Miserable Adventure Stories by Alex Bernstein

A Review by New Pop Lit


“Fleeing from an Earth overrun by personal fitness trainers, Mark Savage and his pal, Dani, wander the stars in their two-person rocket, Charlemagne! Their destination: Somewhere Other Than Earth!

POP FICTION– that long overlooked entity, has been making a comeback. Overlooked for decades with the dominance of writing programs scorning pop stories while presuming only the “literary” is acceptable– never consulting the end result of their training: the reader. Pop is making a comeback with the rise of DIY and micropress publishing. Under new rules with fewer gatekeepers, or new ones, the first necessity for writing is to compete.

WHAT’S a pop story?

In the tradition of O. Henry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Zane Grey, a pop story can be humorous, heartwarming, romantic, involving, exciting, or simply entertaining. Or all of these things.

MISERABLE ADVENTURE STORIES is a variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story, Alex Bernstein. Three of the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful. (One has appeared at our site.) Masterful examples of the pop genre. We won’t tell you which ones they are. You’ll have to discover that yourself.

The other pieces are a mixed lot, ranging from groan-style bad jokes, to hyper-imaginative bizarro sci-fi scenarios, to laugh-out-loud good jokes, such as “Hamlet (Epilogue).” The commonality: They’re all entertaining.

Interested in reading as reading? Buy this publication!


Miserable Adventure Stories is available here.


(A photo of Alex Bernstein.)