Scoundrel Time

Introduction to Fiction

What is the role of fiction for all of us, right now? Stories, in all their glorious forms, are the lies that tell us the truth—about individual, particular experience, about the immense variety of human emotion, about the absurdity of the world around us. In a world in which truth is being manipulated to attain and abuse power, fiction is important in its ability to provide us with that most enlightening narrative: individual, precise perception and experience. And my hope is that the fiction by the wonderful, distinct voices in this launch and ongoing in Scoundrel Time will be comforting in their ability to do many things: make us laugh, a way of claiming power, for a moment; introduce us to characters and worlds we do not yet know; illuminate the secret emotions we don’t want to admit to others; help us connect and feel understood. Good fiction illuminates us, calms us, riles us, entertains us, helps us reflect, and, ultimately, I hope, pushes us to act. Reading fiction and political action are, I feel, deeply entwined—the enhancement one finds through reading, the way reading can make us more thoughtful people, can lead, naturally, to action in the real world. So read the fiction in Scoundrel Time, enjoy it, think about it—and then think about what you, a citizen of the literary world and the real world, can do. 

Karen Bender
Fiction Editor