The Lonely Empire

Andrew Valencia, University of South Carolina - Columbia


This creative manuscript contains ten original short stories dealing with themes of alienation, imperialism, and cultural intersectionality. Though they are all influenced, in one way or another, by ideas of cultural and sociopolitical relevance, they are to be read and viewed primarily as stories, i.e., as self-contained exercises in character, plot, and language that can be appreciated for their artistic merits as well as their academic contributions. The diverse settings of the stories, ranging from Ancient Greece to Central California and from Asia to Latin America, are a reflection of the author‘s own diverse cultural experiences. In one story, a young college dropout follows her aging partner to an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. In another, a disabled former serviceman becomes obsessed with the weather and the threat of climate change. The final story of the collection takes place in a speculative, futuristic version of the lost continent of Atlantis. Taken collectively, these ten stories offer unique and sometimes startling insights into the troubling legacies of culture and history, and into our increasingly globalized world.