I do not game. I find gaming at best pointless and antisocial, at worst, violent and misogynistic. I readily admit I am ignorant of gaming and was not good at the few primitive games I tried back in the day, so if anyone wants to school me in all I am missing from the wonderful world of gaming, go ahead. I will read with as open a mind as I can muster.
I mention all this not to insult and challenge gamers everywhere, but just to explain how I came to write “Hollow.” In doing research for a story (as yet unpublished) about a veteran of the Iraq War who games, I watched a lot of Halo on YouTube and was appalled at the focused, impersonal, and constant violence, which seemed to me to subvert puerile masculine fantasies of heroism, turning them into something frightening and casually cruel.
I channeled this reaction into a very brief micro-fiction, “Hollow,” which sketched a real-life gaming experience in a dystopian future. Many editors rejected this, and the one who commented on it explained that it reads more like the beginning of a story than a complete work. I understand that, but I kind of like it the way it is, and I did not prioritize expanding it because I had conceived of it as short and uncomfortably unresolved.
Fortunately, Willem Myra the guest editor of Issue 4 of formercactus, “Microcaxtus,” liked the piece in all its brevity and will be publishing it on January 15. I look forward to familiarizing myself with formercactus in the interim.
Happy Western New Year!