[When Andy Duncan asked me whether NYRSF would be interested in reading the introduction to his master’s thesis, I responded yes instantly even though I had never read an MFA thesis and thus had no true idea what it encompassed. I was delighted to find so much of Andy present even in this formal document—his love for the written word, for voices, for the fantastic and the star-crossed all pour out as he lays his stories down for judgment. Enjoy.—kjm and the eds.]
DUNCAN, ANDREW ROBERT. Our Stories Thus Far. (Under the direction of John J. Kessel.)
This is a collection of five stories both fantastical and historical. “From Alfano’s Reliquary” is a tale of skullduggery in the medieval Church of Rome. “Beluthahatchie” depicts the travels of a Depression-era blues guitarist who dies and goes not to Hell but to the next railway station past Hell. “Grand Guignol” is about backstage intrigue at the 1920s Parisian theater of gore. “Liza and the Crazy Water Man” is a romance set amid the Charlotte country-music industry of the 1930s. Finally, “The Chief Designer” is a speculative and mystical portrait of the guiding genius of the Soviet space program.