Synopses & Reviews
A Vintage Contemporaries Original, edited by Michael Chabon, and featuring:
Jim Shepard's "Tedford and the Megalodon"
Glen David Gold's "The Tears of Squonk, and What Happened Thereafter"
Dan Chaon's "The Bees"
Kelly Link's "Catskin"
Elmore Leonard's "How Carlos Webster Changed His Name to Carl and Became a Famous Oklahoma Lawman"
Carol Emshwiller's "The General"
Neil Gaiman's "Closing Time"
Nick Hornby's "Otherwise Pandemonium"
Stephen King's "The Tale of Gray Dick"
Michael Crichton's "Blood Doesnt Come Out"
Laurie King's "Weaving the Dark"
Chris Offutt's "Chucks Bucket"
Dave Eggers's "Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly"
Michael Moorcock's "The Case of the Nazi Canary"
Aimee Bender's "The Case of the Salt and Pepper Shakers"
Harlan Ellison's "Goodbye to All That"
Karen Joy Fowler's "Private Grave 9"
Rick Moody's "The Albertine Notes"
Michael Chabon's "The Martian Agent, a Planetary Romance"
Sherman Alexie's "Ghost Dance"
"[A] fiction anthology with an innovative, simple concept: the stories are driven by adventurous plots and narrative action, in contrast to the current trend toward stories that are 'plotless and sparkling with epiphanic dew,' as Chabon writes in his introduction....Half a dozen or so stories are markedly slight, but overall this is a strong collection." Publishers Weekly
"Unlike Henry James's ghost stories where genre was always used to access the literary the emphasis here is on fun: but what about those who ask for more than that? Still, talent galore, and well worth the price of admission." Kirkus Reviews
"In spite of itself, the collection contains enough revelatory moments to make the overall experience worthwhile....Here, the sneaky power of short stories is best illustrated. Whether you are about to be devoured by a gargantuan marine jaw or are just stepping off a curb, epiphanies can strike anywhere." (Grade: B-) Carina Chocano, Entertainment Weekly
"[O]ne of the best anthologies in recent years....The 20 entries are heavy on plot with occasional endings O. Henry would have been proud of....The H.J. Ward cover from the 1940 issue of Red Star Mystery Magazine is perfect for the anthology...and Howard Chaykin's lead illustrations for each story will take you back half a century to those times when stories had a plot and all was right with the world." (Grade: A) Mark Graham, Rocky Mountain News
"[A]n uneven, somewhat gentrified 'Treasury,' the self-consciousness of the exercise making it more fun in parts than as a whole....There are thrills, though. Rick Moody's mournful, postapocalyptic thriller...manages to feel personal while recycling Philip K. Dick. Chabon blends alternate history with Jules Verne to gripping effect." Matthew Flamm, The New York Times
"Like all anthologies, this one's a mixed bag, but it nicely defies expectations. A few of the literary writers can't break the chains of thought, thought, endless thought, and turn in wordy, heel-dragging efforts....The best combine an unself-conscious writing style and enough good plot twists to keep you reading." Peter Terzian, Newsday
"[M]ost of the pieces here are dreadful, especially the ones by genre stalwarts like Crichton and King. But a few of them are actually profound. These are the ones in which the writers didn't adhere too strictly to their chosen genre....These stories are experimental, in their own way...but their experimenting is a means to meaning, not an end. Who are these old-fashioned writers? None other than McSweeney's own Nick Hornby, Rick Moody, and Dave Eggers." Ruth Franklin, Slate.com
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon and the editors of the award-winning iconoclastic magazine McSweeney's comes this collection of never-before-published stories from America's most popular and innovative writers reinventing the genres they love.
About the Author
Michael Chabon's works of fiction include The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, and Were-wolves in Their Youth. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, and Playboy and in a number of anthologies, among them Prize Stories 1999: The O. Henry Awards. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, also a novelist, and their children.
Review A Day
"Fortunately the stories involve more sensitive negotiations between past and present forms. Indeed, it is interesting to trace the continuities and discontinuities in what Fredric Jameson would call the political imaginary of these stories, as the imperial basis of many of the tales associated with pulp's golden age is brought into uneasy alignment with the globalized economy of today. In this Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales
we encounter airships, mummies, intrepid explorers, mountaineers, and time-travellers: the traditional stuff of pulp, or, to cite Michael Moorcock's Holmesian detective in 'The Case of the Nazi Canary,' of 'the bloods . . . the tuppenny skinnies and fourpenny fats.' But here, too, are tourist buses, circulating capital, drugs and quantum physics: the stuff of much of today's literary fiction." Sarah Churchwell, Times Literary Supplement
(read the entire TLS review