The Rose in Twelve Petals

Theodora Goss  - published October 2004

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No.9 in the limited edition Small Beer Press chapbookseries is The Rose in Twelve Petals & Other Stories by Theodora Goss.Goss is one of the strongest and most distinctive voices to appear in recent years. She has very quickly made a name for herself: her stories have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror as well asYear’s Best Fantasy and her poem “Octavia Is Lost in the Hall of Masks” has just won the Rhysling Award. Goss’s stories reach across and through genres. She utilizes fairy-tale structures and post-modern motifs all the while building through increments a beautiful body of work.

Cover art by Charles Vess.


“Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold” is a superb oneirism, an opportunity vouchsafed to an obscure, not overly successful academic to step through the gates of dream into — what? transcendent inspiration? death? both? Certainly out of his scholarly mediocrity. The atmosphere and invention are quite wonderful.
— Nick Gevers, Locus

One of the most impressive debuts I can recall…. Fairy tale retellings are a dime a dozen, and Sleeping Beauty ones probably as common as any, so this story has to be special to stand out, and special it is.
— Rich Horton, Locus

“The poems sing … the stories both sing and soar.”
— Matthew Cheney, Locus

“The Rapid Advance of Sorrow” could hide, camouflaged by style and subject, within the gems of J. G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands. The story gracefully describes a bizarre aesthetic revolution in which the city and concept of “Sorrow” conquers the world in arctic stillness, with white flowers and post-modern language. The story is haunting, possessed of its own terrible beauty, and characterized by gorgeous prose and provocative thought.
— Tangent Online

A beguiling world of fantasy and adventure await he reader…. Go. Buy it. Read it.
— Zine World, 22 supplement.


The Rose in Twelve Petals
The Rapid Advance of Sorrow
Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold

Lily, With Clouds
Her Mother’s Ghosts
What Her Mother Said
The Ophelia Cantos
That Year
The Bear’s Daughter
Helen in Sparta
By Tidal Pools
The Changeling

Advance Praise

Theodora Goss“Theodora began publishing in 2002, and already she’s become one of my favorite writers. Her stories and poems are beautifully written, deliciously spiced with the flavors of fairy tales, folklore, myth, and 19th century gothic literature. This book is a feast — and one I intend to savor slowly, to make it last.”
— Terri Windling, author of The Wood Wife

“These stories are poetic, sad, hopeful, brave. And very, very beautiful. There’s no one, in the field or out of it, who does lyrical simplicity better, or says more about the mysterious workings of the human heart, than Theodora Goss.”
— Delia Sherman, author of The Porcelain Dove

“An original voice, and an original vision: crystalline, precise, mordant and devastating.”
— Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint

“By the merest chance, I had the honor to read Theodora Goss just before she broke into print. Lucky me – I’ve devoured everything she’s published since. Here’s a writer who commands the common tongue as if it were meant to serve her alone, even as her passionate stories spiral upward to surreal glory. Trust me on this: you have never read anything quite like The Rose in Twelve Petals.”
— James Patrick Kelly, author of Strange But Not a Stranger

About the author:

Theodora Goss was born in an imaginary city: at least, it looks nothing like she remembers. (In hers, swallows built nests under the eaves of apartment houses, and someone was always playing Liszt.) She grew up in a series of airport terminals and wonders why, wherever you go, you have to pass through Frankfurt. This may explain why most of her characters are from somewhere else, or want to go there. She’s been there, and wants you to know that the mountains are particularly fine. (She recommends the sour cherry strudel.) She lives in Boston with her husband and daughter, and the necessary number of cats. She was a lawyer, but decided it just wouldn’t do. She is now working on a PhD in English literature. She enjoys introducing unsuspecting freshmen to Lord Dunsany and Philip K. Dick, and needs more bookshelves. Her stories have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Polyphony, Alchemy, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and online atStrange Horizons and Fantastic Metropolis. Several have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in magazines such as Mythic Delirium and The Lyric. She has won a Rhysling Award for her speculative poetry.

Some of the stories in The Rose in Twelve Petals & Other Stories were previously published in the following places:

These stories and poems previously appeared in the following places: The Rose in Twelve Petals, Realms of Fantasy, April 2002; The Rapid Advance of Sorrow,Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 11, November 2002; Lily, with Clouds,Alchemy 1, December 2003; Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold,Polyphony 2, April 2003; Her Mother’s Ghosts appears here for the first time. Helen in Sparta, By Tidal Pools, and Chrysanthemums, LCRW 8, June 2001; The Ophelia Cantos, LCRW 9, November 2001; What Her Mother Said will be published in The Journal of Mythic Arts, Autumn 2004; The Bear’s Daughter, The Journal of Mythic Arts, Winter 2004; The Changeling, That Year, and Bears appear here for the first time.

Reading: Oct. 16, 3-5 PM
with Vandana Singh & Greer Gilman
Pandemonium Books & Games
The Garage @ Harvard SQ
36 JFK St.
Cambridge, MA