Friday 4 September 2015


Negative Assets is a literary zine with a punk ethos produced by students at California State University. Any time I come across a lit zine with a punk aesthetic I am drawn to it like a fly to shit. When I discovered this zine during some boredom induced Googling I immediately emailed the editor and got him to send me a copy. It arrived a week later and I dove straight in. I was not disappointed. It is full of excellent writing; entertaining stories, a smattering of poetry and some punk and metal album reviews as well. The stand out pieces for me were a story by editor Taylor Farner called 'Big Red Roger' about a killer Octopus and two stories by Harmony Hertzog, both of which are tales are urban exploration with ghostly twists. I await the second issue with bated breath.

Shelf Life zine documents the adventures of its creators Tim & Annie in their quest for used books. These two intrepid lit fiends will travel high and low in search of books and their dedication to the printed word is nothing short of inspiring. This particular issue largely focuses on their experiences with library sales. Now these library sales are not something that happen in the UK (not to the best of my knowledge, and if they do, they are certainly not to same scale as in the US) so they were very interesting to read about. Their experience of 'scanners' (people who scan bar codes to assess a book's resale value) was a particularly frustrating phenomenon to learn about. My only gripe with this zine was Tim & Annie's predilection for non-fiction books. Being an avid fiction reader myself I found myself begging them to tell me about their fiction loves. Next issue, maybe?! 

I don't know whether this is fiction or memoir or an intricate weaving of both. The writing feels too raw, too tangible to be entirely fiction, but the best writing always does, doesn't it? This zine is truly beautiful; a handmade masterpiece. A common trope of zines is that they are robust, thrown together and rough around the edges. A High Degree of Spring Fever is entirely the opposite, and refreshingly so. It is delicate and precious. A myriad of different paper stocks and textures. You don't read this zine so much as experience it. It is a collection of vignettes of spring, of heartbreak and regret, of what ifs and whys, of hope and the future. It is layered and precise and wonderful and I loved it. I wanted to breath it in and hold on to it forever. I also want to give it away. To give it to everybody I know and implore them to read it. That is the worst part about great zines; you want to share them with everyone but also want to keep them for yourself. There are only fifty copies of this in existence, don't waste any more of your life, buy one now.

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