and Other Familiar Faces
or send a check or a money order using this
in the Small Beer Press chapbook
series is Foreigners, and Other Familiar Faces -- written
and illustrated by Wisconsin writer Mark Rich. Each of the nine
stories (three of which are published here for the first time)
is illustrated by Mark.
"This chapbook of nine stories by Mark
Rich offers a fine selection of some truly
imaginative fiction. The stories fall open without warning,
speaking their own languages with unfamiliar cadence, insisting
that you give them your full attention if you plan to attend
to them at all. Mark Rich has a little bit of Richard Brautigan
in him, something magical in his sentences that charms, even
when you don't understand where they are taking you. My love
affair with fiction has become complicated since I finished
grad school, and I am heartened when I discover stories that
remind me of the inherent beauty of language, and the way it
can sparkle when used in the right hands (his are the right
"There is some interesting
stuff here. He seems to do best with stories that involve gardening."
-- A Reader's Guide
to the Underground Press, no.20
"Rich's confident and
compact prose is spiked with sci-fi quirks that veer in unexpected
but ever-rewarding directions."
-- Broken Pencil no.23
Mrs. Hewitt's Tulips
Ashes of Penis Thrown to Sea
Kiss of The Wood Woman
On the Collection of Humans
"Speculative fiction as it
should be, without fear of boundaries or consideration of catagories.
Each story is absolutely true to itself and utterly unique."
-- Richard Bowes
"Mark Rich is the only writer
in existence who can make my mouth fall open."
-- Michael Kandel
"Humor, surrealism, a unique
world view -- Mark Rich's short fiction is refreshing, original,
and wonderfully written. Any new Mark Rich collection is highly
-- Jeff VanderMeer
is Mark Rich?
Is he A) The jaunty, offbeat stories of
Mark Rich have appeared since the 1980s in venues ranging from
small humor and literary zines to the slick pages of science fiction
monthlies. Since the appearance of his first collection of stores,
Lifting (Wordcraft of Oregon, 1991), he has published three
books about toys, including the dictionary-style compendium Toys
A to Z (Krause Publications, 2001). He writes a multitude
of columns about toy history for collecting magazines, pens the
occasional drawing, such as the ones found in this chapbook, and
leads the rock band Mad Melancholy Monkey Mind, which performs
in the central Wisconsin area where he makes his home with partner
and fellow musician Martha Borchardt. They have no pets.
Is he B) Mark Rich first wrote stories
as a child in Colorado in the 1960s. He began publishing occasional
poems and reviews in newspapers and zines in his teens, and started
two speculative poetry zines before entering college. In some
ways, entering college meant the end to his early writing efforts,
although he did win a poetry prize and edited the campus newspaper
during this time. He earned a degree in music from Beloit College
in 1980. In the early 1980s he made his income from a combination
of music, artwork, and writing, more the first two than the last;
and as a secretary and occasional house painter and cleaning person.
His income never rose above the poverty level for fifteen years.
In the '80s he co-founded The Magazine of Speculative Poetry,
with Roger Dutcher; managed the Turtle Creek Food Co-op in
Beloit, Wis.; worked parttime as editorial assistant and arts
reviewer for the Beloit Daily News; participated in local
art exhibits, with awards including a Juror's Award in a regional
show; and formed the short-lived bands Auto Da Fe and the Glass
Doves. His first collection of short stories, Lifting,
appeared in 1991 from David Memmott's press, Wordcraft of Oregon.
Though a small book, it won the Leslie Cross award from the Council
of Wisconsin Writers. Afterwards his fiction began appearing in
the professional press, beginning with Amazing Stories
and Bantam anthology Full Spectrum 4. In the mid-1990s
he became a regular contributor to Analog; and he published
the letters-oriented zine Kornblume: Kornbluthiana, focusing
on the life and works of Cyril Kornbluth. In the late 1990s, he
began contributing columns about toy collecting and toy history
to collecting magazines, and since then has published three books
on toy history. In 2001 he established the band Mad Melancholy
Monkey Mind with his partner in life and music, Martha Borchardt.
The band's first CD, Drive, appeared in 2002. Now a five-piece
ensemble, the band performs in the central Wisconsin area.
Or C) Mark Rich's life has been largely
unsatisfactory, from the point of view of those who measure accomplishment
by the bottom results of a balance sheet. He has, however, provided
some help to a few prairie plants and miscellaneous amphibians;
has published a few verses; has published a few drawings; has
bought people a few beers; has put together and taken apart a
few bands; has published a great number of photographs, mostly
of toys; has published hundreds of thousands of words about toys;
has helped out a few souls in meager literary ways; has published
a few stories; has published a few books; has published a little
literary criticism; has rescued a few earthworms; has cooked some
good meals; has mixed some fine classic martinis; has drunk some
excellent beers; has gone on some excellent walks; has provided
a source of worry to his family; has read some good books; has
grown a few longs hairs; and has grown a few gray hairs. This
is his second collection of short stories.
Or some combination. Or all three. Or something
Here's his website,
where you can find out more about the man, the music, the toys,
oh yes, the toys.
Mark's art was featured in LCRW
11 and on the cover of LCRW
5. His short story, "Delivery", appeared in LCRW
Mark's been writing for years, and has been published
in Tales of the Unanticipated, Analog,
Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Age, The Silver Web, Keen Science
Fiction, Plot, Palace Corbie, Nova 5, and
the anthologies The Year's Best Science
Fiction: Eleventh Annual Collection, Universe 3, Full Spectrum
4... etc., etc.
Some of the stories in Foreigners, and Other
Familiar Faces were previously published
in the following places:
Ashes of Penis Thrown to Sea, Stygian Articles
(No. 11, October 1997)
Exfoliation, Talebones (No. 1, Winter 1996)
Foreigners, Full Spectrum 4 (Bantam Doubleday Dell: 1993).
Idiosynchronicity (as Idiosynchrasies), SF Age (3:3, March
Mrs. Hewitt's Tulips, in Tales of the Unanticipated (No.
20, August 1999)
On the Collection of Humans, appeared originally in Nova
(U.K; 1993) and Year's Best Science Fiction 11 (St. Martin's:
Take Me, Wrong Door, and Kiss of the Wood Woman
appear here for the first time.