Fiction. The odd, illuminating moment that arises from a strange encounter is a trope in short fiction that seldom gets shopworn. Unlikely collisions both in terms of plot and character give energy and illumination to the fifteen stories collected in STANGE ENCOUNTER: SHORT STORIES. These stories are unique in their abilities to shine a light on the strange, odd, and fantastic until we are left thinking, "Isn't life extraordinary?" Eleanor Lerman's "Persistent Views of the Unknown" opens the collection with a story of paranormal encounter. "The Dead Writers Reading Series" by Nathan Oates throws us into a world where long-dead authors show-up to read their work. "Tooth" by Tsung-yan Kwong tells the tale of i, or Tooth, an urban legend of North Korean prison camps who used ventriloquism and contortionism to spook gulag warders and give hope to prisoners. More grounded in reality but nevertheless fantastic is Peter Gordon's "Elizabeth," the story of a modest wedding in a Boston hotel and the young newlywed's chance encounter with Elizabeth Taylor. Bradley Bazzle's "Relatable Influence" gives us a behind-the-scenes look at a mom blogger whose editor asks her to work with a famous but unusual photographer to enhance her image and advance her work to a higher level of social influence. The collection's concluding piece "Singapore" by Lisa Taddeo is a chilling account of a young mother and her toddler daughter who are abducted knife-point by a man who intends to rape and kill them both. "Singapore"—and all of the fifteen stories collected here—speak to the strangeness and unpredictability of life.
Missouri Review Books editors Kristine Somerville and Speer Morgan bring a combined editorial experience of nearly eighty years to publishing literary works by writers of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. A professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia since 1972, Morgan is among the most respected editors in literary publishing. The author of five novels and a collection of short stories and the editor of three other books, he's a past recipient of an NEA Fellowship for Fiction and the recipient of an American Book Award for The Freshour Cylinders, a novel published in 1998. Somerville's work has appeared in a variety of magazines, including the North American Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, and New Voices from the Academy of American Poets. She oversees the Missouri Review's various promotional efforts, including direct mail, national advertising, fundraising dinners, and charity events. Somerville also oversees the Missouri Review's cover design and artwork, and writes TMR's "found text" and art features.