Online issue with excerpts from the print issue & Web-only features:
Thaddeus Rutkowski writes of the winner: "This story tells of a boyhood and of an era (the Cold War), all in the same neat package. While the boy (who narrates the story) schemes to wear a pair of shorts against his parents' warnings of hell to pay, the whole country schemes to get the Reds, the 'godless heathens.' The boy does make a pair of shorts for himself, by cutting up a pair of Toughskins jeans, and for an afternoon he runs bare-legged and free. However, the threat of punishment prevails, and the blasphemous cutoffs are buried in the ground, like nuclear waste. And, like plutonium, 'they're buried there still.' They 'have outlasted Vietnam, the Olympic boycott, the Cold War, Star Wars.' Hence, by the end, the scope has widened from family life to the sweep of history. I also admire the way that Fearnside sets the scene, evoking the heat of summer in a small town in the United States. The town has a five and dime, sticky ice cream, and fireflies at night. Those details are right on target."
Karen F. Groves, Buyer Be Wary
The top Finalists selected by MMM Fiction Editor David Rozgonyi:
William Donnelly, This is Not a Ghost Story
John E. Branseum, Babies
Deb R. Lewis, Waiting at One End of Time
Jennifer L Schultz, Murder
Sandra Maddux-Creech, Soul Cats on the EL
Jeff Fearnside, born and raised in Cold War-era Ohio, has lived and worked in post-Soviet Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan since June 2002. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of publications, most recently Isotope, Permafrost, Rock & Sling, and the anthology A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service. Currently, he is focused primarily on work set in Central Asia.
Andrew McNabb lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and two children. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in New Delta Review, Potomac Review and other publications, including the soon to be re-issued anthology on aging, Fierce with Reality. He is at work on a story collection.