Zine Review: 398


Litzine, Elizabeth J.M.W., issue 13, etsy.com/shop/ElizabethJMW398, $3

The subtitle for this collection of short stories — “The Rejects” — is apt on multiple levels. Its characters more often than not get the short end of the stick, and the stories themselves, says author Elizabeth J.M.W., “were not originally intended for 398. But they got rejected.” In “Apocalyptic Breakup,” a woman — possibly the last one on Earth — gets dumped in the middle of a zombie Armageddon. In “About Us,” a college dropout watches helplessly, as his relationship disintegrates. Only in the closing piece, “In The Flies,” do we see something resembling a stable relationship, but by that point we’ve been conditioned to suspect there’s more going on than meets the eye. While all of 398’s tales are charming, it’s “Apocalyptic Breakup” that stands out, even in the thick of a zombie-saturated climate. You’d be hard pressed to find a narrative about people trapped in a house, waiting for the undead to bust through the door, that isn’t thrilling to read. Reviews of previous issues of 398 seem to suggest that it typically focuses on the fairy tale genre, but these stories (zombies aside) are all down-to-earth endeavors. The deviation in theme was worthwhile; it’s reassuring to see rejects getting a second chance. (Scott Bryson)