ARTIFACTS 

The Dark Side

These days it's rare to find an article, an advertisement, even a restaurant menu without a dot-com tucked away somewhere in it. Local and national periodicals of every genre, including this one, have migrated to the Web and established a permanent beachhead there, increasingly featuring content not available in the printed version. But once the novelty of reading all those blogs has worn off, what will insatiable readers fall back on? Perhaps the cornerstones of literary creativity — poetry and prose. Welcome to the rise of the online literary journal.

The local minds behind Dark Sky Magazine (www.darkskymagazine.com) recently launched the debut issue of their online journal, featuring literature as well as photography. Editor Kevin Murphy is appreciative of the usefulness of going online, yet he also supports traditional print production.

"Putting the magazine online was more affordable, and we could get it out quicker," explains Murphy. "But I still want to stay with something more tangible by putting out an annual print version of all the online issues."

Although the site has a slightly cryptic feel, with the majority of information delivered in a blunt and abstract manner, Murphy leaves little to the imagination. What you see is what you get, as single clicks lead readers from entry to entry. The diversity is evident with the magazine featuring photographer and former City Paper intern Joel Reibert, local writers like Charlie Geer, and more far-flung contributors such as Pearl Beckett, a high school teacher in Wyoming.

So keep your eyes peeled for the fine print, mind all your dot-coms and "www's," and put those Google skills to the test. The latest in lit is now just a keystroke away. —Laura Zapp

Conroy Comes clean

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last weekend, Prince of Tides author, Citadel grad, and prodigal Lowcountry son Pat Conroy acknowledged that's he's scribbling the final passages of a new novel — his first work of fiction since 1995's Beach Music. What's more, the 700-page doorstopper is said to be set in Charleston. By all accounts, the still-unnamed work (there's no firm release date, either) will be a brow-furrowing slog through a Southern landscape inhabited by dysfunctional, damaged family members engaged in scorched-earth psychological warfare with each other — sort of like all his previous novels (see The Great Santini, The Lords of Disclipine, The Boo, et al.) Only this time, they'll all be deranged, miserable Charlestonians. Let the Southern gothic gorefest begin! —Patrick Sharbaugh


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