A review of


by Harold Jaffe

Central question: What the fuck is going on here?
Format: 156 pp., paperback; Size: 9” x 6”; Price: $13.95; Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press; Location of publisher: Hyattsville, Maryland; Book design: Jennifer Barnes; Cover design and interior art: Katana Blue; Languages author’s novels have been translated into: Czech, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish; Author’s general artistic aims: “to employ the givens of the prevailing culture in order to turn the culture against itself”; Author is also editor of: Fiction International; Representative sentence: “Genocide is an abstraction.”

The first casualty of any war is truth. You know that. But if you’re wondering why creative nonfiction has eclipsed fiction in so many of the glossy magazines it’s likely because the government has all but cornered the market on inventing stories. Given the current administration’s steadfast refusal to distinguish reality from myth, Harold Jaffe has responded with his own mash-up of news and fiction. Terror-Dot-Gov contains fifteen short stories (which Jaffe calls “docufictions”) drawn from “reconstituted reports and articles from a number of sources” and about the effects the War on Terror has had here on the home front.

“Things to Do During Time of War” is arranged so artfully that the character and plot emerge seemingly out of nowhere:

Send three faxes.

Make six phone calls from your cell while sitting at the terminal.

Access CNN news online.

Another suicide bombing, another helicopter gunship attack, more torture uncovered, another savage beheading, oil prices rising steeply thanks to the Arab oil cartel.

Orange Alert will continue at least through the weekend.

Send for coffee, double latte from Starbucks.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Andrew Ervin

Andrew Ervin is an M.F.A. student in fiction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has recently written a novel.

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