Michael S. Manley

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The Heat

Introduction

The Heat is a set of flash fiction set during a particularly hot summer on a midwestern college campus. A piece of unsolicited advice for aspiring writers of fiction: If you find yourself writing fiction that is set anywhere near a college campus, particularly the one you’re associated with, you should take that as a sign that it is time to go find somewhere else to live.

The stories in The Heat first appeared in my MA thesis (Dangerous Habits, Purdue University, 1995). Later, they were used as the prototype for Rain Crow Publishing’s chapbook line. There was only ever one copy of that chapbook printed.

Most of these stories appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the online magazine Kudzu as that issue’s featured fiction. While Kudzu is now defunct (but can be found in depths of the Internet Archive, you can download a PDF of that issue here.

Also, these stories were the subject of my, as of this writing, one and only critical review, by some random student at Rutgers University. While the student, I assume, has long ago left academia, his page stayed up for several years. I’m guessing he wrote it for an assignment in a survey course in online literature. The page is long gone from the web now, but I’ve included the text here.

These stories were written under the influence of Chuck Wachtel’s literary direction and a long, underemployed summer in West Lafayette.

Don’t ask about the dragon. I don’t get it, either.

The Heat