Volume III, Issue 1 -- February, 2002
Introducing complete review Fiction
Fiction at the complete review
"complete review Fiction" ?
Fiction ? At a site supposedly devoted to reviewing books ?
What possible need or use could there be for such a thing ? readers might wonder.
The complete review needs little justification to embark on yet another ostensibly literary pursuit. The slightest hint that a literary need goes unmet, that our current fora can't hold our ambitions -- and off we set (pausing only to down a few more in the local literary saloon first). We'll be left panting and ranting and raving soon enough, no doubt, as we are torn in ever more directions, but our enthusiasm remains unbridled.
The complete review is a book review forum. It is a popular and fairly highly regarded site, largely because of its narrowly (but well-) defined purpose. Information about each book is provided, as well as a review, and links to other reviews and other information. There is no unnecessary clutter, and there are hardly any frills. Within the rigid strictures of the site a great deal of information can be conveyed -- but literature isn't always so easily contained and rendered. Hence the expansion of the site, first with the crQuarterly, and now with cr Fiction.
Two years ago the complete review Quarterly was founded, an addition to the site designed to provide space for a variety of literary considerations and approaches that were outside the scope of the complete review itself. It has proved a popular and successful forum -- and yet, after two years and eight issues, we find it also has limitations.
One hope was to include literary responses that went beyond the traditional forms in the crQuarterly. The entertaining Literary Saloon dialogues proved a viable approach, but only for certain subjects. Other efforts -- including some poetic experimentation and the like -- also worked well enough, but contributors generally (and regrettably) preferred to stick with the tried and (roughly) true.
Users may have noticed that fiction is the genre we invest the most in at the complete review. We cover non-fiction -- often topical, occasionally relevant, it is hard to avoid. But it is invention that appeals to us most -- and it is invention that we hope will flourish at cr Fiction
cr Fiction is a literary review with a very narrow focus: it is devoted entirely to fiction about literature. Writing about writing, one might say. But cr Fiction is far more interested in writing that considers the appreciation of literature rather than the creation of literature.
There are already many publications that present all manner of fiction: mass-circulation print publications, small-circulation literary journals, and an increasing number of Internet-based forums, among others. There is an incredible amount -- and assortment -- of fiction on offer on newsstands, at bookstores, in libraries, and on the Internet. There are outlets for every sort of writing: literary fiction (or the sort that pretends to be), genre fiction, amateur and fan fiction, and most any other kind. But there is always room for more.
cr Fiction, however, has a specific mission in mind. While the complete review covers a broad range of works and thus might be considered a general-interest literary publication, cr Fiction looks to be a much more limited forum. It doesn't aim to be a general purpose literary magazine, willing to publish any story of adequate quality. Instead, cr Fiction will offer only fictional fiction. Fiction about literature.
Perhaps there are few things more tiresome than writing about writing -- but it is a subject of perennial interest. More significantly, writing about reading (to put it simply) appears to us to be a topic that isn't explored often enough -- and should be of particular interest to the complete review's audience. These will be the starting points for all contributions to cr Fiction. Whether they will lead to anything new, to anything worthwhile remains to be seen. We believe they will.
cr Fiction is decidedly an Internet publication. Publishing on the Internet provides certain opportunities (though it also has some drawbacks -- notably that it can be annoying and tiresome to read large amounts of text off a computer). The complete review has not been impressed by much of the fiction that has appeared on the Internet. In particular, so-called hyper-textual experiments have proven very disappointing. Nevertheless, cr Fiction looks to take advantage of certain features of the Internet in the fiction that it publishes. Early efforts likely will include the use of links to supplemental information (at the complete review, as well as off-site), as well as a willingness to change and adapt previously posted material as circumstances warrant.
At this stage cr Fiction is still little more than a gleam in its editors' eyes. Only one project -- Inquest, an ambitious serial fantasia -- is currently in the works, but more are sure to follow. What cr Fiction might become remains to be seen -- but we are optimistic.
Readers might be curious what other additions to the site the editors of the complete review have considered (or are considering). It will probably be a while before we start anything new, but among the ideas that have been bandied about are:
But for now we can just suggest:
- crDADA -- dadaist appreciations of literature
- cr TV -- move over Book TV !
- c-Reviews-r -- reviews of individual book reviews (instead of individual books)
- complete interview -- interviews with authors (original idea: interviews with book reviewers)
- incomplete review -- vapid, vacuous, ill-considered, incomplete book reviews (selected from your local newspapers' book review sections)
Come see our fiction -- at cr Fiction
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