Bittersweet Creek and Other Stories

Christopher Rowe  - published November 2003

No.7in the Small Beer Press chapbook series is author and publisher Christopher Rowe’s Bittersweet Creek, with a cover illustration by the wonderful Shelley Jackson.

Rowe takes his storytelling seriously and, if he can, with a generous bourbon on the side. (His readings are not to be missed.) Rowe’s recent stories, including “The Force Acting on the Displaced Body” (the lead story in the anthology Trampoline) and “The Voluntary State”, have taken him into new, deep, and exciting literary territory and have brought him many new and appreciative readers. Bittersweet Creek gathers together some of his best stories from recent years and solidifies his reputation as one of the up and coming writers in the speculative fiction field.


“Rowe’s work might remind you of that of Andy Duncan. Both exemplify an archetypically Southern viewpoint on life’s mysteries, a worldview that admits marvels in the most common of circumstances and narrates those unreal intrusions in a kind of downhome manner that belies real sophistication.”
— Asimov’s

“As smooth and heady as good Kentucky bourbon”
— Locus

“‘Men of Renown’ is a herald of what Rowe can do best: deal with time and place without limits.”
Tangent Online

Baptism on Bittersweet Creek
Sally Harpe
The Dreaming Mountains
Kin to Crows
Men of Renown

What is This?

This smart, sleek, scary little book is all about strange arrivals: girls coming up out of their graves, giants from their junkyards, dragons from their river beds. Add Rowe himself– striding out of the Kentucky hills into the sunlight of literature’s regard. And he looks good doing it.
— Terry Bisson (The Pickup Artist)

Christopher Rowe’s stories are the kind of thing you want on a cold, winter’s night when the fire starts burning low. They dance through godfearing communities in the deep country with the unerring steps of a shaman’s rite to show that the division between Biblical and primal deities is a perilous conceit. Reverent and irreverent in the same breath, chilling and funny by turns, they deliver the full measure required of short story tellers the world over; entertainment plus x, where x is a measure of internal vertigo caused by a sudden glimpse of a sheer drop. Terrific.
Justina Robson (Natural History)

Christopher Rowe was a fine writer when he was one of my students back at Clarion West, in 1996; and he has only gotten better. Much better. And as good as he is now, he’ll keep getting better. Read these excellent stories, and see what I mean.
–Jack Womack (Going, Going, Gone)

About the Author:

Rowe’s story, “The Force Acting on the Displaced Body”, is the lead story in the anthology Trampoline — for which he answered these questions. He lives in Lexington, KY. His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, JPPN, Pulp Eternity, The Dead Mule, and the anthologies Beyond the Last Star and Swan Sister: Fairy Tales Retold.

Rowe’s poem “Our Prize Patrol Will Find You” was published in LCRW 9. He is the editor and publisher (with Gwenda Bond) of the magazine Say….

Earlier this year Ideomancer posted an interview and three of Rowe’s stories: Horsethieves and PreachermenKin to Crows, and VFD Adventures. Here’s another short story.

This is not him.

This is his new blog.

About the Artist:

Shelley Jackson lives in a dark hole in a dark, dark hole in a dark, dark, dark hole.

Some of the stories in Bittersweet Creek originally appeared, in somewhat different form, in the following places:

“Baptism on Bittersweet Creek,” Realms of Fantasy, 1999; “Sally Harpe,” Realms of Fantasy,1999; “The Dreaming Mountains,” Ideomancer Unbound, 2002; “Kin to Crows,” Realms of Fantasy, 1998. “Men of Renown” appears here for the first time.