Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology
by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, eds.
Also edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology
The Secret History of Science Fiction
Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka
Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology
Cover image by Isabelle Rozenbaum/PhotoAlto
Cover design by John Berry
Buy it in the Kindle edition
Buy it in epub format
Highlight: Lethem's crack-smoking aliens.
"Oh, these stories!... Don't stop until all have been read."
A SciFi.com 2006 Holiday Gift Pick
If it is true that the test of a first-rate mind is its ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time, then we live in a century when it takes a first-rate mind just to get through the day. We have unprecedented access to information; cognitive dissonance is a banner headline in our morning papers and radiates silently from our computer screens. Slipstream, poised between literature and popular culture, embraces the dissonance.
These ambitious stories of visionary strangeness defy the conventions of science fiction. Tales by Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, Carol Emshwiller, George Saunders, and others pull the reader into a vivid dreamspace and embrace the knowledge that life today is increasingly surreal.
Introduction by John Kessel and Jim Patrick Kelly
Al by Carol Emshwiller
The Little Magic Shop by Bruce Sterling
The Healer by Aimee Bender
The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
Light and the Sufferer by Jonathan Lethem
Sea Oak by George Saunders
Exhibit H: Torn Pages Discovered in the Vest Pocket of an Unidentified Tourist by Jeff VanderMeer
Hell is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang
Lieserl by Karen Joy Fowler
Bright Morning by Jeffrey Ford
Biographical Notes to "A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-planes" by Benjamin Rosenbaum
The God of Dark Laughter by Michael Chabon
The Rose in Twelve Petals by Theodora Goss
The Lions Are Asleep this Night by Howard Waldrop
You Have Never Been Here by M. Rickert
I Want My 20th-Century Schizoid Art I-IV (various contributors)
-Booklist, starred review
"Is slipstream just science fiction and fantasy that doesn't know that it's science fiction or fantasy? Or is it more than that? Decide for yourself by slipping into short stories that are superb, whatever you choose to call them, from Lethem, VanderMeer, Chabon, Waldrop and others."
At last we have our definitive collection.... And once again, we can rejoice that revolution after revolution will be printed, not televised.
-The Agony Column
Worth buying? Well if you want to be the hippest cat on the block, then yes.
Intriguing stories...plenty of good reading.
Leave it to Tachyon, one of the most exhilarating and intellectually probing small presses, to put out a book like this. We hope it makes its way out of what the editors call the "ghetto of the fantastic" and into the mainstream. This book is a joy, and could easily become a staple of college syllabi in the not-so-distant future.
-Time Out Chicago
And though it's hard to define exactly what is happening, it's a pleasure to read.
...whether you're interested in the boundaries of slipstream or not, Feeling Very Strange is a terrific collection of stories...
-Intergalactic Medicine Show
If you read the contents of Feeling Very Strange in linear order (I recommend that you do), you will actually have a non-linear, information-building, increasingly exhilirating experience.
-Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 34
The debate over what, exactly, constitutes the defining aesthetic of slipstream fiction has simmered and seethed for years now and may indeed rage for years to come, but no debate will likely arise over the quality of the selections that Kessel and Kelly have assembled in Feeling Very Strange. Every story here stakes out its own claim and colonizes that territory with authority and authenticity, from Carol Emshwiller's "Al" through M. Rickert's "You Have Never Been Here," with disorienting stopovers in several other exotic locales, whether alien or domestic.
In fact, I've seldom read an anthology in which every story works so well both as a stand-alone and as an element in a greater whole. Heed its contributors and marvel that so diverse a group sings such fine distinctive solos and yet harmonizes so well. Credit Kessel and Kelly, too, for the grace of their introduction, the art of the book's arrangement, and the modesty of their editorial presence, directing our attention away from themselves and toward either the authors of the stories or the participants in the amusing four-part discussion "I Want My 20th-Century Schizoid Art."
This is an anthology that both entertains and enlightens. SF types will regard Feeling Very Strange as having a significance comparable to that of Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions volumes and Bruce Sterling's Mirrorshades compendium; aficionados of contemporary literary fiction will have their eyes opened, many times, and readers of every other stamp, if they like both good writing and strong narrative values, will think themselves in Heaven.
I expect to wake up as a giant cockroach tomorrow morning. Can anything really be better than that?
-Reading the Leaves
You will actually have a non-linear, information-building,
increasingly exhilarating experience.
-Science Fiction Studies