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“I’ve been to a lot of readings where you can’t wait for someone to stop reading,” recalls Fast Forward Press co-founder Leah Rogin-Roper. “Our readings aren’t like that.”

The Denver-based press specializes in flash fiction, which Rogin-Roper defines as a “short short story.” With the word count capped at 1,000, there’s no time to fall into that terrible tedium that comes from a boring literary event. Tonight the press will release its annual flash-fiction anthology, The Incredible Shrinking Story. Starting with the longest work, at 1,000 words, the stories shrink in size, ending with a tale of just six words.

Rogin-Roper says what she finds exciting about the form is its accessibility to people who might not have the time to invest in a lengthy novel: “As people are reading less and less these days, flash fiction is the answer to the ever-diminishing attention span.” Unlike a full-length novel that describes every detail of a story, the compressed genre relies a lot on implication and the imagination of whoever’s reading. Consider, for example, Michael Flatt’s erotic six-worder that finishes the book: “Seven cock-rings later, she kissed me.” Without any background provided, notes Rogin-Roper, “you have to figure out and think about what it is that makes this a possibility.” The night will also act as a release party for Jeff Landon’s Emily Avenue, a flash novel Rogin-Roper likens to The Catcher in the Rye. It’s deemed a flash novel, she says, because each chapter can stand alone as a flash piece.

The evening will include seventeen readers in two hours, a flash-fiction contest, and lounge-style covers of ’80s rock ballads by Kinky Mink. The free literary fun begins at 7 p.m. downstairs at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. For more information, visit
Fri., Sept. 16, 7 p.m., 2011


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