Stars BoysBoys Stars’ 

The boy is a caved-in shining thing. The boy is so remote, the spatial distance becomes “romantic.” Despite his thingness, the boy is also a stylized representation of himself. We study a boy’s weird dead light to find out how he is feeling. His emotions are not equally spaced. The light, fuzzy and hazy, tells us only about the elements (feelings) that are at or near the boy’s surface. In all his brightness, the emotion is lost. To measure his real brightness, a scale of absolute (as opposed to apparent) magnitudes has been devised. It is clear he is under tremendous pressure. Yet we still don’t know much about what the boy is experiencing, the great mass of feeling, rushing, that is to say: we know nothing about what he is like inside.


What stars arouse you? Pulsating, twin, eclipsing or exploding?

What do you call a boy who hurls himself down three flights of stairs just so he can see cartoon stars?

Why does your mouth taste of star-scum whenever I kiss you?

What is the precise relationship between the fixed point of his dread and a fixed star?

In what neighborhood was he residing
—Brixton, Kentish Town, Bethnal Green or Kilburn—
when he dreamt about the boy with the tattooed stars?

Why must he obsessively record the movement of his thoughts (which are not like stars but which are stars) on paper?

What is the relationship between semen, hydrogen, constellations, ejaculation, spermatozoa and helium?

How many stars can be held in the boy’s lungs, that is to say, what is his star capacity?

Alistair McCartney is the author of two cross-genre novels The Disintegrations (2017) and The End of The World Book (2008), both published with University of Wisconsin Press. The Disintegrations is the winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. TEOTWB was a finalist for the PEN USA Fiction Award and the Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White debut fiction award. Other work has appeared in journals such as 3:AM, Fence, Animal Shelter, 1913, Gertrude and Bloom. Originally from Australia, he live in Los Angeles, where he teaches fiction in Antioch University's MFA program and directs their undergraduate creative writing concentration.



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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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is edited by Jon Auman, Thomas Chadwick & Dominic Jaeckle

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