Title

Esoterika

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Julie Hensley

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

R. Dean Johnson

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Abstract

At first, the short story collection, Esoterika, seems like a disjointed collection of stories from all different genres mashed into one collection without rhyme or reason. It goes from the literary fiction settings of "A World Apart," "Crash" and "All Good Things..." through haunted tales like "The Quiet Man," and the various "Supernatural" stories. It dips through science fiction in "The Games" and "The Revelation," and ends in the magical realism of "Literal Fiction." There are even two tales that are hard to quantify: "The Three Horsemen," a fantasy with a heavy theological influence and "One Nation under Ground," a hard to label epistolary/historical fiction/sci fi/ thriller. Although it seems an astronomical improbability that these varied stories could fit well into a collection, they actually do work. The collection does have a loose thread connecting some of its stories which take place in a fictional town described as the sister city to Salem, Massachusetts. Esoterika uses various writing techniques and storytelling devices to subvert the truth and give readers a feeling that not all is what it seems with these tales. From brutal, post-apocalyptic, theocracies that question the role of religion in a modern society to a personal tale of a degenerate has been who finds solace in the most shocking places, this collection tackles issues most would shy away from and subverts reader's expectations in a variety of ways. Esoterika has something for every reader no matter their tastes and offers an easy transition into genres one might not otherwise read. The collection brings together genres that are normally not seen together, offering fantasy alongside literary fiction for example. It is the short story collection for those that embrace the esoteric and understand what makes those other readers tick.

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