Rush Hour, Volume One: Sin -- Ed. Michael Cart

Have any of you stumbled across Rush Hour?  Frankly, I'm a little horrified that it's taken me this long to find it.

From the Introduction:

Welcome to the first issue of Rush Hour, something new in publishing.  Neither a magazine nor a book, we're the best of both: a cutting-edge literary journal of contemporary voices that will be published twice each year.  Our contents are intended to be at once artful and risk-taking, innovative and--always--eclectic.  In this inaugural issue, for example, you'll find original art, stories, essays, poetry, and excerpts from forthcoming novels.  Though varied in form, each entry deals with a common theme: "Sin."

Like most multiple-author collections, this one is pretty uneven.  The age range bounces around considerably -- from, say, young teen to adult.  Granted, the Young Adult realm does encompass that age range, but it was a little jarring to find a pretty tame Joan Bauer story in the same book as a horrifically violent war story by Terry Davis.  It didn't bother me, particularly, but I'd imagine that it would make the audience hard to gauge for librarians and booksellers.  And parents.


Brock Cole's "A Life of Crime":  As it's a story by Brock Cole, I wasn't surprised to find that it made me feel squeamish and icky -- but he does it in such an understated way.  It is, after all, as story about some pretty serious repression.  Excellent.

Emma Donahue's "Good Deed":  A sort-of retelling of the Good Samaritan tale about a pretty self-absorbed Canadian businessman-yuppie-type.  I might have liked it particularly because I pictured the protagonist as someone I know (not very flattering for him), but I think it's a good one nonetheless.

Sonya Sones' "Massage":  It's Sonya Sones.  Need I say more?  It's much more... physical than most of her other work.

Gary Miller's "Gone Lonesome":  Brutal, but it made me want to read the rest of the book.

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins' "The Terror Class":  A Harlem elementary school.

Alex Flinn's "Intrinsic Value":  Purely fantastic.  If I had to pick just one, this would probably be it.

There was also an excerpt from Chris Lynch's perfect Inexcusable. (This 'issue' of Rush Hour was published before the novel.) 

Regardless of my quibbles/worries about the series, I'm very definitely going to track down the other back issues, and I'm looking forward to Volume Four, due out in June.  It's just such a great idea.  I hope it'll be around for a long, long time.