The Adventurists (Preorder)

Richard Butner

February 8, 2022

trade paper · 320 pages · $17 · 9781618731944 | ebook · 9781618731951 | Edelweiss

A collection of stories written over a lifetime of looking forwards and backwards and sometimes even at the now.

Remember that time at the mall, when you looked down the service hallway and someone was there and you fell in love with them, and when you looked again they were gone? When you found a tunnel under an old building and couldn’t resist going in?

There are things buried here. You might want to save them. You might want to get out of their way. The rules are always clear but never fully known in Richard Butner’s stories. Sometimes a door will open into a new world, sometimes into the past. Putting on a costume might be the restart you are half hoping for. There are ghost stories without ghosts, time travel without machinery, punks and hippies living together in peace but not harmony.

With a close eye on the furniture of our daily lives and a calm but not detached vision of the multiple selves carried within each person, Butner’s allusive and elusive, nostalgic and modernist stories reach into the uncanny corners of life — where there are no job losses, just HCAPs (Head Count Allocation Procedures), where a tree might talk to just one person, where Death’s Fool is not to be ignored.

Advance Praise for The Adventurists

“At last, one of the contemporary masters of the uncanny and darkly humorous, Richard Butner, has his stories in one place where we can get at them. With a toe (just a toe) in the literary pool, and the rest of him splashing happily in the spec fic/sci-fi/surreal swimming hole, Butner’s tales deal in the deadly habits of nostalgia, and the surprises waiting for the wistful and the obsessive whose march forward obliges a look backward. Linkean, Barthelmean, Saundersean . . . hm, okay, these guys do NOT lend themselves to sonorous adjectivization but, nonetheless, they’ll have to welcome a new storyteller beside them on the shelf.”
— Wilton Barnhardt, author of Emma Who Saved My Life and Lookaway, Lookaway

“A Richard Butner story is an invitation to discovery alongside his characters. It’s a left turn off of reality’s highway and into its old business district: defiantly shabby, casually weird, and occasionally surreal, perfect in every grounding detail. Every story zigs when you expect it to zag. You only think you know where they are going, but it turns out you are on the same adventure as the protagonist, discovering as you go that the world is stranger than it was the minute before, and the minute before that. Well worth the journey.”
— Sarah Pinsker, author of We Are Satellites

“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, author of Outside the Gates of Eden

Reviews of Richard Butner’s stories:

“Captivating and gripping.”— Bookotron

“In the face of even the most absurd scenario, Butner’s writing remains cool and understated; he treats the bizarre as if it were commonplace, eventually convincing the reader that nothing is too far from the real. Indeed, many of the stories’ most bizarre moments are simply exaggerations of the inanities of our world, thrust into the forefront of the plot as a sort of social criticism. . . . 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 Review

“A powerful story of obsession.” — Lois Tilton, Locus

“The saddest ghost story you’ll read this year.” — Charlie Jane Anders, Gizmodo

“Haunting and heartbreaking.” —

“Wry, caustic, calculated, impulsive…. Gems of gorgeous weirdness.”— Asimovs

“Finely wrought fiction that earns its effects. Evocative and passionate, meaningful and filled with wonders.” — SF Site

“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, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

“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, author of Pride and Prometheus

“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, author of Sarah Jane

Richard Butner‘s short fiction has appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, been shortlisted for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Fountain Award, and nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. He has written for and performed with the Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern, Aggregate Theatre, Bare Theatre, the Nickel Shakespeare Girls, and Urban Garden Performing Arts. His nonfiction, on topics ranging from computers to cocktails to architecture, has appeared in IBM Think Research, Wired, PC Magazine, The News & Observer, Teacher, The Independent Weekly, The North Carolina Review of Books, Triangle Alternative, and Southern Lifestyle. He lives in North Carolina, where he runs the annual Sycamore Hill Writers’ Conference. He and Harry Houdini have used the same trapdoor.


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