The Outer Limits (and The Underground)

A cappella Zoo (Issue 7, Fall 2011, 164 pages)

Genre fiction receives an undeservedly rough ride from the Academy, generally dismissed as escapist juvenilia. One would hope, then, that genre would flourish in the underground as a suitable vehicle for subversion. However, it’s pretty tough to find, say, cutting edge speculative fiction in the small press world. That’s why A cappella Zoo is so refreshing.

Ostensibly publishing “magic realism” and “slipstream” (categories which do have some academic caché) fiction and poetry, A cappella Zoo is a ‘little’ magazine that doesn’t explicitly fly the flag for genre. However, the stories inside, such as “Waving on the Moon” (flash scifi) by Tania Hershman, “Painting God at Epcot” (time travel by way of surrealism rather than quantum mechanics) by Alexander Weinstein, and “Fixing a Hole” (just plain weirdness) by Anthony J. Rapino make you think Amazing Stories rather than New Yorker. (At least in terms of subject matter; the prose itself is the work of serious writers well-practiced in their craft.)

Even more surprising is the quality of the poetry. While some of the verse here finds Muse in fantasy – such as “Ginny” (a sea monster-shanty) by Elizabeth O’Brien – rather than more “serious” sources, the work is as technically tight as anything you’d find in The Paris Review and, arguably, more engaging.

A cappella Zoo is a good place for readers who want strong literature that doesn’t sacrifice vibrant imagination (or vice-versa).

Take a trip out to:



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