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The Second Annual Fiction Issue

This Is Who Is In The Second Annual Fiction Issue Of vice Magazine

JESSE ARMSTRONGHe has written for the critically savaged UK adaptation of the sitcom That 70s Show and the critically not-savaged, hilarious, award-winning British comedy Peep Show. He also co-wrote the savagely funny BBC...

He has written for the critically savaged UK adaptation of the sitcom That 70s Show and the critically not-savaged, hilarious, award-winning British comedy Peep Show. Trust us, all you Yanks who hated Little Britain will love it.   ASSSSCAT
They are the best living improv team. We asked them to be in the Fiction Issue because what they do is like fiction, but offered up to the smoke. One night only. These guys are tough—every week they make funny things that can’t be recorded or taped, that are just that night only, and then gone.  QUENTN BLAKE 
He has illustrated over 300 books by writers such as Michael Rosen, Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, John Yeoman, and, most famously of all, Roald Dahl. For many years he taught at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the illustration department from 1978 to 1986. He has won many awards and prizes and was made a CBE in 2005. According to the Guardian, he was “already a national institution” when he was appointed the first Children’s Laureate in 1999. POPPY Z. BRITE
A native New Orleanian, when Brite writes about her hometown it becomes the most beautiful place on earth. She has a new collection out called Antediluvian Tales (Subterranean Press), which contains the last stories she wrote before the hurricane hit, destroyed her home, and ruined everything. EVAN S. CONNELL
He is one of the literary titans of the 20th century. His novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge are classics. They tell the story of love in America. His Diary of a Rapist is another novel you should read. We could list a lot of adjectives here, but frankly, it feels silly. Connell is so completely, so unquestionably above inclusion in our pages, it’s ridiculous. We feel this way about many of the stories in this issue, but in all honesty, when he agreed to send a story, our jaws dropped, and our hearts raced, and we took little laps around the room.  DENNIS COOPER
The master of transgressive fiction. Cooper writes about extreme sexual violence and makes it sound beautiful. Is that weird? It’s true. His five novels known as “The George Miles Cycle” are about an obsession with a sad, lost boy. Porn, torture, drugs, punk rock, stringy-haired teen fuck-ups and hustlers—Cooper writes about all the fun, scary stuff we never get tired of reading about. We have every single one of his books, ordered chronologically, on our bookshelf. ROBERT COOVER
A living American great. He is also so fucking cool looking. Google his picture. Listen, we’ve always known he is great. Our most respected friends and professors have told us this, and when his work has been in a collection of stories, always, it has stood out. Still, the novel he is working on, Noir, which is excerpted here, surprised the shit out of us. It’s another supernatural piece, from a believer, and so much like… falling in love, how it really is, that it made one of us cry. With total shame we told him how beautiful we found it, and with total correctness, he ignored that email. That’s the way it should be. GARY FISKETJON
He is kind of a mystery. He’s edited almost every author you love (Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis, Patricia Highsmith) and yet he doesn’t seem to think so much of it all. Which is not to say he undervalues the authors, but rather that he seems to take his role as pretty basic, as just hard work. We suppose that is the right view. MARY GAITSKILL
She is a woman we kind of—no, entirely—love. She is the author of two short-story collections (Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To) and two novels (Two Girls Fat and Thin and the beautiful Veronica). Her work is insightful and unflinching, and the feeling underlying it would—we think—be too much for most people to take. It seems like she embodies that thing, where you are not supposed to be afraid of your emotions, but rather watch them. JOHN HASKELL
He is the author of I Am Not Jackson Pollock. For us, the stories that define him are these short, insightful pieces about iconic Americans. He penetrates to the heart of the icon’s personal deal. His portraits seem so right that you keep pausing and going, “Wait, this isn’t real. He doesn’t really know this.” But you know what? He does. He recently wrote a novel, American Purgatorio. TAO LIN
He is the young, talented darling of the fiction scene these days, and for that reason, perhaps we wanted to hate him. Never gonna happen. He’s a master of understatement—or, rather, of statement. He describes life simply, neither making things bigger or smaller than they are. We asked him how he did it, thinking he wouldn’t tell us. He said that at first, he held back, and later, it became natural. We said, “Thank you,” and he said, “Ha ha ha.” RICHARD MILWARD
Richard Milward was born in 1984 in Middlesbrough. His debut novel Apples, published by Faber&Faber, is out now in all good and bad bookshops, and has been described by telly’s Lauren Laverne as “funny, tragic and trandscendent”. Richard is currently living in London, and studies fine art at Byam Shaw at Central St Martins. He often dreams of his teeth falling out. OTTESSA MOSHFEGH
She is a 26-year-old Brooklyn-based short-story writer whose work has appeared in literary journals including Fence, Noon, and Unsaid. She is at work on a novel about her time spent in Wuhan, a small industrial village in China.  YOKO OGAWA
She is a Japanese short-story writer, journalist, and novelist about whom we do not know so much. We read about her on Wikipedia, and we had the feeling she was right. The stars fell into alignment, and her US publisher sent us the story “Growing Chinese Greens.” It is about magic and the unreal entering a life, being accepted, existing as it is. E.C. OSONDU 
He came to America several years ago for graduate school and is currently finishing his MFA at Syracuse. He worked in Nigeria as a copywriter for Ogilvy & Mather. His work is winning prizes all over, and it seems like, in a few years, he will be too big to recall us. LAURA PARK
She is a brilliant illustrator, she has a pet pigeon, and she talks (or at least writes emails) in the vernacular of a 19th century confidence man/vaudevillian… Isn’t that enough? Don’t you love her already? RICHARD PRICE
Oh shit. We were trying to dial it down a notch and along comes the man who wrote The Color of Money, The Wanderers, and Sea of Love. Fuck! He is the author of seven novels. This is an excerpt from his next one, called Lush Life. He is also a writer on the HBO series The Wire, our DVDs of which are currently making their way across America, to our stepdads. JOHNNY RYAN
Every month, we run a comic by this guy and, every month, we laugh our idiot heads off. He is the original Mister Funnypants. LUDMILA PETRUSHEVSKAYA
She was born in Moscow in 1938. Her stories and plays were blacklisted by the Soviets until perestroika. Since then, two of her novels have been short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize and she has been acknowledged a “living classic” in her homeland. The founding light of the “new women’s prose” movement, she has produced work in a remarkable range of genres, with an emphasis most recently on magical stories based in contemporary Russian realities. Penguin will be publishing a new translation of her Scary Fairy Tales in early 2009. JIM SHEPARD
Do you know that line from the movie about Truman Capote, where his friend Harper Lee says that when Truman asked her to come with him to write his book, it was “deep calling deep”? That is how we feel about Jim Shepard. He’s the author of six novels and two short-story collections, most recently Like You’d Understand, Anyway. Something about his work breaks our heart, and always has. But it’s difficult to explain. Just read his story in here and then go buy his book. We’re over here sobbing. NICK TOSCHES
He is an American journalist and novelist who wrote for all the big deal rock ’n’ roll stuff in the 60s, and now he’s basically an American institution. Can we help it if—still, still—we think this is cool? We cannot. JON VERMILYEA
He makes great comics about things like Victorian-era time travelers and Van Gogh fighting with the anthropomorphic fruits and meats from the food pyramid. Fun! No sucking for this guy. GUS VISCO
He is our favorite kind of writer, meaning he is a natural-born gem who knows how to be funny, deep, and scary, all without ever having gotten knee-deep in the gross world of school and agents. He lives outside it and above it. Gus is currently at work on a screenplay for an animated feature film. WILLIAM T. VOLLMAN
When he got out of college, he saved money and went to Afghanistan, where he traveled with the mujahideen. His experiences there went into his first novel, An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World. We know: It’s kind of annoying when ambitious kids buy a ticket and come back with material. But that is not William T. Vollmann. He is for real. He is there. That is really all we ask. EARL WANG
He is a Queens-based writer. This is his first time in print. LAURIE WEEKS
She recently completed a collection of short stories, Debbie’s Barium Swallow, or, I Know I Am a Flower. Currently she’s finishing her novel-like thing, Zipper Mouth, from which her story is excerpted here. She also just wrote a lengthy metaphysical diatribe in fictional form on the work of artist Nicole Eisenman, entitled Eat Me!, forthcoming in many, many languages from the Kunsthalle Zurich museum. She says that she is in the process of turning the story, which includes a philosophizing vestigial tumor named Clarissa, into a script for a bad 60s movie. Which she will then film. Badly. (PS: We adore her and want her to write for us in every issue forever.)