Long ago at the beginning of time—in 1976, that is—the first piece of fiction I was ever paid money for appeared in print. If I remember correctly, that story paid for my first electric typewriter. I’d written it longhand in a prep-school spiral-bound notebook, then typed it up on a portable manual Hermès that might be worth some money now if I still had it.
Let me do the math: Sometime in 2016 I will have been a Published Author for forty years. How is that even possible?
To mark the anniversary, I thought, how about a collection of stories, new and old? Not quite as old as forty years—I reread some of that apprentice work from the 1970s and ’80s. I don’t hate it (much) but don’t feel like preserving it either. Let future scholars and heirs do that after I’m dead. So the initial date I chose is 1990, the year I acquired my first computer (an Apple Macintosh SE of blessèd memory) and determined once for all the name I wished to be known under.
I brought the notion to Gentle Publisher, who agreed with good grace (although he nixed my proposed cover in no uncertain terms) and surprised me utterly by saying, “I’ll find somebody interesting to write an introduction.” I am as curious as you are who that will be!
At any rate, barring unforeseen mischance, out in July 2016 from Lethe Press will be a massive tome entitled Not Here. Not Now. collecting thirteen stories and novellas from a quarter century’s work in (and out of) multiple genres.
table of contents
- “Composition with Barbarian and Animal” [written 1992/published 1994]
Science fiction, a tale of barbarian merchants in the strange worlds of the far future.
- “You Deserve” [2013/2013]
Contemporary dark fantasy about a teenager and his dads, dreadful impulses and dreadful powers.
- “Michael in the Library” [1991/1998]
Quasi-historical fiction set in Roman Alexandria, concerning a scribe at the famous library and his lover, a novelist.
- “Seb and Duncan and the Sirens” [2010-2012/2014]
Contemporary fantasy: American tourists. Greek island. Sirens.
- “A Handbook for the Castaway” [1996/1997]
Quasi-historical fiction, the shipwreck narrative of an eighteenth-century pirate.
- “A Portrait in India Ink by Harry Clarke” [2013/2013]
Semi-historical* romance revolving around an Irish artist’s gorgeous illustration for a minor Poe story.
*(do the 1960s count as history?)
- “Dramma per musica; or, The Frenzy of Alexander” [1995/previously unpublished in full]
Faux-autobiographical fiction containing, as in a matryoshka, a narrative of Baroque-opera castrato erotica.
- “Three Men I Want” [1995/1997]
A non-fiction short story, deceptively autobiographical, ambiguously confessional.
- “The Hyena’s Blessing” [2012/2013]
Quasi-historical fantasy set in eleventh-century Egypt, involving an assassin, a caliph, and, well, zombies.
- “Captain of the World” [2010/2011]
Contemporary sports fiction. No, really. Narrated by a Turkish-American soccer goalkeeper.
- “#duranperi” [2013/previously unpublished]
Contemporary fantasy, a kind of fairy tale taking place at the edges of the Gezi Park protests in İstanbul during the summer of 2013.
- “Two Dead Men” [2012/2012]
Secondary-world fantasy, a supernatural love story set during and ten years after a vicious civil war.
- “The New People” [2008-2009/2011]
Science fiction, an exploration of the society evolved on an isolated colony world three hundred years after all the women died. And a love story. And a fan letter to Israeli singer-songwriter Ivri Lider.