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Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature Paperback – July 12, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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A Kirkus Science Fiction and Fantasy Book You'll Want to Read in July
A 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Summer Read
A Foreword 4 Great Indie Sci-Fi Titles for Summer 2016
[STAR] In this very fine reprint anthology, Weisman has brought together 22 SF stories by authors who, although not generally associated with the genre, are clearly fellow travelers (not the ominous invaders suggested by the title). Among the major names are Pulitzer Prizewinner Junot Díaz, George Saunders, Katherine Dunn, Jonathan Lethem, Amiri Baraka, W.P. Kinsella, Steven Millhauser, Robert Olen Butler, and Molly Gloss. Among the best of the consistently strong stories are Díaz’s Monstro,” the horrifying tale of a disease outbreak in Haiti; Gloss’s near-perfect first-contact story, Lambing Season”; Kinsella’s totally bizarre Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated”; Ben Loory’s fable-like The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun”; and Saunders’s Escape from Spiderhead,” a deeply sexy tale of wild experimental science. In general, the stories tend toward satire and emphasize fine writing more than hitting genre beatstechnology is usually a means to an end rather than the center of the storybut most of them could easily have found homes in SF magazines. This volume is a treasure trove of stories that draw equally from SF and literary fiction, and they are superlative in either context.”
Further proof, if any more were necessary, that the line between genre and literary fiction is simply speculative.”
Invaders lives up to its tagline ’22 tales from the outer limits of literature’. In here, some of the best writers have freestyled on a blank page, without care for rules or patterns. And in so doing, they’ve produced stories that push the envelope not only of sci-fi, but of literature as a whole.”
This is tight writing and perfectly formed . . . It is evident the authors are playing with the genre, and revelling in it.”
This new anthology from Jacob Weisman collects an intriguing set of short stories from authors not typically associated with science fiction.”
Invaders is a playful and imaginative exploration of what it means to write in the field of science fiction”
Well, damn. From the first page to the last, Invaders surprised and intoxicated me, offering one stirring, visionary, warm-hearted, funny, probing story after another. Reading them in quick succession made me feel as if the world was flickering before my eyes, ricocheting from one possible reality to another, beneath a dozen different suns. It would be hard to devise a better survey of those contemporary short fiction writers, both celebrated and undersung, who have worked to smuggle the methods of science fiction into the mainstream.”
Kevin Brockmeier, author of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip
"For almost forty years I've believed and practiced and preached that there's no necessary distance between 'high literature' and 'science fiction.' Invaders is convincing proof. Funny, absurd, frightening, streetwise, probing, heartbreaking the fiction collected here touches all registers."
Carter Scholz, author of The Amount to Carry: Stories and Radiance
[O]ne of the best SFF collections I’ve read in years. It’s a smorgasbord of visionary and thought-provoking stories ”
Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased
This collection really explores the outer limits of literature as it claims. I recommend it to you.”
A superb batch of stories by literary authors who have invaded science fiction and left distinct footprints behind.”
The stories are smart and balanced, with a dark side but highly readable.”
It's up there with the very best I've read.”
The Book Chemist
Each story is bursting with imagination; exciting prose; thought-provoking vision. These stories are the cream of the crop, truly fine examples of what make speculative fiction so fascinating. Every piece has a crisp, literary quality to its writing, perfectly melded with the surreal ideas and themes explored within them.”
Praise for the anthologies of editor Jacob Weisman
The Treasury of the Fantastic (with David M. Sandner)
From the evocative images of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan’ and Lord Byron's Darkness’ to Mark Twain's devil tale, The Mysterious Stranger’ and Max Beerbohm's devil plus time travel fantasy, Enoch Soames,’ the 44 stories and poems in this compilation of fantastic literature provides a solid grounding in the development of the genre. Because most of the writers are mainstream’ rather than genre authors, this collection also makes a good case for fantasy as literature, while the presence of Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells and Lord Dunsany alongside Edith Wharton, Emily Dickinson, and E.M. Forster breaks down the barrier between literary and genre fiction. VERDICT: This is an important collection for all lovers of fantasy and literature.”
The Treasury of the Fantastic truly is a treasury of wonderful stories Turns out there's not a dud to be found.”
Fantasy and Science Fiction
"A marvelous mix of classics and rarely seen works, bibliophile's finds and old favorites....a treasury in every sense and a treasure!"
Connie Willis, author of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog
"The fantasy tradition in English and American literature is rich and varied and strange. This is the book to read to find out what you never knew you needed to know."
David G. Hartwell, editor of the Year's Best Fantasy series
It was an absolute delight to see so [many] of these authors collected here and finding new treasures I hadn’t realized really fell into the realm of fantasy.”
Tabitha Perkins, My Shelf Confessions
The Treasury of the Fantastic is truly that, a comprehensive collection of fantastical literature from throughout the many years covering the romanticism era to the early twentieth century.... an exquisitely curated collection....”
The Arched Doorway
The Sword & Sorcery Anthology (with David G. Hartwell)
Heroes and their mighty deeds populate the pages of this delightfully kitschy yet absorbing anthology of sword and sorcery short stories from the 1930s onward. Hartwell and Weisman have selected some of the best short-form work in the genre, starting with the originator, Robert E. Howard, and his tales of Conan the Barbarian. The heroes are tough, savvy, and willing to knock a few heads in to get the job done. The soldier of Glen Cook’s Dread Empire and Fritz Leiber’s Grey Mouser make strong appearances, as does Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné and his dread sword, Stormbringer. Female heroes are as ruthless as their male counterparts: C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry walks through Hell and back to get her revenge, while George R. R. Martin’s Daenerys Stormborn becomes a true queen by outmaneuvering an entire city of slavers. This is an unbeatable selection from classic to modern, and each story brings its A game.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
The 19 stories in this volume span a time period from 1933 to 2012 and provide a strong introduction to this fantasy subgenre.”
Awesome collection, very highly recommended.”
Nerds in Babeland
Superbly presented...reignited this reader’s interest.”
A big, meaty collection of genre highlights that runs the gamut from old-school classics to new interpretations, it serves as an excellent introduction and primer in one.”
Green Man Review
About the Author
Steven Millhauser, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Martin Dressler, has written many novels, and is probably best known for his short stories (The Barnum Museum). He teaches at Skidmore College.
Julia Elliott is the author of a recently published novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch. She has won the Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and Best American Short Stories. She teaches at the University of South Carolina.
Rivka Galchen is a Canadian American writer who received her MD from Mount Sinai and an MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the William Saroyan International Prize. Her short stories have been published in the Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, and the Believer. She is a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award was chosen in 2010 by the New Yorker as one of its 20 Under 40.”
After Deji Bryce Olukotun came to the United States and obtained degrees from Yale and Stanford, he studied at the University of Cape Town with South African writers André Brink, Mike Nicol, Andre Wiesner, and Henrietta Rose-Innes. His novel, Nigerians in Space, was published by Unnamed Press in Los Angeles. Olukotun’s fiction and nonfiction has been published by Slate, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, PEN America, the London Magazine, and Electric Literature.
Jonathan Lethem began his career writing science fiction. His first novel, Gun with Occasional Music, merges science-fiction tropes with those of hardboiled detective novels. He later found his home in literary fiction, winning the National Book Critics Circle Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He has written nine novels to date, including Motherless Brooklyn, and The Fortress of Solitude. He was born and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Jami Attenberg has written four novels: The Kept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, and, most recently, Saint Mazie. The Middlesteins was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. Attenberg has written essays about television, sex, technology, and other topics, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, and other publications.
Brian Evenson’s work, including Immobility, Last Days, The Open Curtain, Dark Property, and Altmann’s Tongue, skirts the boundary between horror and literature. Evenson has received the O. Henry Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and the American Library Association’s RUSA Award for Best Horror Novel. He has also been nominated for the Edgar Award and four times for the Shirley Jackson Award. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Junot Díaz is the author of Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and PEN/O. Henry Award. The fiction editor at Boston Review, Díaz is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Max Apple has been writing short stories (most recent collection The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories, novels (Zip, The Propheteers), and screenplays (Roommates, The Air Up There) for the last forty years. He still teaches for the University of Pennsylvania.
Amiri Baraka, who has also written as LeRoi Jones, was the Poet Laureate of New Jersey. Baraka has written poetry, plays, fiction, essays and musical criticism. Widely known as a revolutionist and political activist he is the winner of the PEN Open Book Award for Tales of the Out & the Gone.
J. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections, Pieces for the Left Hand and See You in Paradise, and seven novels, including Mailman, Familiar, and Happyland. He teaches writing at Cornell University.
Eric Puchner is the author of the story collection Music Through the Floor and the novel Model Home, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and won the California Book Award Silver Medal for best work of fiction. He is an assistant professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.
Karen Heuler has published more than eighty stories in a variety of literary and science-fiction magazines, including the Alaska Quarterly Review, Clarkesworld, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Boston Review, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Weird Tales, and Daily Science Fiction. She has published four novels and two short-story collections, and has received the O. Henry Award and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, among many others. Heuler lives in New York City with her dog, Philip K. Dick, and her cats, Jane Austin and Charlotte Brontë.
W. P. Kinsella is the author of Shoeless Joe, famously adapted into the film Field of Dreams. His other novels include The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, Box Socials, and Butterfly Winter. He has also published more than a dozen-and- a-half collections, most recently The Essential W. P. Kinsella. Widely considered one of the greatest fiction writers about baseball, Kinsella is as well known in his native Canada for his award-winning and controversial First Nation stories, humorous and gritty tales of the complex lives of indigenous Canadians. He currently lives near Vancouver.
Molly Gloss writes literary fiction, westerns, and occasionally science fiction. Her novels include Outside the Gates, The Jump-Off Creek, The Dazzle of Day, Wild Life, The Hearts of Horses, and Falling from Horses. Gloss has received the Whiting and James Tiptree, Jr., awards, as well as the Oregon Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
Chris Tarry’s debut story collection, How to Carry Bigfoot Home, was released last year from Red Hen Press. Tarry is one of New York’s most-sought-after bass players and has won four JUNO and Canadian Independent Music awards. His fiction has appeared in the Literary Review, On Spec, Grain, the G. W. Review, PANK, Bull Men’s Fiction, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere. In 2011, he was a finalist in FreeFall magazine’s annual prose and poetry competition, and most recently, his story Here Be Dragons” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Tarry holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Kelly Luce has a degree in cognitive science. She lived and worked in Japan and received fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, Kerouac Project, and others. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Salon, O, and the Southern Review, among others. She recently received her MFA in writing and works as a contributing editor for Electric Literature. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
A converted screenwriter, Ben Loory has published a collection of short stories, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, and a children’s book, The Baseball Player and the Walrus. He has an MFA in screenwriting and teaches at UCLA Extension. He has also appeared on This American Life.
Robert Olen Butler’s first collection of short stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Among his other honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, two National Magazine Awards in fiction, and the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award for outstanding contributions to American culture by a Vietnam veteran. He has published sixteen novels, most recently The Empire of Night, as well as six collections of short fiction.
George Saunders is one of America’s leading satirists. Before becoming a writer, he was a geophysicist in Sumatra. His work includes CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, In Persuasion Nation, and Tenth of December: Stories. Saunders has won many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Story Prize, the Folio Prize, the PEN/Hemingway, the PEN/Malamud, National Magazine, and World Fantasy awards. A regular contributor to the New Yorker and GQ, his work has appeared in the series Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, O.Henry Prize Stories, and Best American Science Fiction.
Katherine Dunn is best known for her novel Geek Love, a National Book Award finalist, and the novels Attic and Truck. She is considered one of the best journalists on boxing in America today, and she received the Dorothea LangePaul Taylor Award for her work School of Hard Knocks: The Struggle for Survival in America’s Toughest Boxing Gyms. Her long-awaited fourth novel, The Cut Man, has yet to be released, but a part of it appears in the Paris Review under the title Rhonda Discovers Art.” Dunn currently teaches creative writing at Pacific University in Oregon.
Editor Jacob Weisman is the publisher at Tachyon Publications, which he founded in 1995. He has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award three times for his work at Tachyon and is the series editor of Tachyon’s Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and Shirley Jackson Awardwinning novella line.
Top customer reviews
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As I had hoped, the stories by George Saunders, Jonathan Lethem, W.P. Kinsella, and Steven Millhauser, (the writers I know and like the best), stood out from the crowd. To me the Saunders story in particular was worth the whole rest of the book. It exhibited the precise and yet almost offhand satire and the touchingly human grace notes that I most admire in his best work. Lethem's story was more unfocused, but was certainly loaded with the sharp, writerly bits that make him so interesting. Millhauser wrote another faux historical tale of a marginal artist, along the lines of Borges, and even though I still prefer Borges I'm always drawn in to Millhauser's odd and unnervingly real fictions.
There's a sample from Junot Diaz, who seems to be the sort of writer you either adore or don't warm to, and I imagine readers' reactions to his piece would follow that pattern. The rest of the authors were more or less new to me, and while there wasn't any single, sustained, stand out, there were some intriguing ideas, nicely executed, and some entertaining larks, that made the stories worthwhile. Some of the stories are distinguished by style, some by humor, some by premise, some by their settings - but most all of them were worth a look.
So, a nice sampler, with a few stable anchors. As to the "literary" angle, well, I was willing to think of this as a collection of sci-fi and speculative fiction by writers who don't usually try that genre. Whether the works were somehow more "literary" is an open question that only you can decide. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
A few authors have been able to commonly do both (interestingly, those that immediately come to mind are all women--Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, James Tiptree, Jr/Alice Sheldon). But in "Invaders" we have a collection of stories from "literary" writers not normally known for science fiction taking a shot at a one or another sci-fi trope, e.g. an alien encounter, a post-apocalyptic world, a society where the lines between the technological and human have become blurred.
The difference between these stories and most other science fiction stories is apparent. Much is packed into a plot of the conventional sci-fi story. The reader is propelled along by an impulse to know "What happens next?" If one were to sketch out what happens in the stories collected in "Invaders," one who find the lines to be very simple. For instance, Molly Gloss' contribution is of a shepherd who discovers an alien who has been regularly visiting the backcountry where she tends her herd. Nothing much happens between them. But that's not from whence pleasure in reading the story comes. It comes, rather, in the whole pastorally elegiac tone in which she enwraps the encounter. Likewise, Katherine Dunn writes of a lonely woman who has invested in robots to serve as her sexual companions. But her story ultimately becomes a meditation on the complications of intimacy--bringing a different sensibility to the premise than, say, a Robert Heinlein would bring to it.
For the most part, the stories contained in "Invaders" are all satisfying, although I felt W.P. Kinsella's story of a professional sports mascot who was actually an alien NOT in disguise felt more like a throwaway, and Amiri Baraka's contribution ended so abruptly I honestly thought the book was missing a couple of pages. I'd gladly recommend this book to others, especially those who ordinarily shun science fiction as not worth their time.
So, although it may have some misses, I think this anthology may appeal to speculative fiction fans and literary fiction fans alike.