Ant King and Other Stories
August 5, 2008
Trade paper · $16 · 9781931520539
-- Mail Order
Trade cloth · $24 · 9781931520522
-- Mail Order
dazzling, postmodern debut collection of pulp and surreal fictions:
a writer of alternate histories defends his patron's zeppelin
against assassins and pirates; a woman transforms into hundreds
of gumballs; an emancipated children's collective goes house
"Lively, bizarre, and
funny as well as dark, sinister, and sensual."
and striking imagery throughout—a woman in love with an
elephant, an orange that ruled the world—this collection
is a surrealistic wonderland."
Table of Contents
Ant King: A California Fairy Tale
The Valley of Giants
Notes to 'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes',
by Benjamin Rosenbaum
the Cliff by the River
Book of Jashar
House Beyond Your Sky
Red Leather Tassels
Sense and Sensibility
Siege of Cranes
* "Give him
some prizes, like, perhaps, "best first collection" for
—Booklist (Starred review)
he’s capable of sustained fantasy with "Biographical Notes,"
a steampunkish alternate history of aerial piracy, and "A Siege
of Cranes," a fantasy about a battle between a human insurgent
and the White Witch that carries decidedly modern undercurrents....
Perhaps none of the tales is odder than "Orphans," in which
"Imagine Borges and Dali
hanging out at Pee Wee Herman's playhouse, and you have a brief inkling
of what Rosenbaum's fiction is like. The Ant King and Other Stories
is Rosenbaum’s debut collection of short fiction, which features
pieces have been that have nominated for genre awards, and have appeared
in a slew of venues, from Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and
McSweeney's. The content ranges from postmodern fables, flash
fiction, pulp fiction, all told in precise and distinctive, if not
exactly poetic, prose. The imagery—which is what propels the
stories as much as plot—is always startling and surrealistic.
Rosenbaum mixes literary forms and narrative styles like a DJ."
"A terrific range of tales,
showcasing an active, playful mind and a gleeful genre-blender."
"Ben Rosenbaum is one of
the freshest and finest voices to appear in science fiction in many
years. The stories collected in The Ant King demonstrate
his astonishing versatility, his marvelous imagination, and his ready
"But among our most interesting
writers today one finds a growing number—Kelly Link, Elizabeth
Hand, Aimee Bender, Jonathan Lethem, Benjamin Rosenbaum—working
the boundary: "sometimes drawing the line," as Hyde writes
of Trickster, "sometimes crossing it, sometimes erasing or moving
it, but always there," in the borderlands among regions on the
map of fiction." —Michael Chabon, Maps and Lagends
"Rosenbaum's fertile sense
of invention and his sly humor ("Ponge, as its inhabitants will
tell you, is a thoroughly unattractive city. 'Well,' they always say
at the mention of any horrible news, 'we do live in Ponge.'")
make these parables a real treat."
"Throughout Other Cities,
compressed insight and wonder are compressed into but a handful
of words. This small book's crisp design and illustrations mirror
the elegance of the writing: recommended."
"I enthusiastically urge
you to get a copy and enjoy the exciting and odd metropolises in Other
Science Fiction Association Journal
"And though the stories are
tiny, they do not disappoint as a result of their brevity. When you
leave one fantastic destination behind, there is another city right
around the corner."
Cities by Ben Rosenbaum is a collection of fourteen gems, expertly
cut and highly polished. Each contains, within its myriad facets,
a metropolis, brimming with mystery, insight and wonder."
— Jeffrey Ford (The Girl in the Glass)
little book of cities is like a box of very good chocolates, picked
out by a dear friend with an intimate understanding of both confectionary
and you. These vignettes are urbane without being arch, sweet without
being maudlin, mysterious without being cryptic. Cities are the pinnacle
of human acheivment: if you have any doubt, read this."
—Cory Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and
A Place So Foreign and Eight More)
Rosenbaum's miniature stories are like tiny arrows aimed straight
at the heart of Mystery."
— Walter Jon Williams (Dread Empire's Fall: The Praxis)
and poignancy of each of these stories astonished me. "The City
of Peace," alone, is enough to make one weep. But when read as
a whole, Other Cities is not only harrowing, but exhilarating.
It's a fearless exploration into both the heart of darkness and the
soul of hope. Here, despair and joy are neither opposites nor antagonists
-- but husband and wife, brother and sister, yin and yang. In these
Cities of Humanity, you won't meet one without meeting the other."
— Bradley Denton (One Day Closer to Death: Eight Stabs at
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