Before I get into the content of this issue, let’s talk about movie adaptations.

In February, the long-awaited movie adaptation of Mark Helprin’s classic novel, “Winter’s Tale,” hit theaters and didn’t make much of a splash, at least from the box office earnings perspective. Many fans of the book lamented that the movie cut out a majority of the plot, many of the most notable characters and basically distilled the seven-hundred-page epic into a saccharine love story and a thinly veiled parable about the battle between good and evil.

I’ve got four words for those fans: what did you expect?

Please note: “Winter’s Tale” is one of my favorite novels of all time. It’s one of the best books written in the twentieth century. If you haven’t read it, you should go read it now. Well, not right now—wait until you’ve finished this issue of Empty Sink Publishing. Then read it to your heart’s content.

But let’s be real: Hollywood rarely accomplishes the same magic with a film adaptation that the author accomplished in the original work. And usually, there’s no way they could. If producers had decided to make a true-to-the-book adaptation of “Winter’s Tale,” it would have been over ten hours long, would have cost several hundred million dollars, and I would have loved every minute of it. All the fans of the original novel would have loved it. And you know who else would have loved it? NOBODY. Because the magic of reading a book like “Winter’s Tale” tends to get lost on people who haven’t read the book before seeing it’s screen translation.

Even the best film adaptations of novels—“Fight Club,” “The Godfather,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “American Psycho”—all have their detractors. And for most people, the book is where the true magic lies—the film is simply a surrogate that you use when you need your fix. The difference is that other people—people who haven’t read the books—actually enjoyed those films.

The point is, if Hollywood completely craps on one of your favorite books with a less-than-stellar adaptation, don’t be surprised, and don’t complain. After all, to paraphrase the immortal Frank Zappa, they’re only in it for the money. Although, if I had the ear of Hollywood, I would make one suggestion: look to the short story for inspiration for your films. It’s been done and done well before. Brokeback Mountain, The Birds, The Most Dangerous Game (which has inspired more than a dozen movies on its own)—all of these great films are adapted from short stories. Short stories are a fertile ground for Hollywood to plow. We’ve even had some stellar candidates here on Empty Sink Publishing: Terry Davis’s Merry and Joe would make an excellent film, as would James Hanna’s Call Me Pomeroy. And the best thing about them? You could make a two-hour film without having to cut out a single thing.


On to Issue 5.

In our fiction section this issue, Walter Plotz returns with Latchkey Kid, a suspenseful story about what happens when a child gets left to his not-so-nice devices. We continue the thrills with Simon Says by Cheska Lynn, a unique tale that combines geocaching with…well, you’ll have to read to find out. Moneta Goldsmith also returns this issue with Dance Dance Evolution, a story about a brief, explosive celebration of life that we can all identify with.

The poetry section waxes philosophical this month. Greth Barredo’s Concept explores the way our minds can manipulate the world around us, while Desiree Jung’s The Science toys with the idea of just how ridiculous our exploration of that world can be. Christy Hall takes us to the other side of the pond with four poems that recall the landscape, the sights and the sounds of the British Isles, and Lee Slonimsky examines the science of nature in his poetry.

Leigh Spong is back with her final installment of photography, which will leave you with the unmistakable sense that beauty can be found in the most desperate of places. And of course, we’ve got the new issue of Strange Fish, by N. Piatkoski. Strange Fish is running at an electric pace now: the characters are in place, the blood is flowing, and Kevin, as always, is fabulous. If you’ve missed the first four issues, check them out in our archives, and then come along for the ride—it’s going to be a wild one.

In this issue, we’re doing something new. Frequent contributor James Hanna’s novel, The Siege, was recently released by Sand Hill Review Press. You can read my review of The Siege as well as an interview with Mr. Hanna in this issue. We’re grateful to James for his time, for the opportunity to read an advance copy of his novel and for sharing Pomeroy with us and the world. Read about all of those things in the interview, where Mr. Hanna sheds light on his life as a correctional officer, his writing habits and his time roaming the wilds of Australia.

This month’s Editor’s Choice is Actuary’s Alphabet, by John Delacourt. Mr. Delacourt does something special with this piece that is exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for at Empty Sink Publishing. I’m not going to ruin it by telling you what it is, but as long as you remember your ABCs, you’ll figure it out. It’s a short piece, but it packs a punch, and I dare you to try to use the same method in a piece of your own writing with such convincing results.

So sit back and enjoy another issue of Empty Sink Publishing. And remember: If Hollywood craps on your favorite book, try not to step in it. You’ll ruin the book.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 3/6/2014