One Inch Equals Twenty-Five Miles
by Melody Sumner Carnahan
with designer/illustrator Michael Sumner
Burning Books

"What about the people who have no others inside themselves? They are simply at an extreme location. Why? Because they want to be."

Carnahan's collection of stories is nothing short of the extraordinary. In her short stories and vignettes, she explores love, sex, daily happenings, world consciousness, human relationships, the everyday, and much more. It's all wrapped up into a thin, modern-looking green book resembling a literary journal that one would find on a shelf of a major bookstore.

What makes this short story collection so remarkable is that Carnahan uses various cleverly placed graphic elements throughout the book which enhance the message given in each short story. For example, in the story "On Empty" about a young promising art student who descends into madness and drugs while at school, the print starts off large and bold at the beginning of the story, as the young woman gets accepted into a prestigious art school, only to be made much smaller toward the end of the story to indicate her descent and her final demise. In another story called "This Is Not What Happens," a letter about what is really going on in the universe is delivered to the Oval Office by an anonymous sender. Fittingly, the letter looks as if typed up on an old-fashioned typewriter, with grammar mistakes crossed off, thus enhancing the general feel of the story that someone was typing the letter in haste.

Along with clever placement of fonts, Carnahan also uses small black and white art images and photographs to enhance her work. This way, every tale is not just a tale, but also a feast for the eyes. Carnahan's stories are written either in a third person, as in "The Maiden" which is a steampunk-like story that reads like a manual teaching people how to operate a maiden in flight, or in a first person so that the reader never gets bored with the point of view. This collection is as thought-provoking as it is shocking, and it's definitely worth reading, and yes, experiencing.

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