The New Offbeat

Here’s a snippet of a brief review by Rich Horton from the February Locus of Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed.

“Other delvings into the small press turn up such treasures as Robert Freeman Wexler’s brief collection…half a dozen offbeat stories, notably the book’s one original, “The Sidewalk Factory: A Municipal Romance.”

Horton’s column also included the latest Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which he says is “as ever, packed with original and offbeat stories.  My story, “Suspension,” appeared in a past issue of Lady Churchill‘s, and is in the collection, making it no doubt doubly offbeat.

My handy electronic dictionary defines offbeat as:

offbeat |ˈôfˌbēt; ˈäf-|


1 Music not coinciding with the beat.

2 unconventional; unusual : she’s a little offbeat but she’s a wonderful actress.noun Musicany of the normally unaccented beats in a bar.

There are a lot of labels and movements out there: magical realism, slipstream, interstitial, new weird, steampunk, etc., but  I don’t know if I’m part of any of them. My stories have not appeared in their definitive anthologies. So I must be something else. I’m relieved to see a new one that I can claim.  But am I Offbeat?  Or New Offbeat?  Has there been an Offbeat?  Or an Onbeat? There were Beats, of course.

The next step is an Offbeat Manifesto, and a roster of fellow Offbeats, along with Proto-Offbeats (without which any movement is derailed before it starts).


Howdy. I’m a fiction writer. I’ve published a novella, In Springdale Town, (PS Publishing 2003 and reprinted in Best Short Novels 2004, SFBC, and in Modern Greats of Science Fiction, iBooks), a novel, Circus Of The Grand Design (Prime Books 2004), and a chapbook of short fiction, Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed (Spilt Milk Press/Electric Velocipede 2008). My new novel, The Painting And The City, with an introduction by Jeffrey Ford, is due out from PS later this year. I’ve had stories in various magazines and anthologies, including Polyphony, The Third Alternative, Electric Velocipede, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

I read recently in Wired magazine that blogs are passé, and so figured it was time to start one. The first few posts will be notes on the stories in Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed. Most of these stories feature solitary narrators–a man alone–which I think is inherently disturbing because most people don’t want to be alone. And the solitary activity of reading accentuates the alone-ness. Perhaps that’s why a recent reviewer was so happy after he spilled his won ton soup on the chapbook; the soup residue became his reading companion, saving him from lonely Wexler fiction.

My novella In Springdale Town became my extreme man-alone tale, after which I planned to give my poor characters friends and relationships, which should also have the beneficial side-effect of preventing further soup spillage.

Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed contains six stories: “Suspension”, “Tales of the Golden Legend”, “Valley of the Falling Clouds”, “The Green Wall”, “Indifference”, and “Sidewalk Factory: A Municipal Romance”. All except “Sidewalk Factory” were previously published.

I’d like to thank John Klima for publishing the collection and Zoran Zivcovik for writing the introduction.