Coming Attractions 07
Edited by Mark Anthony Jarman
Oberon Press’ Coming Attractions 07 showcases three emerging Canadian talents. It opens with its strongest stories by BC author Julie Paul. In her hilarious and sharp-witted “Boring Baby,” a new mother, already fed up with the trappings of motherhood, compares her newborn to an end table. Anik See also creates vivid characters, though her stories sometimes meander and have less impact than Paul’s. In Fabrizio Napoleone’s “Steel Dust,” the longest story of the collection, we’re submerged into the world of a Hamilton steel mill where men place bets on how many days they can go without a “lost-time accident.” The protagonist is there for the summer with these “men of steel.” It’s a hellish vision: the ovens, “the sweat and grime and microscopic metallic particles,” not to mention the thunderous roar of the giant machine they refer to as “the beast.” But he also compares the men to superheroes. He sees the steel mill as “an altar in a great cathedral.” Though the device he uses to remove the protagonist’s figurative safety net (the real danger being the threat of the job becoming permanent) is predictable, it is a testament to Napoleone’s ability that we feel bursts of humanity, that such contradictions are more than just smoke.