Promo Bits: Kafkaesque edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly

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The wonderful folks at Tachyon Publications are up to mischief again with a new anthology called Kafkaesque, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly.  I’m letting you all know about this book because I want it, and one of you is going to buy it for me for my Birthday, which is on the 6th of October.  Seriously.  You are.  Or we’re not friends anymore, you hear?  And I don’t care that the book doesn’t come out until November 2011.  You can pre-order it.  Or steal an ARC from a reviewer.  It’s only wrong if you get caught…

Anywho.  Enough of that.  Here’s the back cover blurb (ToC to follow):

Franz Kafka died in obscurity in 1924, having published a handful of odd stories in little-known central European literary magazines. Yet modern culture has embraced the stark ideas and vivid imagery of his work. Even those who have never read a word of his fiction know enough to describe their tribulations with bureaucracy as “Kafkaesque.” 

Kafkaesque explores dystopian, comedic, and ironic fictions inspired by Franz Kafka’s work. In Philip Roth’s alternate history, Kafka survives World War II and immigrates to America, Jorge Luis Borges envisions a labyrinthine public lottery that evolves into bureaucratically-mandated mysticism. Carol Emshwiller invents an exclusively male society faced with its first (mostly) female member. Paul Di Filippo’s journalist by day, costumed crime-fighter by night, copes with the bizarre amidst the mundane.  

Also includes Kafka’s classic story “The Hunger Artist,” in a brand-new translation, as well as an illustrated version by legendary cartoonist R. Crumb (Fritz the Cat). Additionally, each author discusses Kafka’s writing, its relevance, its personal influence, and Kafka’s enduring legacy.

The table of contents are as follows:

  1. “A Hunger Artist” (translated by Kessel) by Franz Kafka 
  2. “The Drowned Giant” by J.G. Ballard 
  3. “The Cockroach Hat” by Terry Bisson 
  4. “Hymenoptera” by Michael Blumlein 
  5. “The Lottery in Babylon” (tr: Hurley) by Jorge Luis Borges 
  6. “The Big Garage” by T. Coraghessan Boyle 
  7. “The Jackdaw’s Last Case” by Paul Di Filippo 
  8. “Report to the Men’s Club” by Carol Emshwiller 
  9. “Bright Morning” by Jeffrey Ford 
  10. “The Rapid Advance of Sorrow” by Theodora Goss 
  11. “Stable Strategies for Middle Management” by Eileen Gunn 
  12. “The Handler” by Damon Knight 
  13. “Receding Horizon” by Jonathan Lethem & Carter Scholz 
  14. “A Hunger Artist” by David Mairowitz & Robert Crumb 
  15. “I Always Wanted You to Admire my Fasting”, or “Looking at Kafka” by Philip Roth 
  16. “The 57th Franz Kafka” by Rudy Rucker 
  17. “The Amount to Carry” by Carter Scholz 
  18. “Kafka in Brontëland” by Tamar Yellin
Let me just say that the ToC looks bloody amazing.  Ballard, Bisson, Borges, Filippo, Emschwiller, Ford, Roth, Rucker, Gunn…  What an impressive list, don’t you think?  My friend Kendra will hear about this anthology promptly.  Because she’s kind of obsessed with Kafka…
Admit it.  You want this book too…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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