Similar authors to follow
See more recommendations
About John Kessel
A writer of erudite comic and satiric short fiction, Kessel received the Nebula Award for his early novella "Another Orphan", a fantasy about a commodities broker who awakes one morning to find himself trapped in the novel Moby Dick, and for "Pride and Prometheus", in which Mary Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice meets Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein. His short fiction has been collected in three volumes, Meeting In Infinity (which contains "Another Orphan"), The Pure Product, and The Baum Plan for Financial Independence (which contains "Pride and Prometheus").
Kessel has published five novels: "Freedom Beach" (with James Patrick Kelly), "Good News from Outer Space," "Corrupting Dr. Nice" (which writer Kim Stanley Robinson has called, "the best time travel novel ever written"), "The Moon and the Other," and "Pride and Prometheus" (an expansion of his Nebula-Award winning story).
Kessel's story "A Clean Escape" was dramatized as the first episode of the 2007 ABC TV series Masters of Science Fiction, starring Sam Waterston and Judy Davis. Though he's taken time out to write plays and perform a role in the independent film "The Delicate Art of the Rifle," Kessel teaches literature and creative writing at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is married to Therese Anne Fowler, author of the best-selling "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald."
Customers Also Bought Items By
Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein as Mary Bennet falls for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriends his monstrous Creature in this clever fusion of two popular classics.
Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. As Mary and Victor become increasingly attracted to each other, the Creature looks on impatiently, waiting for his bride. But where will Victor find a female body from which to create the monster’s mate?
Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her.
Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.
“Charming, sexy.” —The Washington Post
John Kessel, one of the most visionary writers in the field, has created a rich matriarchal utopia, set in the near future on the moon, a society that is flawed by love and sex, and on the brink of a destructive civil war.
In the middle of the twenty-second century, over three million people live in underground cities below the moon’s surface. One city-state, the Society of Cousins, is a matriarchy, where men are supported in any career choice, but no right to vote—and tensions are beginning to flare as outside political intrigues increase.
After participating in a rebellion that caused his mother’s death, Erno has been exiled from the Society of Cousins. Now, he is living in the Society’s rival colony, Persepolis, when he meets Amestris, the defiant daughter of the richest man on the moon.
Mira, a rebellious loner in the Society, creates graffiti videos that challenge the Society’s political domination. She is hopelessly in love with Carey, the exemplar of male privilege. An Olympic champion in low-gravity martial arts and known as the most popular bedmate in the Society, Carey’s more suited to being a boyfriend than a parent, even as he tries to gain custody of his teenage son.
When the Organization of Lunar States sends a team to investigate the condition of men in the Society, Erno sees an opportunity to get rich, Amestris senses an opportunity to escape from her family, Mira has a chance for social change, and Carey can finally become independent of the matriarchy that considers him a perpetual adolescent. But when Society secrets are revealed, the first moon war erupts, and everyone must decide what is truly worth fighting for.
Cyberpunk is dead. The revolution has been co-opted by half-assed heroes, overclocked CGI, and tricked-out shades. Once radical, cyberpunk is now nothing more than a brand.
Time to stop flipping the channel.
These sixteen extreme stories reveal a government ninja routed by a bicycle repairman, the inventor of digitized paper hijacked by his college crush, a dead boy trapped in a warped storybook paradise, and the queen of England attacked with the deadliest of forbidden technology: a working modem. You'll meet Manfred Macx, renegade meme-broker, Red Sonja, virtual reality sex-goddess, and Felix, humble sys-admin and post-apocalyptic hero.
Editors James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel (Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology) have united cyberpunk visionaries William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Pat Cadigan with the new post-cyberpunk vanguard, including Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, and Jonathan Lethem. Including a canon-establishing introduction and excerpts from a hotly contested online debate, Rewired is the first anthology to define and capture the crackling excitement of the post-cyberpunks.
From the grittiness of Mirrorshades to the Singularity and beyond, it's time to revive the revolution.
Dr. Owen Vannice is far too unworldly and far too rich for his own good. A fabulously wealthy paleontologist who has just spent the last year, not to mention billions of the family fortune, doing research in the Cretaceous period, he now finds himself stranded in the Holy City with a rapidly growing baby dinosaur in tow.
Simon is a disillusioned disciple whose master has been kidnapped uptime by colonists from the future. Now he works for the exploitative crosstime corporation which has turned his timeline into a tourist trap, complete with luxury hotels and junkets to countless versions of the Crucifixion.
When a desperate act of sabotage brings them all together, their lives are drastically transformed, for Genevieve is falling in love with "Dr. Nice" against her better judgment, and is even willing to double-cross her father to protect him. But even that isn't enough, for Dr. Nice is losing his innocence, while Simon and his revolutionary zealots seek to drive out the invaders from the future.
Skillfully interweaving screwball comedy with the paradoxes of time travel and satirical social commentary, Corrupting Dr. Nice is, in the tradition of its Hollywood forbears, a love story, one that is at the same time serious and funny, sweet-natured and cynical—sophisticated speculative fiction by an award-winning modern master.
"Lucid, humane, and mercilessly funny, Corrupting Dr. Nice is a peach. If there could be great date books like there are great date movies, this would be one. Dr. Kessel's self-deceiving lovers strive against a painstakingly realized social backdrop—in this case, one that also happens to be the ultimate metaphor for post-modernism. Brilliant." —Jonathan Lethem
"Brilliantly intelligent, light-handed, and warm-hearted—a dazzler." —Ursula K. Le Guin
"Time travel yarns have been a science fiction staple since the early days of the genre, but have worn a bit thin in recent years. Now John Kessel breathes new life into the sub-genre with his latest novel. Corrupting Dr. Nice follows a pair of hapless lovers from ancient Jerusalem to the twenty-first century in a deft homage to the 1941 Preston Sturges romantic comedy, The Lady Eve. Like Sturges, Kessel uses his deluded characters' antics as a vehicle for wicked observations on media saturation, consumer culture, and postmodern looniness . . . Corrupting Dr. Nice is suffused with gentle good humor. Kessel treats his characters with warmth and compassion even while he's putting them through the wringer." —The San Francisco Chronicle
Kessel is one of the most acclaimed speculative fiction writers of his generation, winner of the Nebula, James Tiptree, Sturgeon, and Shirley Jackson Awards and author of the apocalyptic satire Good News from Outer Space and the screwball comedy time travel story Corrupting Dr. Nice. The Collected Kessel contains forty-two stories, never before gathered into a single volume, spanning Kessel’s entire career, from the 1982 Nebula Award winning novella “Another Orphan” to the 2008 Nebula Award winning novelette “Pride and Prometheus.” In addition, Kessel has written brand new story notes to accompany each of these stories.
Find out what happens when Victor Frankenstein meets Mary Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Visit the Society of Cousins, a utopian lunar colony where men have all the privilege and women all the power. in "Invaders," witness the arrival of aliens from space who come to earth from across the galaxy seeking cocaine. Join an idealistic monk on a desperate mission to liberate his planet in the far-future space opera, "Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance." Time travel back to classic Hollywood for encounters with Orson Welles, Preston Sturges, and Marilyn Monroe. By turns funny, satirical, tragic, wry, and witty, Kessel's stories challenge the mind and the heart.
“John Kessel is one of American SF’s finest writers.”
--Nick Gevers, Locus magazine
"Kessel is our American Brian Aldiss, capable of the most artful and rigorous literary composition, but with a mischievious genius that inclines him toward speculative fiction . . . he writes with subtlety and great wit . . . and his craftmanship is frequently absolutely brilliant. Plus, his sense of comedy is remarkable."
(about Corrupting Dr. Nice):
"Superbly funny (and I mean falling-off-the-chair funny), with witty, crackling dialogue and a plot that grabs you round the throat and won't let go, there's also a distinctly vicious anti-American satirical thread which could only come from an insider (and only gains from its understatement); like all True Comedy, there's a serious and dark edge which never overwhelms, only underpins."
--Chris Terran, Matrix (U.K.)
"These are stories that liberate the mind, which of course is what escapism is all about."
--Gerald Jonas, New York Times Book Review
George Eberhardt is dead . . . or was, The newsnet he works for has illegally revived him. But he finds himself examining the sensationalist stories he's been reporting for evidence that there are Aliens Among Us. Lucy, George's wife, loses her job for her role in reviving him, and finds herself abandoned and consorting with radical revolutionaries. The Reverend Jimmy-Don Gilray's Zion Tribulation Hour brings in millions of dollars and legions of converts every day, predicting that Christ will come again at the stroke of midnight on the last day of the year to judge the living and the dead. George's best friend Richard Shrike, who believes in nothing, plays con games with serious drugs. Meanwhile, a range of ordinary people across the U.S. undergo encounters with strangers who offer them sudden and miraculous escape.
Good News From Outer Space is a wild, dark, comic ride across a fragmented America as the millennium approaches and dreams of redemption or damnation seem only days away.
"Kessel's darkly comic vision is whackily funny, brilliantly cruel, and joltingly powerful--like Silly Putty cut with high-tech plastic explosive. This book does things I didn't believe were possible."
--Bruce Sterling, author of Holy Fire
"A very funny book. Kessel is a deft parodist, and his wacky WEEKLY WORLD NEWS world is full of clever takeoffs . . . but even the zaniest stuff has barbs underneath . . . at one level it is also a very serious book."
-New York Review of Science Fiction
"Simply the best science fiction novel of the year."
-New York Daily News
"Pride and Prometheus," a story in The Baum Plan for Financial Independence involving characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, is winner of the 2008 Nebula award for Best Novelette.
A long-awaited collection of fourteen stories that intersect imaginatively with Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, and Flannery O’Connor. Kessel, whose story "A Clean Escape" was filmed as part of ABC's Masters of Science Fiction, ranges through genres with a lean, graceful style that incorporates everything from future autobiography, alternate history, phone sex, perpetual motion, and his modern classic sequence of four stories about life on the moon.
"In his first collection in a decade, Kessel jumps from place to place like a jolty time machine. In "Pride and Prometheus," Frankenstein and Jane Austen intersect in an uncanny Victorian tale of unrequited love, while "A Lunar Quartet" introduces a matriarchal, hypersexual moon colony in the future. But as a group, these stories offer a sustained exploration of the ways gender dynamics can both empower and enslave us. Kessel's wit sparkles throughout, peaking with the most uproariously weird phone-sex conversation you'll ever read ("The Red Phone")." A-
"Anyone who thinks genre writing can’t be literary deserves to have Kessel’s hefty new collection of stories dropped on his or her head."
—Time Out Chicago
"Dark, wacky, wide-ranging short stories."
"A pleasant callback to the days when science-fiction authors read more than just science fiction."
—The Seattle Stranger
"Kessel's blend of dark humor and reality-stretching scenarios is consistently mesmerizing."
"These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch."
"Kessel proves himself again a master not just of science fiction, but also of the modern short story, crafting compelling characters and following them through plots that never fail to please—or to defy prediction."
"One of the best collections of the year."
"Kessel is a deft stylist and a master of all his tools, whose range is nearly limitless."
"John Kessel's writing exists at the edge of things, in the dark corner where the fiction section abuts the science-fiction shelves, in the hyphen where magic meets realism. Reading Kessel's wonderful fabulations is like staying out too late partying and seeing strange angels while stumbling home in the dawn's first light. This is one of those too rare short story collections that you can recommend with confidence to both the literary snob and the hard-core computer geek."
—Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore, Asheville, NC
"Invest. Invest now…. Your returns will be multitudinous."
John Kessel co-directs the creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
Set against the same background as Kessel's novel Corrupting Dr. Nice, the stories in "Some LIke It Cold" are mysterious, satirical, darkly comic looks at classic Hollywood in all its glory and exploitation. And they present vivid portraits of three of classic film's greatest figures: Marilyn Monroe, Preston Sturges, and Orson Welles.
"Kessel's writing, which recalls the best of such cutting-edge authors as Norman Spinrad and Philip K. Dick, while retaining its own acidic elegance of style, is nothing less than brilliant."
"Witty, daring and intelligent, Kessel produces some of the best science fiction in the genre."
“John Kessel is one of American SF’s finest writers . . . Occasionally dashing into whimsy, but in general employing a finely calculated combination of realism and satire, Kessel constructs stories of subversive eloquence, their full freight of meaning exploding in the mind a while after reading has ended.”
—Nick Gevers, Locus