Richard Butner - published June 2004
No.8 in the limited edition Small Beer Press chapbook series is Richard Butner’s Horses Blow Up Dog City & Other Stories. Butner’s forte is 21st-century man — just a little lost, nothing major — and his ongoing attempting to come to grips with life, love, and the ultimate enigma: woman.
There’s an immediacy to Butner’s eye for pop culture, architectural and emotionally-revealing details that places these stories in the apartment next to yours, the (good) local diner (not the crappy one), or maybe the bar around the corner.
Not everything’s going to turn out right; not everyone’s going to do well. But if you follow the path Butner’s laid out before you, maybe you’ll find the good bar, the good diner, know when to listen, know when to fold.
“Wry, caustic, calculated, impulsive…. Gems of gorgeous weirdness.”
“Finely wrought fiction that earns its effects. Evocative and passionate, meaningful and filled with wonders.”
— SF Site
“Butner picks up the absurdities of high-speed America and throws them back in its face, reveling in the wild, wonderful mess he creates.”
— New Pages
“Butner’s meticulous prose lays a cool surface over some twisty terrain. Understated and profound, deft and smooth, these stories sneak up on you and then don’t let go. Boxes within boxes, wheels within wheels.”
— Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club
“If you let Richard Butner’s sideways fiction into your brain it will slice you to ribbons so quietly that you won’t even know why you’re laughing, or crying. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
— John Kessel, Good News From Outer Space
“In the work of writers who have truly burrowed in, often I’ve a sense of there being not many stories but one continuous, ongoing story, ever growing, ever increasing, turning this way and that in shifting light — which is how I feel about Richard Butner’s.”
— James Sallis, Cypress Grove
“Richard Butner writes gorgeous, heartfelt stories that are completely his own, each propelled by an inner logic that may or may not match consensus reality, each ringing utterly true. He is unafraid of tough questions and even tougher answers. His characters sweat, grieve, exult, and struggle for understanding, and even when they terrify, they never fail to touch me.”
— Lewis Shiner, Say Goodbye
- More stories online: “Other Agents” (LCRW); “House of the Future” (SciFiction)
- An interview
- The original afterword to the story “Horses Blow Up Dog City”
About the author:
Richard Butner loves you. This is his second chapbook after Mind Snakes(illustrated by Michael Carter, Barefoot Press & The Paper Plant). His stories have been published in RE Arts & Letters, Say…, …is this a cat?, Problem Child, Scream, Mind Caviar, and the anthologies Trampoline (Kelly Link, ed),Crossroads: Southern Stories of the Fantastic (F. Brett Cox and Andy Duncan, eds., Tor), Intersections (John Kessel, Mark L. Van Name, and Richard Butner, eds., Tor), and When The Music’s Over (Lewis Shiner, ed., Bantam Spectra). He occasionally comments here.
Richard Butner read Thur., Sept. 16, 8.00 PM
405 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Some of the stories in Horses Blow Up Dog City & Other Stories were previously published in the following places:
“Ash City Stomp”, Trampoline, 2003; “Horses Blow Up Dog City”, Intersections,1996; “Drifting”, Say…, 2003.
“The Rules of Gambling” and “Lo-Fi” appear here for the first time.