‘Utopia Hunters’: Lit Crawl ’22 Was Live!


On Saturday, October 22, The Fabulist Magazine returned to Lit Crawl for another stellar evening of striking, stirring, moving, hilarious and provocative readings from a fantastic lineup of Bay Area writers, who collectively drew a standing-room-only crowd to the irreplaceable Adobe Books in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Lit Crawl — “The World’s Largest Literary Pub Crawl,” produced by local nonprofit LitQuake — is always a big deal, each year bringing throngs of lit fans to dozens of readings at venues all around the Mission, all in a four-hour span on the third Saturday of each October.

The Fabulist has been presenting at Lit Crawl since 2017, and each year we seem to draw more of a crowd. We have to credit the quality of the writers who joined us, and the incredible promotional work of the Lit Crawl staff — 2022 was a record-breaker for us, with attendees filling every available space in Adobe, and spilling out onto the street.

This year’s reading, themed “Utopia Hunters,” nods to Somtow Sucharitkul’s book of the same name, in which the Galactic Inquest scours the Million Worlds of the Dispersal of Man in search of perfect societies, which it then destroys in order to prevent stagnation. Let us savor the irony …

This year, The Fabulist’s readers again rose to the occasion, exploring uniquely distinct ideas of utopia, dystopia and anti-dystopianism.

Ruth Crossman read her story “The Shoes,” a quietly tragic update of the Cinderella story, complete with body shaming and desperate self harm. Dystopia is all too often a deeply personal state of mind.

Laird Harrison took us into the complicated hopes, desires and confusion of a pair of married couples in a four-way relationship, excerpted from his novel “Fallen Lake.”

“Monkey Around” author Claire Light took us into a work-in-progress examining anachronism and colonialism in a truly unusual setting.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg charmed everyone’s socks off with his loopy and delightful reading of “Kenny Rogers,” in which a high-tech, persona-altering bag over the head brings new confidence and “countrypolitan” charm to all who wear it.

Chris Carlsson took us back to the post-capitalist San Francisco of his novel “After the Deluge”; his narrative read like a single tracking shot panning across a climate-changed City by the Bay, showing us a wond’rously different vision of urban living.

In “Echoes (When We Listen),” Heather Bourbeau took us into a poignant, dreamlike world in which a cow destined for the slaughterhouse gets a strange message from a more hopeful future.

The inimitable Antonio Roman Alcalá closed us out with a nonfiction discussion of agroecology and food production as an anti-dystopian practice addressing every element of a dysfunctional society. Exhibit A: Alemany Farm, a unique urban farm he helped create.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the Lit Crawl and Adobe crews — Hunter, Prasant and Heather — as well as the amazing audience (old friends and new faces alike!) that turned out in droves for this happening. Most of all, THANK YOU to our spectacular readers for these visions of all the worlds that could be.

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