Interweaving Worlds of Possibility

A Review of Greg Bechtel’s “The Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis (Or, the Many-Worlds Interpretation)” from Boundary Problems (Freehand Books, 2014)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover photo from Boundary Problems from http://gregbechtel.ca/

Cover photo from Boundary Problems from http://gregbechtel.ca/

We all have a desire to figure out the world around us and our place in it. In Greg Bechtel’s “The Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis (Or, the Many-Worlds Interpretation)”, Matthew keeps finding himself in positions where he is near to uncovering the patterns of the world, the hidden aspects of reality. He desires a deeper understanding of the world, a form of belief, but is kept back from his desire by his own doubt. Matthew is attracted to women whose occult engagements give them insights into the secrets behind reality, but he feels withdrawn from their ability to see beyond through his own desire to EXPLAIN, to put knowledge into boxes that he can understand.

Matthew is haunted by his disbelief, by his withdrawal from the magical world around him that keeps speaking to him through the women who find him. But, more than the unusual and strange, he is haunted by the spectre of violence that his partners experience, haunted by their memories of the violence they have experienced and how that violence shapes their relationship with him: their fears, discomforts, and inability to trust yet another man who could bring violence into their lives. The past keeps intruding into the present of his relationships, shaping his understanding and experience of the world around him. The world is shaped by convergences of different pasts, different stories and ways of articulating experiences and, as Matthew is told by Freya “I love the past. It’s the only thing we can change” (223). Reality is a series of permeable worlds, a series of stories extending into the past and the future, constituting our experience in the moment as one that is made up of our accumulated past stories and our accumulated imaginings about the present. Bechtel invites readers into this space of flexible reality, a place of pondering the intersection of possibilities and a place where stories construct US.

Like Matthew, we want a way to explain the world, especially when haunted by the ever-present spectre of violence.

To read more about Greg Becthel’s work, visit his website at gregbechtel.ca

To check out Boundary Problems and other Freehand Books publications, visit their website at http://www.freehand-books.com/.

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Coyotes in Urban Turf Wars

A review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Nahaules” (in This Strange Way of Dying, Exile Editions, 2013)

Cover photo courtesy of Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Artwork by Sara K. Diesel

Cover photo courtesy of Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Artwork by Sara K. Diesel

By Derek Newman-Stille

As in many of her works, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s short story “Nahaules” makes the urban space strange, exploring the intrusion of the folkloric into the cityscape. Nahaules, coyote shapeshifters, old stories, have come into the city, changing the city gradually as scents of the forest battle with smog, and buildings crack like mountains.

When she begins to be stalked by the nahaules, Moreno-Garcia’s unnamed narrator has to set aside her disbelief for legend and myth and start relying on old techniques for warding off the coyotes and reclaiming the urban environment. She is hunted, made a victim in her own home and she escapes from the mythical into the urban as long as she is able to until she is met with the inevitability that myths of old can only be fought with techniques of old.

The unnamed narrator, like many women in urban environments, is met with the process of being estranged from her home, made unsafe in an environment that she identifies as her own as predators push her to feel more and more uncomfortable. Stalked, she is forced to move further and further from areas that she considers her own, driven from her home by the predatory impulse of male stalkers as they move deeper into her territory. She plays with the image of being a victim, a sacrificial goat, while simultaneously turning the predatory behaviour back on her oppressors.

Moreno-Garcia reminds us that monsters hunt in urban environments and that people are made to feel unsafe and insecure, that their homes can be made strange and uncomfortable by intrusions of predators who rule through intimidation and threat.

To find out more about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work, you can visit her website at http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/ . To read this story and others from This Strange Way of Dying, you can explore it at http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/this-strange-way-of-dying/ . This collection will be available in the fall.