Archives for posts with tag: World Fantasy Award Winner

Errantry Cover Final

ERRANTRY

By Elizabeth Hand

I WAS HANGING OUT IN Angus’s apartment above the print shop, scoring some of his ADHD medication, when Tommy Devaraux ran upstairs to tell us he’d just seen the Folding Man over at the Old Court Grill. This was some years after the new century had cracked open and left me and my friends scrambled, even more feckless than we’d been thirty years earlier when we met as teenagers in Kamensic Village. The three of us had been romantically involved off and on during high school and for a few years afterward, held together by the wobbly gravitational pull exerted by adolescence and the strange, malign beauty of Kamensic, a once-rural town that had since been ravaged by gentrification and whose name had recently been trademarked by a domestic housewares tycoon.

Angus had never left Kamensic; he’d spent the last three decades nurturing a musical career that never quite took off, despite a minor 1977 hit that continued to generate residuals and a ringtone that now echoed eerily across the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. His most recent job had been with a brokerage firm absorbed by MortNet. The three kids from his first marriage were grown, but the younger ones, twins, had just started school, and child support and legal bills from the second divorce had stripped him of almost everything.

His ex-wife Sheila and the twins remained in the MacMansion out by Kamensic Meadows, but Angus lived in a third-floor flat he rented from another old friend who owned the struggling printing company below. The entire rickety wood-frame building smelled of dust and ink, the faintly resinous odor of paper mingled with acrid chemical pigments and the reek of melted plastic. In bed at night in Angus’s room, with the old presses rumbling on the floor below, it felt as though we were on board a train. Walls and floors vibrated around us and a sallow streetlamp coated the window with a syrupy greenish light. A few yards away, real trains racketed between the city and the outer exurbs.

I lived sixty miles north of Kamensic, in the next county, but spent more time in my old stomping grounds than reason or propriety allowed. Angus was my half-brother, the result of what Shakespearean scholars term a bed-trick. We didn’t know of our complicated parentage when we first slept together, but once we learned about it we figured it was too late and what the hell. Few people besides us ever knew, and most of them are now dead. My own career, as assistant professor of Arthurian studies at a small college upstate, had flamed out due to accusations of sexual harassment (dropped when a student recanted his story) and drug and alcohol abuse (upheld). Despite my dismissal, I found work as a private tutor, coaching rich kids on their college admissions essays.

“Vivian,” Tommy said breathlessly when I opened the door. “Angus here?”

I brushed my cheek against Tommy’s as he swept inside and crossed to where Angus sat hunched over his computer. Tommy peered at the monitor and frowned. “Where’s Estelle?”

Tommy had a little obsessive thing that dovetailed neatly with Angus’s frenetic energy, as in their latest collaboration, a thirty-seven-song cycle Angus was writing about Estelle, an imaginary woman based on a real woman, a stockbroker Tommy had dated once. He became obsessed with her, and she eventually hit him with a restraining order and moved to Vermont.

Angus scowled. “I’m taking a break from freaking Estelle.”

“Well, sacrifice that Voidwalker and log off,” said Tommy. “I just saw the Folding Man.”

To find out more about the Folding Man, you must read Errantry by Elizabeth Hand in The Story Collection Storybundle.

For more about Liz and her stories and books, visit www.elizabethhand.com.

So there you have it, my friends. The Story Collection Storybundle is live! You the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may even designate a portion to go to a charity. Savor traditionally published, multi-award-winning stories from diverse and varied publications which the authors have collected for you.

The Bundle includes What I Didn’t See (a World Fantasy Award Winner) by Karen Joy Fowler (the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club), Collected Stories by Lewis Shiner, Errantry by Elizabeth Hand, The Green Leopard Plague by Walter Jon Williams, Women Up to No Good by Pat Murphy, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories by Lisa Mason, Wild Things by C. C. Finlay, and 6 Stories by Kathe Koja.

But you must act now. The Story Collection Storybundle lasts only until June 2, 2016 at https://storybundle.com/storycollection. Relax over the summer with these great story collections!

“Always”

Karen Joy Fowler

How I Got Here:
I was seventeen years old when I heard the good news from Wilt Loomis who had it straight from Brother Porter himself. Wilt was so excited he was ready to drive to the city of Always that very night. Back then I just wanted to be anywhere Wilt was. So we packed up.

Always had two openings and these were going for five thousand apiece, but Wilt had already talked to Brother Porter who said, seeing as it was Wilt, who was good with cars, he’d take twenty-five hundred down and give us another three years to come up with the other twenty-five, and let that money cover us both. You average that five thousand, Wilt told me, over the infinite length of your life and it worked out to almost nothing a year. Not exactly nothing, but as close to nothing as you could get without getting to nothing. It was too good a deal to pass up. They were practically paying us.

My stepfather was drinking again and it looked less and less like I was going to graduate high school. Mother was just as glad to have me out of the house and harm’s way. She did give me some advice. You can always tell a cult from a religion, she said, because a cult is just a set of rules that lets certain men get laid.

And then she told me not to get pregnant, which I could have taken as a shot across the bow, her new way of saying her life would have been so much better without me, but I chose not to. Already I was taking the long view.

The city of Always was a lively place then – this was back in 1938 – part commune and part roadside attraction, set down in the Santa Cruz mountains with the redwoods all around.  It used to rain all winter and be damp all summer, too. Slug weather for those big yellow slugs you never saw anywhere but Santa Cruz. Out in the woods it smelled like bay leaves.

The old Santa Cruz Highway snaked through and the two blocks right on that road were the part open to the public. People would stop there for a soda – Brother Porter used to brag that he’d invented Hawaiian Punch, though the recipe had been stolen by some gang in Fresno who took the credit for it – and to look us over, whisper about us on their way to the beach. We offered penny peep shows for the adults, because Brother Porter said you ought know what sin was before you abjured it, and a row of wooden Santa Claus statues for the kids. In our heyday we had fourteen gas pumps to take care of all the gawkers.

Brother Porter founded Always in the early twenties, and most of the other residents were already old when I arrived. That made sense, I guess, that they’d be the ones to feel the urgency, but I didn’t expect it and I wasn’t pleased. Wilt was twenty-five when we first went to Always. Of course, that too seemed old to me then.

The bed I got had just been vacated by a thirty-two-year-old woman named Maddie Beckinger. Maddie was real pretty. She’d just filed a suit against Brother Porter alleging that he’d promised to star her in a movie called The Perfect Woman, and when it opened she was supposed to fly to Rome in a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, only this plane would be called the Spirit of Love. She said in her suit that she’d always been more interested in being a movie star than in living forever. Who, she asked, was more immortal than Marlene Dietrich? Brother Porter hated it when we got dragged into the courts, but, as I was to learn, it did keep happening. Lawyers are forever, Brother Porter used to say.

Visit Karen at http://karenjoyfowler.com for more about her books and stories.

So there you have it, my friends. The Story Collection Storybundle is live! You the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may even designate a portion to go to a charity. Savor traditionally published, multi-award-winning stories from diverse and varied publications which the authors have collected for you.

The Bundle includes What I Didn’t See (a World Fantasy Award Winner) by Karen Joy Fowler (the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club), Collected Stories by Lewis Shiner, Errantry by Elizabeth Hand, The Green Leopard Plague by Walter Jon Williams, Women Up to No Good by Pat Murphy, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories by Lisa Mason, Wild Things by C. C. Finlay, and 6 Stories by Kathe Koja.

But you must act now. The Story Collection Storybundle lasts only until June 2, 2016 at https://storybundle.com/storycollection

What I Didn't See Cover Final

As the Curator of The Story Collection Storybundle, I’m honored and delighted to include What I Didn’t See by the bestselling author, Karen Joy Fowler.

About the Collection: WHAT I DIDN’T SEE was first published by Small Beer Press in 2010. According to the Library Journal, the stories in it are an eclectic mix, characterized by obsession, disappearance, and revelation. The title story won the Nebula in 2003 and the collection won the World Fantasy Award in 2011.

About the Author: Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. She’s written literary, contemporary, historical, and science fiction. Her most recent novel, We are all completely beside ourselves, won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner, the California Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2014. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Check out these reviews!

“An exceptionally versatile author . . . Fowler has “the best possible combination of imagination and pragmatism,” as she applies unique narratives into carefully crafted structures.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“In all these stories, Fowler (“Sarah Canary,” “The Jane Austen Book Club”) delights in luring her readers from the walks of ordinary life into darker, more fantastical realms. There, as one of her characters remarks, “Your eyes no longer impose any limit on the things you can see.” . . . Fowler’s closing story, “King Rat,” is a masterpiece. Reading more like a personal essay than fiction, it pays eloquent tribute to “the two men I credit with making me a writer.” Here’s a volume that serves as a fine introduction to Fowler, if you haven’t come across her before—and one that will deeply satisfy fans who’ve been with her from the beginning.”
Seattle Times

“One of those writers who can write an almost thoroughly mainstream realistic story and nearly convince us we’re reading SF, or write an SF story and convince us we’re reading mainstream realism.”
Locus

“That rare writer who can match the power of her novels with the power of her short stories. She works in the world of myth with great ease. We feel, reading her stories, that we are in our world, but some portion of it that connects vitally with everything else. What happens here is gripping, important, compelling, and often terrifying. Her new collection of stories, ‘What I Didn’t See’ offers readers perfect renderings of a New American Mythos”
Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

Karen Joy Fowler takes the short story in directions readers could never anticipate, and her latest collection from the wonderful Small Beer Press, What I Didn’t See: Stories, offers up numerous delights for the smart and creative reader. From the wham-bang start of “The Pelican Bar” to the Hemingway-esque title story, Fowler takes you from the past to the future in stories that feature speculative fiction elements, or are starkly true to life. Cast your preconceived notions aside and settle in to explore the human mysteries Fowler mines with abandon. This is literature at its most intriguing, and a reminder of how bold and daring a gifted writer can be.”
—Colleen Mondor, Bookslut

“The practicality of her views is what makes them upsetting, a reminder how tragedies great and small affect people every day even if we aren’t privy to them. And that is where Fowler succeeds — even if her brutal boarding houses or Congolese misadventures aren’t real to us, post-traumatic stress disorder is. All of her narrators are survivors, and they tell their stories in blunt, practical ways we imagine they need to protect themselves.”
For Books’ Sakes

“Fowler cements her place in fiction history–genre or otherwise–not because of her fancy tricks but through sheer technique and her excellence in characterization.”
—Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker

Visit Karen at http://karenjoyfowler.com for more about her stories and books.

So there you have it, my friends. The Story Collection Storybundle is live! You the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may even designate a portion to go to a charity. Savor traditionally published, multi-award-winning stories from diverse and varied publications which the authors have collected for you.

The Bundle includes What I Didn’t See (a World Fantasy Award Winner) by Karen Joy Fowler (the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club), Collected Stories by Lewis Shiner, Errantry by Elizabeth Hand, The Green Leopard Plague by Walter Jon Williams, Women Up to No Good by Pat Murphy, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories by Lisa Mason, Wild Things by C. C. Finlay, and 6 Stories by Kathe Koja.

But you must act now. The Story Collection Storybundle lasts only until June 2, 2016 at https://storybundle.com/storycollection. But you must act now. In twenty days, it’s gone!