Mad Hatters' Review

Editor's Rave - Issue 4

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the editor are not necessarily the same as those held by the editor. Indeed, when pressed, the editor is likely to deny any opinions whatsoever.

Welcome to the suicidal winter (Upover) and suffocating summer (Downunder) issue of the Mad Hatters' Review. As Hatters, we're always touched by the ravages of these arduous times, discombobulated by toxic psychosocial fallout, compelled to rage, exuberate, pontificate, move, swoon, decry, denounce, elucidate, amuse and entertain. There are dangerous ideologues and crusaders in proliferation, idiot leaders who recklessly and callously disregard life, greed-crazed multimillionaires committing myriad nefarious acts as the planet grows moodier and moldier. Indeed, we're growing numb from the poisons dumped on us by the afore-mentioned greedy bastards. We American Hatters and friends wonder how many of us will end up on the No Fly list. The Brits are in dire trouble, as well. The totalitarian foot is stepping hard on current history and its boot is caked with excrement.

Of course, as we always say, we Hatters (not all Americans) see the world as an asylum in which absurdity speaks to the truth, surrealism to reality, chaos to order, and nonsense to sense. We believe that "[t]he reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (George Bernard Shaw)

Carol Novack, Publisher & Editor
Our BIG NEWS is that we've moved (with overstuffed suitcases) to Portal Del Sol, the much loved gateway to a wondrous circus of literary magazines, a comprehensive resource for writers, masterminded by the incredible Michael Neff.

In other BIG NEWS despite, and indeed because of, the reign of Dementia, we're plotting to throw an exciting fundraising extravaganza this summer or fall – we hope – in New York City (if it's still here). We'll present readings by our contributors, music by our composers, visuals by our artists, and flowing facocktails. Buy some dancing shoes and stay in tune! More anon: watch the Events page!

As far as BIG BAD NEWS in the U.S.A. goes, the U.S. Constitution continues to languish and is in danger of falling into a coma. WAKE UP, AMERICA !!! Our system of checks and balances is increasingly unstable. We have a fearless leader who condones torture, and there's evidence of widespread election fraud. If Samuel Alito is confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court, his votes may effectively land us back in the 17th century, or thereabouts. So another attempt at democracy may well bite the dust in the near future; indeed, it's already nipping at the dust. These are very depressing days for us edgy, enlightened, and patriotic residents, not to mention others who inhabit our planet. The personality of this country remains foolishly and self-destructively sanguine, aided and abetted by the major media outlets. I recommend author and media professor Mark Crispin Miller's comprehensive blog, "Notes from Underground," on the critical state of this nation:

Now onto a cheerful topic, this amazine issue: as usual, we are offering an aromatic and colorful bouquet of wise, whimsical and passionate wits and lyricists, accompanied by a most sublime and ridiculous spray of musicians, recording performers, and artists, some of whom are among our most humble editorial selves.

Our fourth issue is, as usual, full of delightful literary surprises: the habitual gaggle of poems from the absurd to the lyrically divine—sufficient to give our readers goose-bumps, of course; offbeat, risky, mostly stylistically edgy, beautifully crafted fiction and whatnots by a colorful flock of cerebral and emotionally out-of-control prose writers. We've also published the four winning entries of our "create a masterpiece" contest. Congratulations to Jeffrey Tannen, Ann Walters, Tom Conoboy and Catherine Berg!

The inimitable C.B. Smith has been very busy in the book review department, and is presenting his interview with the innovative writer Ben Marcus.

Our wonderful art editor, Tantra Bensko, has once again done a Herculean (or should I say Amazonian?) job, lacing our pages with dazzling illustrations by an array of exceptional artists. Check out the slideshow of their works. We are also very pleased to present a gallery exhibit of works by the extremely gifted and innovative Belgian-Canadian abstract expressionist Jean Detheux, including short animations of his collaborations with composers. Associate Art Editor Marjorie Kaye conducted an interview of Jean, which we're pleased to present, as well.

Our musicians continue to delight us. As the sky continues to fall, along with Henny Penny (and someday Dick Cheney?), we're ecstatic to welcome three gifted professional musicians into our creased fold: Guthrie Lowe; Francesco Picarazzi; and Ben Tyree. We now have a music gallery, featuring the music in our current issues. Be sure to check out the compositions by the ingenious Steve Kane and multi-talented Brian Hutzell, as well as those by our new editors.

We are also presenting new columns. Saturnika has recused herself from offering her "experimental astrology" column. She felt that it might be a conflict of interest to talk about the formidable qualities of Aquarians and to predict future events for Aquarians and Pisceans, as she sits uncomfortably on the cusp of those signs. Instead, she'll be exhibiting her alter ego, advice columnist Crazy Jane, a wizened woman wise in the affairs of the heart. We will also hear from editor and satirist Elizabeth Smith, a connoisseur and expert on cowboys, and from Editor Liesl Jobson on serious "social justice" issues facing South Africans, particularly women. Art Editor and writer Tantra Bensko is returning soon as a columnist. In "As Strange as It May Seem," Tantra will be pulling back the propaganda curtain, revealing nefarious wizards of illusion at work.

Our mini-movie department will soon be expanding, with more Kafkaesque beauties by Marc Lowe, and our lauded cartoonist Marja Hagborg has created more cartoons to amuse us all. Tony Juliano Baloney is often coming up with new parodies, so check that department, as well!

And hey, don't forget to check out our current contest, Fish & Plane. As usual, we're aptly employing artwork (two paintings by Marjorie Kaye and Jared Gutekunst) to inspire writers to create literary masterpieces. You too could grace the pages of our illustrious journal, not to mention win some money or surprise prizes.

As I said in my inaugural rave, we strive to offer intoxicating tastings from all corners of the world (as if this planet had corners). We aspire to become no less than addictive. And we aspire to pay contributors and even one day offer an annual print edition, when we can afford the costs of a beautifully illustrated journal, accompanied by a CD containing music and recorded recitations. So send millionaires our way, please! Most pieces in Issue 4, as in all previous issues, are accompanied by custom-composed music or recorded recitations by the authors. All writings come with striking custom-made visuals. In this sense, Mad Hatters' Review is truly a collaborative project.

How did we come to be, at least in our current carnation? Way back in summer, 2004, I decided that the Internets [sic] didn't have enough exciting multimedia "literary" magazines, not to mention edgy ones. I envisioned something real flashy and eccentric, experimental, collaborative, multicultural, playful and even meaningful, in the social change/progressive sense. I had recently acquired a Masters Degree in Social Work (community organizing) and decided to do little with it immediately so I could concentrate on writing.

Slowly, I gathered a little community of exceptionally talented and similarly crazed cohorts from the offices of the online writers' workshop at, including my sister of the maculate heart from Missoura by way of Ukraine, Associate Editor Alla Michelle Watson. We finally got the first issue out with the help of our unbelievably patient and gifted Canadian webmaestress [sic] and fellow Mad Hatter Shirley Harshenin (nutheadproductions).

So okay, when you frantically sort through all the works of genius those mainstream and snooty zines have rejected, or decide to follow rabbits and see where your uncollected unconscious leads you, you'll know that you may find a home here, where we delight in the very finest of bipolar, schizoid, and borderline creations.

None of us can predict where our child will go or how many of us will stick around to send the kid to college. Maybe this editor will be carted off to a torture chamber for fans of the U.S. Constitution. But hey, we're going to enjoy the ride while it lasts and we sincerely hope that you'll join us in spirit, if not in deed.

The Official
a Mad Editor-in-Top Hat concoction

Carol Novack,


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