The Lit Mag Graveyard: Pindeldyboz

The Lit Mag Graveyard: Pindeldyboz

The archives of now-defunct literary magazine Pindeldyboz are still, at the time of writing, available to read online… remarkable given that the magazine ceased publication seven long years ago. Although the site has weathered a little with age, it’s still very much intact, and on it you can read a complete history of the publication, along with all of the strange and wonderful stories it published during its run.

In appearance, at least, Pindeldyboz is fairly plain – the design perhaps not atypical of a HTML-based site in 2010 – the year it went off air. Don’t let the lo-fi appearance fool you, though. When it comes to the actual content, the site remains a goldmine of absolute brilliance. Just take a look at the short but thoroughly unsettling “A Return To Silence” by Robert Kloss – or else the bizarre sci-fi vision of an alien arrival painted by Dave Housley in “How We Got From There To Here.”

Those are just two examples. But visit the archives and pick any of the pieces listed there and you’re almost guaranteed a strange but hypnotically brilliant read. Editor Jeff Boison – in his farewell note – says that the goal of the magazine was to offer “very, very good writing.” In that, certainly, Pindeldyboz succeeded time and time again.

Also explained in the battery of editorial goodbyes is the rationale behind the name. The editors were responsible for inventing the word “Pindeldyboz” and the definition they provide is “A feeling of confusion and/or anxiety, when ingeniously anesthetized by obese amounts of levity.” Not, perhaps, the most precise description, but it’s apt: the writing in the archives of Pindeldyboz does indeed induce puzzlement, sometimes fear… although often not without a degree of surreal levity as well.

Quality aside, there’s plenty in the history of the magazine that deserves memorialising. It produced several print editions during its run, as well as at least one poetry issue. It was named Best Online Publication of 2003 in the StorySouth Million Writers competition, and stories originally featured in it were reprinted in Best American Fantasy, Best American Non-Required Reading, and New Stories From the South, The Year’s Best.

The home page details a one-time aspiration on the part of the editors to turn Pindeldyboz into an imprint at one of America’s big publishing houses, enabling them to start bringing novel-length strangeness into the world. Alas, that dream never became a reality – something that should be considered a terrible shame given the uniqueness and ferocity of Pindeldyboz’s repertoire.

The magazine was by no means a brief candle. It burned for almost a decade, from the early days of March 2000 all the way up June 2010. In its lifetime it achieved some staggering things, and it did so with style. Let’s not let it fade from memory just because it’s no longer putting out brilliant new issues.