When the apocalypse has come and gone, life still goes on for the survivors struggling to adapt to the new normal.
In a drowned world, the descendants of surface dwellers remember the cities that were lost, the inhabitants of ocean floor colonies cling to outmoded customs and scavengers search the flooded ruins for anything that might be of use. In a world ravaged by droughts, two college students come face to face with how the other half lives. A lone explorer traverses the icy wasteland that used to be Europe. A group of children travels across a zombie-infested America in search of shelter and safety. After a robot uprising, a police officer is assigned to clean-up duties and finds an unexpected miracle among the ruins. And in a world blasted by electromagnetic solar storms, a nineteenth century technology suddenly becomes the sole means of long distance communication.
This collection contains eight stories of life after the apocalypse of 24500 words or approximately 85 print pages altogether.
"Richard Barham Middleton (1882-1911) was an English poet and author who is remembered mostly for his short ghost stories, of which 'The Ghost Ship', 'On the Brighton Road' and 'The Coffin Merchant' are the most famous.Middleton suffered from severe depression for much of his life (then known as melancholia) and committed suicide by poisoning himself with chloroform at the age of 29. The Ghost ShipThe ConjurerOn the Brighton RoadThe Coffin MerchantThe Cry of a CenturyThe Last Adventure"
The Black Boxer Tales, first published in 1932, H. E. Bates's third collection displays a growing emphasis on plot and characterisation, while amply displaying his established skill at creating plotless atmospheric pieces.
Several stories explore a sense of a new and changing world of carnivals, economic challenges and traveling performers.
The title story, 'The Black Boxer' is an intricate portrait of an aging boxer told against the backdrop of the colourful social lives of carnival workers. Having beaten a fighter twenty years his junior with a foul cut below the belt, he is left 'tired and stupefied and ashamed' in Bates's sensitive exploration of the human condition.
Bates condsidered this tale, along with 'Charlotte Esmond', also in this collection, as accomplishing his difficult transition from a focus on mood to a focus on character, thereby projecting him 'into a new world' which he is clearly relishing and mastering.
The rest of the collection is a thoughtful contrast portraying the landscape and people familiar from his previous Midlands tales, with themes of children and youth in 'A Flower Piece' and 'Death in Spring', farmland settings in 'The Mower' and 'Sheep', and looking at innocent and not-so-innocent flirtations in 'A Threshing Day for Esther' and 'Love Story' respectively.
Additionally, as a bonus story never before featured in any collection, 'The Laugh' (1926) is one of Bates's early comic tales set in his trademark rural locale with charming dialect and witty, sensitive prose. The story follows a young man, the pending visit of his rich aunt, and a sweetheart who tests his love.
The Spectator calls him 'a sensitive observer, with a quick eye for significant gesture, a tender imagination, and a sure way with words,' while the Times Literary Supplement comments on his 'mastery of both matter and manner.'
Prize-winning author Benjamin Hale's fiction abounds with a love of language and a wild joy for storytelling. In prose alternately stark, lush and hallucinatory, occasionally nightmarish and often absurd, the seven stories in this collection are suffused with fear and desire, introducing us to a company of indelible characters reeling with love, jealousy, megalomania, and despair.As in his debut novel, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, the voices in these stories speak from the margins: a dominatrix whose longtime client, a U.S. congressman, drops dead during a tryst in a hotel room; an addict in precarious recovery who lands a job driving a truck full of live squid; a heartbroken performance artist who attempts to eat himself to death as a work of art. From underground radicals hiding in Morocco to an aging hippy in Colorado in the summer before 9/11 to a young drag queen in New York at the cusp of the AIDS crisis, these stories rove freely across time and place, carried by haunting, peculiar narratives that form the vast tapestry of American life.
Short stories about the universal need to be loved, from “a quietly gorgeous writer” (The New York Times Book Review). In “Pelican Song,” a thirty-year-old modern dancer who moonlights as a movie ticket taker visits her parent’s picturesque home to discover that her stepfather has begun mistreating her too-accommodating mother. “Horse” follows maladjusted honeymooners in Atlantic City whose romantic weekend is saved from emotional catastrophe. A holiday in New York City turns from shopping sprees to a young girl’s sharp discovery of her father’s secret life in “Rome.” With an elegant blend of humor and pathos, Mary-Beth Hughes captures the turning points in relationships that make us wonder how well we really know those we love. Double Happiness is a revealing meditation on the fragility of contentment and the lengths we must go to in order to sustain it, and “[an] intensely moving collection” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). “Excellent.” —The New Yorker
An expedition to Mars discovers the remains of an advanced civilization, which died out many thousands of years ago. They recovered books and documents left behind, and are puzzled by their contents. Would the team find their “Rosetta Stone” that would allow them to unlock the Martian language, and learn the secrets of this long-dead race? (Summary by Mark Nelson)
"This is the first fiction collection from Garton…his writing is compelling." -- Publishers WeeklyRay Garton exposes himself as a master storyteller in METHODS OF MADNESS, with six stories centered on the psychotic, twisted deviations in human nature. Anchored by the riveting short novel, "Dr. Krusadian's Method," Garton's style is so real, so believable, he could be describing people you encounter every day. The couple upstairs, your neighbors and relatives, maybe even your own husband or wife. What kind of madness is really played out behind their shuttered windows? Also features the stories "Fat," "Active Member," Something Kinky," "Sinema," and Shock Radio." This is Ray Garton at his terrifying best."Garton is on his way to becoming a major name in any field he works in." -- Joe R. Lansdale
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