Synopses & Reviews
Two interwoven memoirs of love, loss, and family with a haunted, frightening edge.
In 2000, American Fantasy Press published an unassuming chapbook titled The Man on the Ceiling, Inside was a dark, surreal, discomfiting story of the horrors that can befall a family. It was so powerful that it won the Bram Stoker Award, International Horror Guild Award, and World Fantasy Award the only work ever to win all three. Now, Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem have re-imagined the story, expanding on the ideas to create a compelling work that examines how people find a family, how they hold a family together despite incomprehensible tragedy, and how, in the end, they find love.
Loosely autobiographical, The Man on the Ceiling has the feel of a family portrait painted by Salvador Dali, where story and reality blend to find the one thing that neither can offer alone: truth.
"With this nightmarish series of vignettes, the Tems take the reader on a jolting, surreal journey through partially autobiographical episodes of their family life. This narrative is a complete reworking of their novella (winner of the 2000 World Fantasy, Bram Stoker and IHG awards) of the same name, expanding on the themes of family, loss and dreadful imagination. How does the tragic death of a child affect the entire family and even the house they live in? Why do they wrestle so with the demons of imagination and guilt? The authors addresss these questions in a stylized, stream-of-consciousness give and take, painting heartrending pictures of day-to-day life as parents, children and lovers. This visceral, psychological view of the horrors that occur in an average person's life will draw in readers with delicate, exquisitely detailed and almost hypnotic language." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Readers may struggle now and then with the presentation's surreal nature....[And] may not be prepared for the heartbreaking outcomes of the spate of cheerful, mundane events." Library Journal
"There are several moments of purest nightmare....Open this book if you dare, and find something truly unique." Horror Reader.com
"The Man on the Ceiling may deposit long moments of unearned sweetness, but it is, in the end, pure fantastic." Sci Fi Weekly
"The Tems' assemblage of brooding, often surrealistic prose experiments defies easy categorization but succeeds as compelling, perhaps compulsory, reading for true horror fans." Booklist
Steve and Melanie Tem have expanded the ideas in the original award-winning story The Man on the Ceiling to create a compelling work that examines how people find a family, stay together despite incomprehensible tragedy, and, in the end, how they find love.
About the Author
Award-winning author, poet, and playwright Melanie Tem is the author of fourteen published novels. Her works have won, among many accolades, the Bram Stoker Award and the British Fantasy Award. Dan Simmons called her "the literary successor to Shirley Jackson," and readers and reviewers consistently rave about her deeply involved stories of the terrors that haunt families.
Steve Rasnic Tem has been called "a school of writing unto himself" (Joe R. Lansdale). His surreal stories have earned him comparisons to Franz Kafka, Dino Buzzati, Ray Bradbury, and Raymond Carver. He has also won the Bram Stoker award and been nominated for British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards for his short stories, novels, and collections.
Together, Melanie and Steve won the Bram Stoker award for their multi-media collection Imagination Box, and won a Stoker, International Horror Guild, and World Fantasy award for their novella The Man on the Ceiling (the only work ever to win all three). They live in Denver, Colorado with the family they have made for themselves.