“I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And failing that, only then does he take up novel writing.” —William Faulkner Winner of the National Book AwardForty-two stories make up this magisterial collection by the writer who stands at the pinnacle of modern American fiction. Compressing an epic expanse of vision into hard and wounding narratives, Faulkner’s stories evoke the intimate textures of place, the deep strata of history and legend, and all the fear, brutality, and tenderness of the human condition. These tales are set not only in Yoknapatawpha County, but in Beverly Hills and in France during World War I. They are populated by such characters as the Faulknerian archetypes Flem Snopes and Quentin Compson, as well as by ordinary men and women who emerge so sharply and indelibly in these pages that they dwarf the protagonists of most novels.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Jet passengers are stuck in a time-slip, a psychopath accuses a writer of plagiarism, a man with an overdue book encounters a demonic librarian and a boy's camera snaps photos of a huge and nasty dog in these four horror novellas. According to PW , "None is wildly scary, and only "The Library Policeman" offers King's typical, colloquial, hard-driving conversational style with its compulsive readability." Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Like some denizen of the dark, King weaves a spell evoking terror and shivers as he takes readers on a nightmarish journey in this quartet of novellas. In "Longoliers" a group of airline passengers awake to an empty plane, and an empty world. They have become stuck in time, out of sync with the present at 20,000 feet. "Secret Window, Secret Garden" finds novelist Mort Rainey confronted by an eerie character who accuses him of plagiarism, and has come to settle up. In "Sun Dog," Kevin Delevan gets exactly what he wanted for his 15th birthday, a Polaroid "Sun 660" camera, but every picture he takes shows a salivating "hell hound" getting closer and closer. In "Library Policeman," the best of the four, Sam Peebles borrows two books from the library late one night, and the librarian warns him not to be late returning them. What Sam doesn't know is that she was a child murderer who committed suicide in 1960, and when he loses the books, her library policeman pays him a visit. Four Past Midnight is one of King's best recent works. It is hard to put down, truly chilling, and sure to be enjoyed by YA horror aficionados everywhere. - John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reading Ray Bradbury is like going through a door into a nostalgic, odd America that never existed, a universe of strange possibility that brings to mind the haunting memories of childhood. The short stories in Driving Blind are vintage Bradbury, with a pleasant smattering of ideas: dark fantasy, boyhood sense of wonder, Twilight Zone-esque twist. These 21 stories (4 are reprints) were inspired by a dream Bradbury had in which his muse, blindfolded, drove him to destinations unknown. We're glad he went along for the ride. Spare word portraits will transport you to a world of scratchy phonograph records and cuckoo clocks, evil garbage disposals and Mexican border-town circuses. Bradbury fans will enjoy revisiting the worlds of his imagination, while those new to the master will find themselves in need of another shot of Bradbury... quick. --Therese Littleton
" A preeminent storyteller... An icon in American literature." -- Virginian Pilot
"A must...Bradbury returns in top form... He paints vivid word pictures." -- Library Journal
"Remarkable...intensely told...The easiest book this year to read. -- Miami Herald
AAAIIIEEE!!! presents to the horror enthusiast twenty of the best dark fantasy tales of authorJeffrey Thomas (PUNKTOWN), culled from their original appearances in the independent press.From subtle stories of ghosts and encroaching madness to extreme tales of erotic and visceralterror, this collections contents span the breadth of the horror spectrum. In these pages one willencounter: a mysterious channel on a hospital rooms televisiona concentration camp wherethe dead may seek retributiona music stars unearthly and distasteful approach to fameawoman in love with a dangerous fallen angelthe ghost of an insane parent resurrected by anotherworldly force. Whether ones appetite runs from the traditional to the experimental,AAAIIIEEE!!! has a dark confection for every trick or treat bag.
About the Author
Jeffrey Thomas is the author of the collections PUNKTOWN (Ministry of Whimsy Press) and TERROR INCOGNITA (Delirium Books). His stories have appeared in such anthologies as THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR 14 and THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES XXII. Visit his website at www.necropolitanpress.com. Author's photo by Jason Torrey.
“F. Paul Wilson is a great storyteller and a thoughtful one. He speculates about real science to generate real suspense while raising troubling, real issues we may all be dealing with much sooner than we expect.” --David Morrell, author of *First Blood
“F. Paul Wilson is a writer’s writer, and I grab anything he’s written with enthusiasm.” --Joe R. Lansdale, author of Freezer Burn
“Like the best of Dean Koontz’s work, Wilson’s work combines an action-adventure yarn with a touch of the fantastic.” --The Denver Post*
Known primarily for his novels, Anthony ( Macroscope ) here collects short stories written over a span of 35 years; many are previously unpublished, and original to this volume. For the most part, they are top-notch efforts. "December Dates" is a touching love story; "Imp to Nymph" and "E Van S" demonstrate Anthony's predilection for puns. While both "Soft Like a Woman" and "Ship of Mustard" feature female protagonists, they will not dispel Anthony's reputation for male chauvinism. He introduces each of the 20 stories with a commentary in which he recalls how he wrote the story and, frequently it how it was rejected by hostile or indifferent editors. Indeed, the collection's title refers to a plot on the part of editors to alien ate writers. Going a step further, both "Revise and Invent" and "Nonent" concern a writer whose stories are rejected. Overall this is an entertaining assemblage that Anthony's many fans will surely welcome. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Cogent, sharply worded...Anthony is certainly right in saying that critics have gone on dismissing him too long and too loudly."--_Booklist_
Like Cat O’ Nine Tales (2007), Archer‘s latest collection of short fiction features stories based (sometimes rather loosely, we suspect) on true incidents or people. Of the 15 stories, 10, we’re told, are based on “known incidents,” which means, for example, that something similar to the very clever method of stealing jewelry described in “Stuck on You” might actually have been tried. Or that someone like Benny, the too-clever-for-his-own-good prison stoolie, might really have sentenced himself to a life of looking over his shoulder. Aside from the fact that they’re marked with an asterisk, it’s hard to tell the true(-ish) stories from the outright fictional ones: in all of them, Archer creates engaging characters and puts them into situations that range from tragic to comic to, well . . . a little strange. Once again we have ample proof that Archer is as proficient with short stories as he is with novels. --David Pitt
Running for her life, Teri Slaughter flees New York City and takes refuge in a San Antonio convent, masquerading as her own sister. But when hot and hunky homicide detective, Angel Garcia tries to protect her from the killers, he proves to be a threat to her heart. To protect the nuns, Teri uses herself as bait, leading the killers on a wild chase. Will Angel catch up in time?
When she was only twenty-three her first novel, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter , created a literary sensation. She is very special, one of America's superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the depths of the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition. A grotesque human triangle in a primitive Southern town… A young boy learning the difficult lessons of manhood… A fateful encounter with his native land and former love… These are parts of the world of Carson McCullers – a world of the lost, the injured, the eternal strangers at life's feast. Here are brilliant revelations of love and longing, bitter heartbreak and occasional happiness – tales that probe the very heart of our lives.
A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers' best stories, including her beloved novella "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe." A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose cafe serves as the town's gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes "Wunderkind," McCullers' first published story written when she was only seventeen about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist.
About the Author
Carson McCullers was born at Columbus, Georgia, in 1917. She published The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at the age of twenty-three. Her other works include Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), The Member of the Wedding (1946), The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951), The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), a play, Clock Without Hands (1961), Sweet as a Pickle, Clean as a Pig (1964) and The Mortgaged Heart (published posthumously in 1972). She died in 1967.
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Every selection in this rich collection is strange and startling, a glimpse into weird, wondrous, and sometimes terrifying worlds. "Singing My Sister Down," "House of the Many," and "Earthly Uses" use the death of a character to illustrate the trajectory that grief gives to those who surround those characters. In "Sweet Pippit," a group of elephants break from captivity to rescue the one human who can lead and love them. "Wooden Bride" centers on Matty Weir and her decision to change herself forever by participating in her town's anonymous group marriage ceremony, providing a sly, unconventional commentary on today's consumer-heavy wedding culture. "Red Nose Day" provides a glimpse into the hearts of two assassins who are killing clowns. "Yowlinin" is a story of ostracism and disaster; an outcast girl warns of a plague but is unheeded, with catastrophic results. The 10 stories all hover near a 20-page range. Lanagan uses beautiful, lyrical language to tell peculiar, disturbing tales. This collection may need some introduction, and would work especially well in a classroom setting; it is full of teachable moments. The selections are subtle and scary, and are remarkably different from most short stories aimed at teens. This book will satisfy readers hungry for intelligent, literary fantasies that effectively twist facets of our everyday world into something alien.–Sarah Couri, New York Public Library
“Nam Le's lyricism and emotional urgency lend his portraits enormous visceral power. . . . A remarkable collection.” —The New York Times“Nam Le is extraordinary, a writer who must - who will - be heard. . . .The Boat's vision and its power are timeless.” —Mary Gaitskill“Astounding. . . . A refreshingly diverse and panoramic debut.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review“Extraordinarily accomplished and sophisticated. . . . Moving and unforgettable.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Wonderful stories that snarl and pant across our crazed world . . . . Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten.” —Junot Díaz“Lyrical . . . Powerful and assured. . . . [Le's] kaleidoscopic world view is on display throughout the stories, which seamlessly blend cultural traditions, accents and landscapes that run from lush to barren.” —The Miami Herald“Stunning. . . .These stories are so beautifully written and cross emotional barriers of time and place with such clear vision and strong command of language we can only wonder with awe what Nam Le will offer us next.” —The Oregonian“A collection that takes the reader across the globe. From Iowa to Colombia to Australia and Iran, the characters in Le’s stories each shape the world around them. In each story, the protagonists create a new atmosphere. . . .While Le is a writer who seems to be interested in the issues of the world, he is also a writer interested in the young. . . . Le does not downplay the lives of his children as fiction often does when portraying younger characters but presents them with a seriousness and intelligence that is refreshing. . . . The Boat is an impressive debut from a writer with a lot more to give. A writer to be remembered.”—Marion Frisby, The Denver Post“Powerful . . . Lyrical . . . Devastating . . . A harsh and masterful effort, each tale a clean shot through the heart, the aim true. In seven stories covering six continents and an ocean, Le delivers a powerful and assured vision that offers a clear look at his impressive talents. . . . Le is the sort of writer who taps directly into the vein of desperation and offers no shelter. He’s not for the faint of heart, but the reward for soldiering on in the toughness of his world is the welcome recognition of a voice clear and brave.”—Amy Driscoll, The Miami Herald“Captivating . . . An uncannily mature debut [that] distills time, experience . . . There’s a streak of the naturalist in Nam Le that looks back to such writers as Emile Zola, Stephen Crane and Theodore Dreiser. . . . It is a searing portrait of survival, love and sacrifice, which seems revelatory and wise. It is [Le’s] ethnic story that transcends ethnicity.”—Robert L. Pincus, San Diego Union-Tribune“[The Boat] takes the reader from the South China Sea to Medellin, Colombia, to Tehran and beyond–places that, in many cases, Nam Le has never visited. . . . What struck me about [‘Tehran Calling’] was how vivid the imagery of the city of Tehran appears–the Shiite Ashura procession, with the self-flagellation, the rutted roads, [he] talks about the stale fluorescent writing at the airport . . . [Nam Le] writes so convincingly about these places [he’s] never been to . . .”—Guy Raz, correspondent, All Things Considered“Brilliant . . . The Boat will quicken your pulse and awaken every nerve in your being. For avid readers who have hungered for stories that can transport them physically, intellectually and emotionally, stories so well-structured and narrated they appear to reinvent the form itself, the literary American Idol is Nam Le. [His] dynamic prose and remarkable range of subjects and points of view defy explanation. . . . There is so much to say about Nam Le’s genius that it would take a book and even that may not be enough. With The Boat, he defeats time, hollowness and cliché with every story, earning him the right to reap sheaves, buckets, reservoirs of generous, unabashed praise.”—Denise Gess, Raleigh News & Observer“Twenty-nine-year-old Nam Le demonstrates the aesthetic ambition and sentence-making chops of a much more experienced writer. . . . Each moment of technical brio [in the opening story] deepens the dramatization of the all-but-unspeakable power of love between parent and child. By the end, any perceptive reader will agree that the ‘world could be shattered by a small stone dropped like a single syllable.’ . . . The plot unfolds with remorseless logic, harsh beauty, and an almost unbearable tenderness that reminded me of Dubliners. [The story’s] scenes [are] exact in their details and gorgeous in their musicality . . . I’ve been telling friends about The Boat for weeks now, saying ‘This guy’s got it.’ Now I’m telling you. Pass it on.” —John Repp, Cleveland Plain Dealer “Astonishing . . . Not yet 30, Le effortlessly gives all seven tales in The Boat a different register, structure, vocabulary and tone.. . . . The miracle of these stories is how their author, by sleight of hand and virtue of skill, puts his searching, observant voice wherever he likes.”—John Freeman, Newark Star-Ledger“Moving . . . The opening story in Nam Le’s debut collection, The Boat,is as dazzling an introduction to a writer’s work as I’ve read. . . . Nam Le digs beneath the surface and unfailingly sees the bundles as human in these accomplished stories about the terrible reverberations of violence.”—Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor “It is uncommon that a writer’s first book can be described as masterful, especially when the author is not yet 30 years old. But *The Boat, an extraordinary collection of seven short stories by Nam Le, is truly that kind of book. . . . As complex in its depth as it is accessible in its prose. . . . These stories are so beautifully written and cross emotional barriers of time and place with such clear vision and strong command of language we can only wonder with awe what Nam Le will offer us next.”—Jim Carmin, The Oregonian*“[The stories in Nam Le’s The Boat] flout the traditional maxim ‘Write what you know,’ taking on characters as diverse as Colombian drug lords, Iranian feminists, and a New York painter who sounds a lot like Lucian Freud. All sincere works of the imagination, these stories yet bear a self-conscious riposte to conventional wisdom. . . . Mr. Le stands out from the crowd [of debut writers] because of the breadth of his research and the confidence of his imagination. He may prize the universal, but he doesn’t skimp on concrete detail. In ‘Tehran Calling,’ for example, he could have described the row between an American visitor and her Iranian friend with dialogue and a few descriptions, but instead he takes us walking on the streets, describes smells, effects of lighting, and the fine points of street wear. . . . I found ‘Hiroshima,’ the most experimental story here, also to be one of the most absorbing. . . . There are many ticklish questions to ask about fiction and its sources, and they have been asked, recently, by many writers. Mr. Le’s distinction is to ask them without once seeming other than a hardworking practitioner of quality American lit.”—Benjamin Lytal, The New York Sun“Leering. Sepia-toned. Dark. Dark. Dark. Light. Well-crafted. Intricately cut, sanded, steamed and stained. Striking. Aggressively schizophrenic. Crayola-esque (characters). Jim Shepard-esque (range).”—Esquire (All-Adjective Reviews)“Sensational . . . There is something thrilling in discovering a gifted new writer on the American scene. And that is what we have in Nam Le, whose short story collection, The Boat, easily will be among the significant works of fiction published this year. . . . Stories that both crackle with immediacy and sport a cool, focused tone. His characters are drawn with an old master’s depth . . . It’s not often that a work of highbrow fiction moves like a suspense novel, but that’s the kind of talent Nam Le displays. It reaffirms your faith in literature. . . . There is a spare architecture to his sentences, yet he has the ability to create complex worlds, shadowed by bleakness and heartbreak. . . . His first story alternates between playful satire and dread seriousness, showing the kind of balancing act Le can pull off. [In] ‘Cartagena,’ Le vividly sketches the cardboard cities and muddy streets of Medellin . . . The story has the hypnotic power of a Graham Greene nightmare. . . . The book’s masterpiece is ‘Halflead Bay,’ an Aussie twist on Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories. . . . It is full of rich description, an ear for native lingo and keen observations of dysfunctional family dynamics. As you read the last lines of *The Boat, it is not a stretch to flash on ‘The Dead,’ the legendary final story in Joyce’s Dubliners. . . . A book filled with grace, texture and humanity.”—Larry Aydlette, The Palm Beach Post “The characters in Nam Le’s The Boat are impossible to pigeonhole, ranging from an egomaniacal Manhattan artist to a Colombian gangster to a hard-drinking Iowa M.F.A. student. [The] standout [is] the brutal title story [which] dramatizes the plight of three Vietnamese boat people. Le’s viscerally affecting writing and bold imagination mark an exciting debut.”—Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly*“Nam Le proves masterful at crafting authentic and believable locations. [His] detailed descriptions of setting dictate tone and mood [and] in churning...
"Fine, poignant and subtly humorous stories. . . . [Bullfighting] is probably the finest collection of Irish short stories since James Joyce’s Dubliners. The delicacy of emotion is here, the spare but elegant writing, the heartbreak and humour. . . . There’s laugher and sadness, provided by a writer at his peak, teasing meaning out of the ordinary with exquisite skill and delicacy.” —John Doyle, The Globe and Mail
“Bullfighting offers a series of rare and beautiful mid-life meditations. . . . With its chatty, in-the-pub style . . . you feel as though you are eavesdropping on each of these men’s forbidden thoughts and fears.” —Daily Express
“With the sparest materials Doyle snaps entire lives into sharp focus in a handful of pages, which is short fiction doing what short fiction does best.” —The Times “Shedding tears, eliciting laughs and revitalising the mundanity of everyday existence has long been Roddy Doyle’s finest suit. He delivers it [in Bullfighting] in spades.” —The List “These stories pack a considerable cumulative punch, a resounding wake-up call to anyone who feels time running by too fast or the loss of meaning in their everyday lives and relationships. . . . The stories are much more powerful read together than on their own. . . . [They] have plenty of Doyle’s irreverent humour and language, too.” —Irish Independent
About the Author
Roddy Doyle is the author of seven acclaimed novels and Rory and Ita, a memoir about his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Perhaps it was a disservice to collect all of Parker's stories in one place. Despite insistence to the contrary in a reasoned but ultimately unconvincing introduction by Regina Barreca, Parker wrote decently about the same things over and over and over. This volume includes 13 stories and nine sketches which were previously uncollected, but they blend right in with the other material on drinking and divorce among those of a certain class. Parker's stories tend to float in the shallow end of the literary pool. It's not that any individual piece is of poor quality, it's just that, collectively, the the sameness becomes unbearable. Her humor, in particular, strikes the same note every time. A quick run-through of several plots exhibits this perfectly: two women insincerely discuss an impending divorce; a couple gets drunk in preparation for becoming teetotalers the next day. The nine sketches included here are more of the same, minus any actual plot. Descriptions such as "Lloyd wears washable neckties," are amusing, but go no further. It is ironic that feminist critics are attempting to resurrect Parker, since her writing makes her disdain for her own sex perfectly clear: she feels free to disparage these women for whom marriage and dinner parties are everything, but she always goes for the easy laugh at their expense rather than explore the larger context that forced them into such rigid roles. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Now remembered almost soley as the lone female member of the New York writers' group known as the Algonquin Round Table, Parker was one of the most popular and published writers of the interwar years whose stories and light verse were eagerly sought by the best magazines. Although widely represented in short story anthologies, Parker's entire corpus of stories has never been collected in a single volume: editor Breese includes 13 stories and nine "sketches" not previously anthologized. Read as a collection, however, the famous sardonic wit becomes too intrusive, and similarities of plot and character are annoyingly apparent. Reliance on heavy social drinking as a staple of her plots is less humorous to Nineties readers, and some of Parker's ideas on the relationship between the sexes are equally dated. Still, many of the stories, such as the often reprinted "Big Blonde," are moving, and the whole volume is an unsettling portrait of the era. For all fiction and research collections.?Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Master of Southern-Fried Horror comes a collection of stories that could only beat in the dark, diseased heart of Dixie...- An abandoned furnace, choked with shadow and haunted by tormented ghosts, stands as a grim testament to a time when cruelty and the abuse of human flesh was woefully commonplace...- A man's obsession with mysterious roadkill on a lonesome country avenue awakens a horrifying hunger that can not be satisfied...- Two boys let curiosity get the better of them and discover that a collector of monster movie memorabilia is something more than a retired master of greasepaint and latex...- A dimwitted projectionist at a small-town drive-in theatre upsets a Saturday night crowd when he unwilling releases a dark secret from a dusty and forgotten film can...- A grandfather's Christmas Eve story of a unfinished journey by a drunken peddler captivates a young boy and brings about the delivery of a yuletide gift once thought to be forever lost...- It started out as nothing more than a shortcut home... a detour through a shadowy stretch of forest known as Tanglewood. But what awaited an unsuspecting driver, amid the brush and bramble, made a simple flat tire seem like a horrifying journey into madness... 22 terrifying tales of Southern darkness and depravity from Ronald Kelly, the acclaimed author of Fear, Blood Kin, Hell Hollow, and Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Terrors.
Anais Nin's Delta of Venus is a stunning collection of sexual encounters from the queen of literary erotica. From Mathilde's lust-filled Peruvian opium den to the Hungarian baron driven insane by his insatiable desire, the passions and obsessions of this dazzling cast of characters are vivid and unforgettable. Delta of Venus is a deep and sensual world that evokes the very essence of sexuality.
SUMMARY: In these energetic, exhilarating stories, Ali Smith portrays a world of everyday dislocation, where people nevertheless find connection, mystery, and love. In "Astute Fiery Luxurious," a misdelivered package throws the life of a couple into disarray. A boy's unexplained illness in "I Know Something You Don't Know" drives his mother to seek guidance from homeopathic healers, with inconclusive results. In "The Child," an unnervingly mature young boy voices offensive humor that genteel society would rather not acknowledge. And a confident older woman meets her awkward fourteen-year-old self in "Writ" but can't figure out how to guide her-or even whether she should. As Smith explores the subtle links between what we know and what we feel, she creates an exuberant, masterly collection that is packed full of ideas, humor, nuance, and compassion. Ali Smith and the short story are made for each other. "From the Hardcover edition."
' . . . absurd situations and mounting chaos keep things moving and plenty of fun.' LOCUSTess Noncoire, successful fantasy writer and Celestial Blade Warrior, has made a deal with the Powers That Be, trading her own dreams for the future for the safely of those nearest and dearest to her. Having survived this unprecedented experience, Tess-along with her imp Scrap-is determined to hunt down a demonic intruder from another dimension, the Norglein, who seems bent on bespelling and seducing young women, leaving them pregnant, and them waiting for the proper time to steal their babies away for his own purposes.Injured in her first encounter with the Norglein, Tess will be forced to turn to the two men she swore she'd have nothing more to do with, as well as several unexpected allies. But whether she can stop the Norglein and rescue his offspring form the fate he has planned for them is very much in doubt. And if she has to face the Powers That Be a second time, getting out alive will be the least of Tess' worries . . .'Fans of Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley are most likely to enjoy this slightly screwball fantasy adventure.'- Publishers Weekly
Readers of Jeremy C. Shipp's fiction will be familiar with his minimalist, breakneck pacing, his surreal forays into political satire, and his seamless blending of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Now, in his fourth book, the Bram Stoker Award finalist expands on what many critics and fans alike have long considered the most compelling aspect of his work-relationships. This story collection explores how a person's desire can infect their every action and interaction with others. The desire to protect. The desire to hurt. The desire to be desired. Fungus of the Heart explores what happens between people when society breaks down and the rules go out the window. Haunting and heartbreaking, pithy and potent, the quirky inhabitants of Shipp's bizarro world will carve an indelible line from your funnybone to your spleen to your emotional core.
"Body toll notwithstanding, How They Were Found is anything but bleak. For one thing, there's the prose: generous, urgent, rhythmic." --The Believer
"Bell knows how to keep his world in check, his every word balanced against another, delicately, like a system of weights." --The Rumpus
"Bell has built a national reputation completely outside the support system of New York publishing, on the strength of his stories and novellas. He is that rare sort of writer the reader would recognize even if published anonymously." --HTMLGiant
"The characters are doomed. The stories are bleak. Yet they are written so beautifully that they become something else: an exuberant example of the power of language to transport and transform." --Shelf Unbound
"Bell, here, at the start of his career, displays the kind of intelligence, self-awareness, and care with regard to his prose that suggests he may become a major talent." --Jeff Vandermeer
"Reminscent of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Winter War in Tibet in its calm examination and unsettling embodiment of mental and physical extremes, How They Were Found is a dreamer's chronicle of the loss and partial recovery of a world given over to the wrecking ball. Fierce, unflinching, funny, How They Were Found is just the book we need right now, Matt Bell just the writer." —Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star
"How They Were Found offers a world with shifting rules, described with a lovely and deceptive simplicity. This guide shows you thirteen different types of wilderness, and you can spend all day exploring before you realize you are lost." —Amelia Gray, author of Museum of the Weird and AM/PM
"You're a robot if the stories in Matt Bell's debut collection don't exhilarate, frighten, and unalterably change you. His wild manipulation of form and genre makes the bulk of contemporary fiction feel bloodless and inert in comparison, but it is Bell's recurring arrival at something sturdy and true about human behavior that makes the stories in How They Were Found so rewarding and resonant." —Matthew Derby, author of Super Flat Times: Stories
In his debut collection How They Were Found, Matt Bell draws from a wide range of genres to create stories that are both formally innovative and imaginatively rich. In one, a 19th-century minister follows ghostly instructions to build a mechanical messiah. In another, a tyrannical army commander watches his apocalyptic command slip away as the memories of his men begin to fade and fail. Elsewhere, murders are indexed, new worlds are mapped, fairy tales are fractured and retold and then fractured again. Throughout these thirteen stories, Bell's careful prose burrows at the foundations of his characters' lives until they topple over, then painstakingly pores over the wreckage for what rubbled humanity might yet remain to be found.
Contains the story "Dredge," selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2010.
The Yellowstone Caldera has erupted once every 600,000 years. We’re 40,000 years overdue. A LAND OF ASH Lava flows stretch for hundreds of miles. A cloud of ash billows east, burying the Midwest, destroying crops, and falling upon the Pacific Coast like a warm, dead snow. The remnants of the United States flees south as the global temperatures plummet.
Amid this total devastation are stories of families, friends, sons and fathers and wives: the survivors. Within are eleven stories focusing on the human element of such a catastrophe, from an elderly couple gathering to await their death to a father sealing his shelter in hopes of keeping the air breathable for his daughter.
Contributing to this collection include many popular and up-and-coming independent authors, including David McAfee, Daniel Arenson, and more.
Australian writer Matthew Revert purposely disregards the boring limits of consensus reality in favor of a better experiential flow for author and audience. He's been called a "bizarro" writer, but prefers the tag absurdist.
The stories in A Million Versions of Right are irreal, but not confrontationally so. Revert distorts familiar experiences while retaining enough of the commonplace to make them universal for even the most staid of readers. A consistent motif is the unremarkable reactions of his protagonists when faced with circumstances beyond the unlikely (like ejaculating a series of mustachioed tillers, as occurs in the title story, where readers are introduced to the narrator's "clockwork father"). --Denver Examiner, April 16, 2010
A Million Versions of Right, Mister Revert's collection of short stories, is an amazing achievement. Why? Well, because I hate short story collections. There's only one other short story collection I liked and that was the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collection by Steven Erikson. But those were different. Very different to these. I just can't stand getting into a story and then being flipped out and told to get into the next, which is doomed to be not as much fun because I kind of just wanted to read more about that character. I prefer novels.
And what makes them so great isn't their ideas. It's the style. Mister Revert has, simply, one of the most efficient and highly readable styles I've ever read for this genre. In most cases you can feel the author's desperate need to try and impress. You can see they're just trying to one-up the weirdness. But Mister Rever succeeds in keeping a natural eccentricity which is toned down greatly by a near precision-based editing exercise. You can see he's worked and reworked each story - and if he hasn't, then the man needs to be wired up to a machine which forces him to write, because if this is what he can do without effort, then he needs to give us something he tried. It would kick our brains out.
If you like it weird, and you like it intelligent and you like it to challenge your mind, you can't go wrong with A Million Versions of Right, because no matter how wrong you think a short story is, this book will prove they can sometimes be all right. --Lateral Books, April 18, 2010
This book offers a crucial and refreshing difference that should instantly establish it as a prototype of the Bizarro genre (perhaps New Absurdist? Subject for a debate no doubt). That difference is: in these stories, the nonsensical actually makes sense and the illogical is firmly grounded on logic, i.e. they have a raison-d'être.
Granted, perhaps testicular annihilation and scrotum aesthetics shouldn't be appreciated by all. And the paralysing fear that one or more of the men' contained insemen' may be what decides to burst forth at that next toe-curling moment is rarely a popular water-cooler topic. Ditto for power blinks, malfunctioning bookmarks, and one particular comb-jar deep in the Hair District... But all these things fill the pages for a reason, brilliantly described and brought to life to reveal the shocking silliness that exists in those things we call conventions. --Full of Crow, December 27, 2009
From the Inside Flap
"Revert is an absurdist with dirty hands and a dirty mind, willing to take words to weird places to make you laugh when you shouldn't--and yet still do." Kris Saknussemm, author of ZANESVILLE and PRIVATE MIDNIGHT
"Revert takes everyday human experiences and distorts them into until they are totally bizarre while keeping enough of the "everyday" around so it brings to mind the things that many of us experience in our lives. And that is why this book is totally sweet." Bradley Sands, author of IT CAME FROM BELOW THE BELT and MY HEART SAID NO BUT THE CAMERA CREW SAID YES
"Revert's off the wall humor, which can be at times amazingly sharp, totally nonsensical, out of third base, or subtle enough to miss if your not paying attention, bring the stories to the level of bizarre fever dreams." Ray Fracalossy, author of TALES FROM THE VINEGAR WASTELAND