John Kessel - published April 2008
A BookSense Pick.
John Kessel, ever at the forefront of fiction, mashes up Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein and comes up with a huge win: “Pride and Prometheus,” which received the Nebula and Shirley Jackson awards and was nominated for many others. The fourteen stories in this astonishing, long-awaited collection intersect imaginatively with literary classics (The Wizard of Oz, Flannery O’Connor) and history. The Baum Plan also includes Kessel’s modern classic “Lunar Quartet” sequence about life on the moon.
Download the whole collection under a Creative Commons license, listen to three of the stories, or buy the whole thing as an ebook or a beautiful trade paperback or hardcover. (See below for why the hardcover may tempt those looking for real financial independence.)
By turns satirical, horrific, funny, and generous, these stories showcase the manifold gifts of the modern-day master of the screwball science fiction novel Corrupting Dr. Nice, a writer Publishers Weekly has called “capable of the most artful and rigorous literary composition, but with a mischievous genius that inclines him toward speculative fiction . . . he writes with great subtlety and wit . . . and his craftsmanship is frequently absolutely brilliant. Plus, his sense of comedy is remarkable.”
An ex-con finds himself falling, once more, under the spell of a seductive, amoral woman. A hidden door in the closet of a summer house leads to a land of plenty. The life of an inventor converges with the pulp fiction he reads in “Powerless.” In “Pride and Prometheus,” the Bennett sisters encounter Victor Frankenstein and his monster. And, in his acclaimed and award-winning Lunar Quartet, John Kessel explores the gender dynamics, politics, and long-term sustainability of a matriachal lunar colony.
“A sustained exploration of the ways gender dynamics can both empower and enslave us. Kessel’s wit sparkles throughout, peaking with the most uproariously weird phone-sex conversation you’ll ever read (“The Red Phone”).” A-
Table of Contents
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence [audio]
Every Angel is Terrifying [audio]
The Last American
The Invisible Empire
A Lunar Quartet
- The Juniper Tree
- Stories for Men
- Under the Lunchbox Tree
- Sunlight or Rock
The Snake Girl
It’s All True
The Red Phone
Pride and Prometheus [part 1 | part 2]
“These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Kessel is a deft stylist and a master of all his tools, whose range is nearly limitless.”
“John Kessel’s writing exists at the edge of things, in the dark corner where the fiction section abuts the science-fiction shelves, in the hyphen where magic meets realism. Reading Kessel’s wonderful fabulations is like staying out too late partying and seeing strange angels while stumbling home in the dawn’s first light. This is one of those too rare short story collections that you can recommend with confidence to both the literary snob and the hard-core computer geek.”
– Rich Rennicks, Malaprop’s Bookstore, Asheville, NC
“Critics were all excited to see another anthology from Kessel … not only did Kessel pull off these stories with gusto but he did so in such a way that readers can enjoy his tales even if they have not read the original authors.”
– Bookmarks Magazine
On the web:
- John Kessel’s home page
- A sneak peek at the collection in the Raleigh News & Observer.
- Scifi Weekly Interview with Kessel and James Patrick Kelly by John Joseph Adams (2006)
- Scifidimensions audio interview (2002)
- Strange Horizons interview (2001)
- Locus Interview, Hour of the Wolf (w/Jim Kelly) (1997)
- Interview (1993)
- IMDB | ISFDB | Wikipedia | Library Thing
- Find The Baum Plan in a library near you.
About the Author
John Kessel co-directs the creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. A winner of the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, the Locus Poll, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, his books include Good News from Outer Space, Corrupting Dr. Nice, and The Pure Product.