Category Archives: Literary Non-linearity

Jonesbridge Excerpt

In one week, Jonesbridge: Echoes of Hinterland will finally be unleashed. In the meantime Entropy Magazine has put up an excerpt .

“As compelling dystopian novels must, ME Parker’s Jonesbridge reaches towards us with two arms, that of the familiar and that of the uncanny, and it’s impossible to decide which is the more disarming and disturbing. In propulsive prose that nonetheless carves out its own lyricism, Parker traces his characters’ trajectories as they seek transcendence from the mechanistic blueprints that have been veritably etched into their minds and onto their bodies. Yet transcend they do, finding in the scars of their condition the very glimmers by which they might navigate to elsewhere and otherwise. Parker keeps us riveted such that we feel triumphant in their fragile victories, conjoined and complicit in their fates, and ever-thankful that there are further volumes in which to dwell alongside them.” –Tim Horvath, Author of Understories

Still a week left to head over to Goodreads to win a review copy.

Order a copy from all Outlets

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Jonesbridge: Echoes of Hinterland now available for pre-order

Pre-order itunes, kindle, Audible, paperback
“…Jonesbridge isn’t just a dystopia of geography, but that of the human condition, ravaged by history. Their journey is a revolt against the destitution of their world and M.E. Parker is a cartographer of the spirit, navigating us through his powerful prose that is unflinchingly honest…”
–Peter Tieryas Liu, author of the United States of Japan, Bald New World and Watering Heaven

Jonesbridge Cover

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Jonesbridge: Echoes of Hinterland


After wandering in the literary desert,  I finally landed a book deal.

Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Publisher of Camera Obscura Journal of Literature & Photography M.E. Parker’s HINTERLAND, in which the Jonesbridge Industrial Complex, in a fight for metal resources to fuel the war effort against the E’sters, enslaves a young dreamer whose escape plans and world view are threatened when he meets a pregnant railwalker on the salvage line and falls in love, to Laura Duane at Diversion Books, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2014, by Elizabeth Kracht at Kimberley Cameron & Associates (World English).

From PublishersMarketplace July 25, 2014

find out more about Jonesbridge.

For updates leading up to publication (and an unknown variety of other things) Hinterland

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A Taxonomy of Very Short Fiction

If our attention span, as some experts have claimed, has shortened, and is now somehow inversely proportional to a lengthening life span, perhaps the speed at which data streams and changes has made us impatient to the point of frustration with any wait at all, even a wait for a conclusion, should that take more than a page to occur. And this trend to compact information sometimes provides us gloriously dense neutron stars for stories that provide as much satisfaction as Willy Wonka’s four-course-meal bubblegum.
In fact, so many variations of stories of this abbreviated length have proliferated in the last decade that a need for a taxonomy of such work has arisen (not really, but why buck the trend to pigeonhole everything into nice neat little buckets). Enlarge the diagram on the right for a derivation of the genus fabula brevissima and its constituent species from of the phylum I have classified as communicationis arogantis (all self-edifying works, which does include infomercials and French films).

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Camera Obscura Journal

                                                                             ICamera Obscura Journal have recently launched a new literary and photography print annual. The Camera Obscura Journal is now open for prose submissions. We hope to feature the best literature and photography we can obtain. We will offer a featured writer honorarium of $1000 for the best story we publish in the first issue. We are also hosting a photography competition with categories for amateur and professional photographers offering $1500 in prizes. Deadline for photography entries is February, 1 2010.  All submissions are handled electronically.  Stop by if you get a chance.


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MacGuffin Spring/Summer 2009

MacGuffin Spring/Summer 2009
Cover – Sue Averell

While some small press publications do survive, even fewer thrive. Many wind up as squashed bugs on the literary radiator grill in a matter of a few years, and in some cases, months. The MacGuffin has been around since 1984. I hope it lasts another twenty-five years.

Behind the beautiful cover of the Spring/Summer 2009 MacGuffin designed by Sue Averell , my story “The Harlot of Baltimore” was lucky enough to land a spot beside some great fiction and poetry, including that of Jen Michalski, editor of the indie publication JMWW Journal.


“The Harlot of Baltimore” Begins:

“Day fifteen of a twenty-three day voyage began before sunup with commotion on the main deck. Myron scurried up the ladder to find a crowd, mostly crew at this point in the trip, gathered around a man wearing a bowler hat. Buttoned up in tweeds, a shine on his shoes, Finister Morgan stumbled along the bulwarks with a triumphant grin on his face. “I have beaten it,” he proclaimed, and, given his equanimity, no one had any reason to doubt him. Moments after his declaration, even as the mainsail filled with wind, Finister’s chest heaved, and he collapsed, breathless, onto the forward deck of the Baltimore Mary.”

To get a copy of the MacGuffin and support a great small press publication go to

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Words in a Box :
A Literary Gedankenexperiment

Imagine that in order to determine how much money to pay the author (very wishful thinking), the local independent bookseller had to first calculate the velocity of the books as they flew off the shelves (more wishful thinking for the author and the indie bookseller). I’ll also add the constraint: the only way to make this calculation would be to hurl another book at them as they flew by, which would also require the bookseller to know the books’ location. After this thwack with the other book, the bookseller would know the velocity of the books and could calculate the royalty, but the exact location of the books to deliver to the customer would be in question–somewhere in a range of probable locations in proximity to where the books collided.


As a way to express the unique and somewhat ridiculous mathematics involved in describing quantum systems (something I won’t attempt here), and to illustrate the fallacy of applying a quantum analysis to a non quantum object, in 1935 the physicist Erwin Schrödinger conceived of a hypothetical experiment, (no animals were actually harmed): shut a cat in a sealed box next to a piece of radioactive substance small enough such that the probability of it producing one particle of radioactive decay in one hour was the same as it producing no particles at all. He would then outfit the box with a Geiger counter rigged to a hammering device situated over a tube of poisonous gas. If the counter detected a radioactive particle, the hammer would fall, shattering the tube of gas which would kill the cat. Applying the same probability equations used to describe quantum states, after a time, the cat would be both dead and alive simultaneously.


Schrödinger's Cat

However, after opening the box, the observer would definitely see either a hot and pissed off (but still alive) cat or dead one, certainly not both. This gedankenexperiment has been interpreted numerous ways. Some theorized that a quantum state can only be known at the time of measurement (when the box is finally opened). “The many worlds interpretation” has a bifurcating universe at the point the box is opened, one with the observer looking at a dead cat and one with the observer looking at a living cat.

Since literature seems to be governed by cultural appraisal rather than physical law unlike cats and subatomic  particles. It would seem possible for a work of fiction to be in both a Literary and a genre state simultaneously, perhaps until the observer opens it, an observer with a predetermined list of expectations.


The litany of differences is long and varied depending on who is asked.


Genre vs. literary: craft vs. art–plot vs. character–conspicuous vs. subtle– escapism vs. illumination–aliens vs. eighteenth-century hand maidens–Hugo vs. Pulitzer–making money vs. critical acclaim.

There have been writers who have breached this genre barrier, Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut come to mind, but for this, I’m going subatomic, to the words themselves.


In this literary gedankenexperiment, I propose to take the words from two famous novels, one literary and one genre, throw them in a box (a shoebox perhaps), and instead of radiation, I’ll subject them to agitation by placing the box on the washing machine during the spin cycle and extrapolate the result of two sample sentences from the originals.


From East of Eden – Steinbeck These too are of a burning color-not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies.” 





From I, Robot – Asimov He’s the best darn robot money can buy and I’m damned sure he set me back half a year’s income. Mrs. Weston was a bit hazy about the insides of a robot…” 





Result: I’m damned, burning, not gold, orange, now a liquid, might be cream, a bit hazy on the buy. These poppies are pure gold, the best, half a year’s income for Mrs. Weston. And he’s like a robot about the money.





*There are a few words lost to entropy in this process.
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