My take on Out of the Mount: 19 From New Play Project

So we have Peculiar Pages, which is Theric Jepson’s imprint. We have MoJo’s B10 Mediaworx, an indie publisher known for creating e-books that look great. And we have New Play Project, which has put together an impressive track record of productions over its (relatively) short history. Put that all together and you get Out of the Mount: 19 From New Play Project, edited by Dave Morrison. And for only $3.99, you get a set of plays that are well-written, thought-provoking, fun to read and together form a significant contribution to Mormon letters. A trade paperback is also available and a Kindle edition is forthcoming (although the mobi file you get in the e-book download should be readable on your Kindle or via the Kindle app).

And in the interest of full disclosure, Peculiar Pages is not only the imprint that will be publishing Monsters & Mormons, but it also asked me to provide a blurb for the anthology. Which I was initially nervous about, but happily did after reading the manuscript. Here it is:

With these 19 plays, the New Play Project ably makes its claim as one of the most ambitious and vibrant going concerns in the world of LDS culture to all of us mission-field Mormons who have only heard rumors and testimonies. Out of the Mount delivers comedy and tragedy and social commentary, allegory, politics and healthy doses of armchair philosophy and theology in plays that mainly focus on (as most good plays do) relationships that unfold via crackling dialogue. Whether it’s Clark Kent and Lois Lane applying for a marriage license or Adam and Eve feeling their way towards some sort of post-fall rapprochement or young couples falling in and out of love, these playwrights are writing for these latter-days, even when there’s nothing particularly LDS about their characters and settings. That said, what I love most about this anthology is that we get–especially with the fantastic concluding trio of “Gaia,” “Prodigal Son” and “Little Happy Secrets”–works that artfully and poignantly explore key aspects of the grand drama that is the Mormon experience.

You can ; but you should also check out Theric’s series of posts on the anthology (including excerpts from some of the plays) over at the Peculiar Pages blog.

Preannouncement: The Monsters & Mormons Anthology

UPDATE: Call for Submissions

As Terryl Givens documents in The Viper on the Hearth (Amazon), from Zane Grey to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mormons served as stock villains in the early days of genre fiction (both pre-pulp and pulp heyday). We propose to recast, reclaim and simply mess with that tradition by making Mormon characters, settings and ideas the protagonists of genre-oriented stories to appear in an anthology simply titled Monsters & Mormons.

A formal call for submissions will be posted in early April, but we wanted to pre-announce the project now in order to get the creative juices flowing and test if this is of any interest at all to AMV’s readers (and anyone else who gets wind of it).

Three things that I will note now:

  1. Theric Jepson and I will serve as co-principals on the project. It will be published by Peculiar Pages. We don’t have all the details hammered out, but we’re fairly far along, and I’m confident you will own a copy of this book by the end of next year.
  2. We will provide more specific direction in the call to submissions, but we intend for the concept (Monsters & Mormons) to be interpreted across a wide range of genres and art forms and high/low/middle-browness-es.
  3. However, we also envision the project as very much coming out of the key pulp authors and riffing on, building upon, paying homage to and perhaps even satirizing their work. Which doesn’t mean that we are abandoning the literary, either. We hope to build a hybridized anthology with a pulpy core.

Any thoughts? I don’t know that Theric and I will be able to answer all of your questions (assuming ya’ll even have any), but if you have strong desires, radical middle ideas, or simply yeas or nays, cheers or hisses, make them known.

Finally: Yes, this is a project of cultural re-appropriation. I could go on at length about all the reasons I dig the conceptual underpinnings of this concept. But I won’t (and I’ll try to keep things brief in the call for submissions). Because it really doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that we all have fun, and that’s the primary reason I decided to take this project on — it’s time for us to cut loose in the world of Mormon letters.