Indian prince either stolen or adopted by the fairy queen Titania. The status of the child is the root of her dispute with Oberon, and the fallout… Read More

  • The Scaffold-Girded Hypercube (Evelyn and Her Magic Violin)

    “The Spanish Surrealists are constructing a tesseract in my wife’s dream”: So begins Oscar Pelta’s slightly shocking, brightly beautiful surrealist poem, in which life and love are lost and reborn in an explosion of wings.

  • Cologne Cathedral

    Cities

    New Orleans author Amelie Daigle returns to The Fabulist with “Cities,” a disturbingly beautiful set of visions of a life interrupted. Collage and image manipulation by Fabulist house artist Adam Myers.

  • Trespasser

    In those days, angels descended from the heavens to teach the various crafts known in paradise, and I came sideways from the know-not-where to teach the art of desire.

  • Melting Men (detail), Nele Azevedo

    Waking

    Illustration: “Melting Men” (detail), by Nele Azevedo We held hands in my dream, in the waking sleepwalk I call living. We held hands and you explained the lightness in your touch — you were dead. It seemed so… Read More

  • #KrakenEvent

    It was a sparkling morning in Bristol, in the United Kingdom, when a series of eyewitness social-media postings announced the end of the world. Was it a giant cephalopod? A flying saucer? The chatter and retweets put a funhouse spin on the spreading confusion, but the flames and destruction are decidedly non-virtual.

  • Towards

    Art: Paleolithic steppe bison, Cave of Altamira, Spain. It was only when the third sun rose and the heat became unbearable that she stopped. As the ritual of sun set began, she crawled from under the grasses and… Read More

  • Extractions

    The full body scan announced cancer in her lower left quadrant. She took the handheld and found the almost imperceptible node deep in her shin. The last one had been in her knee and her thigh before that…. Read More

  • Allen Lewis, 1915

    Hopscotch

    Leona Lee and Yun Yoo drew a hopscotch course on their sidewalk. Leona offered, “Why not double it?” Yun countered, “Triple!” They drew around their block and, as they were pointed that way, they continued north, through Canada,… Read More

  • Sleeping Beauty

    After 551 years she woke to the earthy pungence. She shook her long, dark hair, stretched her limbs and tried to walk, following the scent. Her embroidered gown and simple headdress stood out, and the tall buildings and… Read More

  • Illustration by Adam Myers

    Don’t Lose This

    Two children receive a gift of memory and magic in “Don’t Lose This,” a short fable by San Francisco author Noah Sanders that explores redemption’s strange and demanding burdens. Illustration by Fabulist house artist Adam Myers.

  • Hansel & Me

    Jenny Bitner’s fanciful, feverish “Hansel & Me” finds two step-siblings wandering through a forest known to be the home of a cannibalistic witch. Hungry, cold, abandoned by their sybarite parents, the pair fantasize about food, sex and serial killers — until all their fantasies come to life within a fabulous house made of candy.

  • Goblins from the Dustbin

    Whimsical … crafty … creepy … “not traditionally pretty”: Mixed-media sculptor Gail Trunick assembles her uniquely affecting creations from the detritus of the world, finding humanoid shapes and stories in life’s neglected corners.

  • Under the Porch

    By turns eerie and poignant, “Under the Porch” is an oddly sentimental fable of eight young lives marked by the briefest encounter with strangeness and terror. Yet when seen over the span of decades, the supernatural horror at the heart of Julia Patt’s fine telling ends up being almost beside the point. — Editor.

  • Four poems from “Ruins of a glittering palace”

      San Francisco Bay Area poet Maw Shein Win arranges perceptions in fragments, like the pieces of a broken mirror — or perhaps, and not so jagged, like droplets. Each distinct but reflecting some greater whole, each filled… Read More

  • SUBJECT: Dragon Bones

    “Dear Charles; The codices become more exciting every day. This one should be of special interest to you in that it fits in with some of your previous theories. Apparent translation is as follows … ”
    So begins a scholarly missive from a researcher at work in the reaches of Patagonia.

  • Ministry of Presence

    Leah Erickson’s “Ministry of Presence” is a haunting tale of memory and need, set on an anonymous tropical island and playing out amidst devouring change. Rebellion and fire sweep across the land, the ash settling “in soft drifts and mounds almost up to the windowsills of the old folk’s home.”

  • Relaunch?!

    Welcome to the relaunch of The-Fabulist.org! We’re thrilled to debut this new home for fables, yarns, tales and fantastical art, after many a long month of hacking away at cascading stylesheets and relatively esoteric HTML. Glitches? We got… Read More

  • He Knew

    by Nora Boydston (Inspired by a strange little fragment from Grimm, Nora Boydston’s “He Knew” plumbs the deep forest of European fairy tales to reveal an unsettling parable of love, loss, and what the modern reader may identify… Read More

  • Spoons

    By Michael Plemmons “Spoons” is an odd and poignant little yarn about an affectionate old dog that’s been in the family since the Civil War. Writing in a naturalistic, conversational style, author Michael Plemmons follows this preposterous canine on a cross-country voyage… Read More

  • Remembrance of Things Past

    It has been years since I last made this journey. I am slower and more easily tired. My footfall is not as sure as it used to be, but nor is it as bitter, as sad, as resigned. Up the slope, near the edge of the rock, they stand along the ridge. Waiting, without conversation, silhouetted against the late-afternoon sky.

  • The Bread Muse

    A muse, aloft above the rooftops sprinkles packages of starter through gaping chimneys — little gifts of soul satisfaction for those who know how to knead it. Author Masha Rumer provides the recipe in her short yarn (really, a… Read More

  • To Whom It May Concern

    By Pam Benjamin In this issue we are pleased to bring you Pam Benjamin’s “To Whom It May Concern,” the dire fable of a good gal done (and gone) so very wrong. Secrets, lies, a bagful of My Pretty… Read More

  • The Men

    By James W. Hritz OMG, WTF?!?! Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a surrealist barnburner that gets out the gate with a full pack of existential whatever, and brings it home with a whopper sunsplashed psych-o-delic… Read More

  • Jamie’s Dragon (dream/life 3)

    By Peg Alford Pursell A vivid tattoo sets Jamie’s life in a spin, as her placid, teal dragon erupts into dreams overspilling with fire, color and unknown intent. It’s the final installment of Pursell’s reality-bending dream/life triptych.  -Editor…. Read More

  • The Maid’s Dream (dream/life 2)

    Lately she’d been waking with the sense of having an important dream forgotten in the moment of opening her eyes. The dream would be transformative if only she could remember it. Each day as she slipped on her… Read More

  • The Girl and the Stone (dream/life 1)

    By Peg Alford Pursell (In this first installment of a triptych of very short tales, Peg Alford Pursell explores how memory and dreams transform everyday reality. Her work is muted but luminous, full of open-eyed marvel and a… Read More

  • SLUB GLUB IN THE WEIRD WORLD OF THE WEEPING WILLOWS: CHAPTERS 14 – 26

    SLUB GLUB IN THE WEIRD WORLD OF THE WEEPING WILLOWS: CHAPTERS 1 – 13 SLUB GLUB IN THE WEIRD WORLD OF THE WEEPING WILLOWS: CHAPTERS 27 – 40 Slub Glub Chapter 14: ‘Shepherd of Souls’ The Baron tossed the… Read More

  • Alarmed

    By Matt Tuckey “I have never been in a natural place and felt that it was a waste of time. I never have. And it’s a relief. If I’m walking around a desert or whatever, every second is… Read More

  • Color Bind

    There is only one way of seeing them, and that is, seeing the whole of them. –John Ruskin Life forms from V12 in the NGC4203 galaxy 10.4 million light years from Earth had inhabited Providence, R.I., for five… Read More

  • Confluence: Five Landscapes

    Images by David Goldberg [Proofreader’s Note: In the urban interior, street art sprouts amid authoritarian architecture like weeds through cracks in concrete, parks and gardens grow wild around the artifacts and intent of designed landscapes, non-native palms are… Read More

  • Tintamarre-ruckus-bedlam-pother-and-brawl, Behave!

    It all started when Eugenia looked out the window one Saturday morning and saw children peddle by on their bikes. “Sometimes,” she said to Ruth, her partner of four decades, “I wish that we’d had a child all… Read More

  • Centaur in Brass 2041

    When I was a kid, there were no canals, no vaporettos, no peacekeepers. That San Francisco seems exotically technicolor to me now, like one of those planets the Enterprise visits that seems just like Earth but isn’t Earth… Read More

  • Slub Glub in the Weird World of the Weeping Willows: Chapters 1 – 13

    By Andrew Goldfarb SLUB GLUB IN THE WEIRD WORLD OF THE WEEPING WILLOWS: CHAPTERS 14 – 26 SLUB GLUB IN THE WEIRD WORLD OF THE WEEPING WILLOWS: CHAPTERS 27 – 40 Chapter One: The Hideous Shrieking of the… Read More

  • Losing His Head

    by Michael C. Keith Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him . . . —William Shakespeare To the outside world Jerry Farelli appeared to have everything life could offer: good looks, excellent health, and substantial wealth (albeit derived from… Read More

  • Chimera: Three Self-Portraits

    Images by David Goldberg [Proofreader’s Note: What is the self but a fantastical amalgamation of ideas, inclinations and elements that nonetheless function, generally, as a complete whole? In a similar vein, Goldberg’s self-portraits are improbable juxtapositions of animal,… Read More

  • Incident at Oscuro

    by Steve Moore She was laying on the edge of the road with her head a good foot past the white line. At first, Tennessee thought that she must’ve been a large dog; a second later he saw… Read More

  • Finding me hesitant, the daffodils fall back

    By Holly Day Finding Me hesitant, the daffodils fall back as if they know their kind is alien here, in the preserved greenstone steppes once home to trilobites and scaly invertebrate worms. only the hardiest flowers grow here,… Read More

  • Gleam

    by Niall Boyce I had lost track of the days. The first hint that I was near my destination was the glimmer of the plastic sheets flapping in the desert breeze. It was still early — I tried… Read More

  • The Skin Shop

    By Rosanne Griffeth This morning, there is no skin. No callous, no glove, no covering, just pink, flayed tissue with no granulation and white tendons barely holding everything together. I am a study in vivisection. My obicularis oris… Read More

  • The Courtship of Lady Boo-Boo

    By Bosley Gravel (apologies to Charles Dodgson) In the land of Nod . . . Tweedledee threw three knives, one after the other; they sailed through the air, spinning in a blur of gray metal and brown leather…. Read More

  • Mawulf Sees the World

    By Adam Myers In the very long, long ago, (or maybe in the soon, soon to be), there lived a curious creature whose name was Mawulf. Now Mawulf was curious in two ways. First, he was very curious… Read More

  • A Roadful of Ducks

    By Tantra Bensko I never thought I’d find comfort this way, but no one told me I couldn’t. I just gave it a go, and the ducks are following me down the road now. As they follow me,… Read More

  • The Breath Between Wonder & Dread: Seven Photographs

    All images (c) Peter Schwartz [These photographs leave one with a sense of having just turned the corner onto a vista in which, moments earlier, something extraordinary happened. What displacement of mass caused the water’s rippling, rainbow sheen?… Read More

  • The Burning Turtle

    by Michael C. Keith The Creature has a purpose and his eyes are bright with it. — John Keats Turtles communicate mostly by grunting, and what they have to say is amazing. I know because one has spoken… Read More

  • The Fabulist Print ‘Zine Preview

    The Fabulist now exists in print! And graced with a gorgeous illustration by Andrew Goldfarb, a detail of which you can see here. You can also download a PDF of The Fabulist Print ‘Zine Preview. You can get… Read More

  • An Honest Attempt

    By Bosley Gravel Me and Lulu-Mae were having a right tasty Sunday lunch in the meadow when Lulu-Mae said, “Lyle, just when are you going to make an honest woman out of me?” I figured no amount of… Read More

  • Togetherness

    By Abha Iyengar The humerus bone has ‘humor’ of a malignant kind, that which shows no restraint. It went jerking in another direction, that is, the direction of a no-no, towards the man with the blond hair. And… Read More

  • Khoa in Chiapas

    By Tram Nguyen He’s seen her before, coming out of the church as he was walking inside. He’d only wanted a place to sit, where it was dark and cool and quiet. He had looked down with shock… Read More

  • Stop, Before it’s too Late

    By Tantra Bensko Don’t open that note! The pages are folded over for a reason. Crackling of the adventurine-colored curtains gone moldy, and brittle, over the last century signals trouble all around you now you have started to… Read More

  • Tales of the Natural

    By Tantra Bensko Sage, the courier said, once burned, will remove all evidence that I existed, and have left this package here. Burn it now, or the old woman across the street will know. You know how long… Read More

  • The Story of the Oogaloogaman

    By Josh Mulholland This is the story of the Oogaloogaman. I heard it from Roger, who heard it from Shaun, who knows it’s true. If I tell it to you, you have to believe it, because if you… Read More

  • New Existence

    She pervades all things. 1918 was the best of all creatures. You fear possible negative public feeling against them, and you cannot now retain my attention. Besides learned men from his meditation days, by asking of the north,… Read More

  • Where is the Enchilada of Death?

    by Jen Burke Anderson Stomach flu. Days of lying on your back at the mercy of mutant molecules coiling viciously up your brain tubes, of your neurons unlinking and firing randomly into the air like Cossacks at a… Read More

  • To Broil a Horse

    Title and theme went on and on: old Ralph Rinkelmann and his innumerable rubber trees in the center of a basin. And wringing from them the juice of a lemon. To broil a horse. It closed around him…. Read More

  • With Virgil

    By Josh Mulholland Behind the polyglas the sky was orange over the city.  The white towers were tall and thin, with minaret tops.  Just like the snow asparagus FourMother cloned in the agrovat, Lewis thought.  Funny he’d never… Read More

  • The Sea-King and the City

    By Josh Wilson You often ask, child, about the fog that rolls in thick on the heels of the day, and clings like a shroud through highest summer. Any student of atmospheres and temperature will tell you how… Read More

  • Perfect Day

    By Adam Myers My good friend Marianne once asked me, “What is your definition of a perfect day?” She was flipping through one of those women’s magazines, reading the questions of some quiz out loud. Kicked back on… Read More