Book Review: For All the Men and Some of the Women I’ve Known

For All the Men D Botha cover
For All the Men and Some of the Women I’ve Known
, Danila Botha, 152 pgs, Tightrope Books,, $21.95

Most stories in this collection explore the fraught relationship between two urban stereotypes. The prose is unadorned with typical urbanite cultural artifacts galore. You could meet almost every character in this book by spending an afternoon in a downtown chain café, crossroads of the very normal ranging to the different-yet-instantly-recognizable.

That is, before each character becomes either a monster or a victim.

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Zine Review: If You’re Into It

ZINES_If You're Into It_Dustan

If You’re Into It: An Erotic (or not) Choose Your Own Adventure Story About Practicing Good Consent Litzine, Celeste Inez Mathilda, Episode 1: Hit The Dance Floor, address,, $4

Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure novels you may or may not have read on your school bus in junior high? Well, this zine is a new take on that concept. This time around, you’re at a party and the theme is consensual activities. If you are able to get through the evening practicing good consent, you may make a new friend, get some action or have a fun time dancing. If you do not practice good consent you will be destroyed, possibly by a raping, head-eating praying mantis.

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Alison’s Pick: Falling Asleep Listening to the Ambient Noise from that Scene in Blade Runner

I’ve been pretty stressed out recently for many reasons (Trump, mercury retrograde, deadlines, too many Sour Straws ™, cat fur matting too much, Trump, finding out your old pal on Facebook is anti-choice, work, weird hair, etc) and last week it unfortunately bled into my sleep cycle, like a stain sample caressing fabric in a Tide commercial. I flopped and turned, kicking at things both real and imagined, and finally rolled over and did the thing you are not supposed to do in bed, which is gape at the bright lights of the web on my phone. Happily though, I came across an article which highlights a series of ambient loops of various mechanical noises from movies, all of them 12 hours or more. I think they’re all supposed to be comforting (save for the 12-hour loop of the creaky throat noise from the horror movie The Grudge, why???) but some of them made me nervous, particular the noise of the Tardis from Doctor Who, which sounds a bit like an aging cyborg exhaling through a pneumatic tube. The real gem in this lot is the looped sound of the technology humming within the apartment of Rick Deckard, the main character in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner. The sound of various mechanical objects humming within the warmly insulated, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed walls of this futuristic bachelor pad is a hugely soothing example of weirdo white noise, and it has calmed my freaked-out brain for three nights in a row now. If you’re tired of lulling yourself to dreamtown with ASMR and podcasts, give one of these a whirl, why don’t you? Sleep tight.

Alison Lang is the editor of Broken Pencil.

Book Review: Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero



Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero, Michael DeForge, 96 pgs, Drawn & Quarterly,, $24.95

The more I chat about comics in different cities and contexts, the more I realize just how massive Michael DeForge’s influence is not just in Toronto, but the world over. He is hero to creators and readers from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, and locations. Longtime fans and first time readers find themselves equally entranced by the poetic, postmodern situations and dialogues that inform the universe he’s built, always one degree from reality, and his bizarre and spacious illustrations. And he is also prolific — starting with his Lose series in 2009, DeForge’s continuous stream of releases, whether self published or with Koyama Press and Drawn & Quarterly, has allowed him to create a whole world that pushes the aesthetic vanguard of indie comics today.

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Sex, Death and Hypocrisy: A Literary Afternoon in Hamilton!



An afternoon of sex, death and hypocrisy! Hal Niedzviecki reads from his new novel The Archaeologists. He is joined by amazing Hamilton luminaries: Sally Cooper reads from her new short story collection Smells Like Heaven! Christine Miscione reads a new story! And Joe Ollman presents his new graphic novel — The Abominable Mr. Seabrook. Amazing lineup!

Presented by the Hamilton Review of Books, Broken Pencil: Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts & the Hamilton Public Library.

Sally Cooper is a bold, powerful writer who lays bare the human heart. The author of acclaimed novels Love Object and Tell Everything, Sally Cooper has published short stories and essays in several magazines such as CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries, Event, Grain, Great Lakes Review and White Wall Review. Her latest book, Smells Like Heaven, a collection of linked stories, will be published in June, 2017, by ARP Books.

Christine Miscione is a Canadian fiction writer. Her work has appeared in various Canadian publications, such as Exile: The Literary Quarterly, This Magazine, and The Puritan. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Hamilton Arts Award for Best Emerging Writer. In 2012, Miscione’s story, Skin Just, won first place in the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile Editions CVC Short Fiction Contest (emerging writer category). Her debut short story collection, Auxiliary Skins, was released in 2013, and debut novel, Carafola, in 2014. Recently, Auxiliary Skins won the 2014 ReLit Award.

Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, speaker and culture commentator whose work challenges preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. He is the author of 11 works of fiction and nonfiction including the nonfiction book Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future (Seven Stories Press, October 2015) and the novel The Archeologists (ARP, Sept 2016), shortlisted for the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher. He is the founder/publisher of Broken Pencil, the magazine of zine culture and the independent arts ( Hal’s writing has appeared in newspapers, periodicals and journals across the world including the New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Playboy, the Utne Reader, Pacific Standard, LitHub, The New York Observer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Walrus, and Geist. Niedzviecki is committed to exploring the human condition through provocative fiction and non-fiction that charts the media saturated terrain of ever shifting multiple identities at the heart of our fragmenting age.

Cartoonist and illustrator Joe Ollmann lives in Hamilton, the Riviera of Southern Ontario. He is the winner of the Doug Wright Award for Best Book in 2007 and loser of the same award another time.

Excerpt: Home Zine

Australia’s Home Zine is “A zine about the people, places, feelings and spaces that we call ‘home’.”

This simple concept allows this comics and illustration project to tell part of a complex, dense story with dozens of authors across three issues.

In Issue 75 of Broken Pencil, we excerpt just a few pages from Issue 3 of the zine, available for purchase here. This issue’s theme is people, following the previous editions of places and objects. It is the the third and final issue of Home Zine. Thinking about the people we surround ourselves with, and those we attach to memory, to feel at home.


EXCERPT_Home Zine_Nyssa Sharp

Nyssa Sharp

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