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Dear Sweet Filthy World Hardcover – March 31, 2017
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From the Inside Flap
What exactly is the difference between a love letter and a suicide note? Is there really any difference at all? These might be the questions posed by Dear Sweet Filthy World, Caitln R. Kiernan's fourteenth collection of short fiction, comprised of twenty-eight uncollected and impossible-to-find stories. Treading the grim places where desire and destruction, longing and horror intersect, the author rises once again to meet the high expectations she set with such celebrated collections as Tales of Pain and Wonder, To Charles Fort, With Love, and the World Fantasy Award-winning The Ape's Wife and Other Stories. In these pages you'll meet a dragon's lover, a drowned vampire cursed always to ride the tides, a wardrobe that grants wishes, and a lunatic artist's marriage of the Black Dahlia and the Beast of Gvaudan. You'll visit a ruined post-industrial Faerie, travel back to tropical Paleozoic seas and ahead to the far-flung future, and you'll meet a desperate writer forced to sell her memories for new ideas. Here are twenty-eight tales of apocalypse and rebirth, of miraculous transformation and utter annihilation. Here is the place where professing your undying devotion might be precisely the same thing as signing your own death warrantor worse. The stories in Dear Sweet Filthy World were first published in the subscription-only Sirenia Digest, run by Caitln for her most devoted readers. This publication marks the first availability to the general public for most of these rare tales.
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Top Customer Reviews
I could tell you it is a land bordered by dangerous women prowling the interstates of America; one has a head stuffed with visions of conflagrations at Dresden and Hiroshima and Peshtigo and Chicago; two are incestuous twins in a roving church of murder and sex, orgasmic rites with knives and pliers.
Should I tell you of the caged woman unsure if she was once a dragon?
Should I tell you of lovers found in the liminal lands between earth and sea, one a demon from the sky and one a creature of the Earth?
Should I tell you of the women who give themselves in orgasmic embrace to giant trilobites and Cthulhoid monsters and giant orchids and dragons, willing lambs to ecstatic slaughter?
Should I tell you that I saw Mr. Lovecraft’s shoggoths and heard howling werewolves? That I saw the savage art of the Black Dahlia murder?
Should I tell you of the names I heard whispered: Dickens and Shakespeare, Giger and the Campbells Joseph and Ramsey, Neko Case and Charles Fort, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Robert Frost, and Rob Bottin?
Should I tell you that in the abyss of this world’s seas are vampires and dryads?
Should I tell you of the cities of this world, a coal-blackened, fairyland London or something like a New York City where fairies and goblins trade amnesia for art?
Should I tell you of the woman filled with microscopic cities?
Should I tell you of a dildo disappearing into an invisible lover or of the artist cursed and bound by his model?
Should I tell you of all the women sacrificed in future carnivals and future forests and on seashores?
Should I tell you of woman wishing to be cocooned like an insect?
Should I tell you of the echo of this world’s sea in the blood of so many, of the terror and transformation it brings?
Should I tell you of the Hell of regret and guilt and its shadowy guards?
I could tell you of these things, but I would be telling you only about the bones of theme and imagery, the ligament marks of plot. You would be as close to understanding as a Victorian paleontologist and his chunky reconstruction of a T. Rex. He would not know the grace and the movements of the monster. You would not know the grace and movement and articulations of the Dirty Sweet Filthy World.
I could suggest that these fervent couplings with the Other, whether sterile mergings or consequential in birthing monsters to devour our future, these exchanges of bodily fluids, human with alien, are artesianal oozings from a dark and bitter and deep human well seeking racial extinction.
I could suggest that the weaving streams of narrative, the fault lines where universes grind against each other in dislocations of setting and persona, where the boundaries between observer and participant crumble and mix, where stories end in sheer cliffs of insinuation or playfulness, are traces of Kiernan’s mind birthing this world under pressure of deadlines, jagged and raw orogenies not always covered by accretions of revisions and convention or eroded by editorial suggestion.
Should I tell you these things? Should I suggest these things?
I have told you these things. I do suggest these things.
But I cannot tell you if you should enter the Dear Sweet Filthy World.
It’s a variegated land. I cannot tell you if you will find beauty or obscenity, verities of destruction and creation, or nacreous decadence.
[Review copy provided by Netgalley.]