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The Not So Much, Said the Cat

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About the Author

Michael Swanwick is one of the most acclaimed science-fiction and fantasy short-story writers of his generation, having received an unprecedented five consecutive Hugo Awards. He has also the winner of the Theodore Sturgeon and World Fantasy awards. Swanwick's novels include The Iron Dragon's Daughter, a New York Times Notable Book, and the Nebula Award--winning Stations of the Tide. His short fiction has appeared in many venues, including OMNI, Penthouse, Amazing, Asimov's Science Fiction, New Dimensions, and Full Spectrum, and his work has been translated into more than ten languages. Swanwick is currently at work on a third novel set in Industrialized Faerie.


Praise for Not So Much, Said the Cat "Half Neil Gaiman, half Kelly Link, wonderfully unique." --Book Riot [STARRED REVIEW] "Another collection of speculative fiction from Swanwick (Chasing the Phoenix, 2015, etc.), one of a handful of writers whose short pieces are as impressive as their novels. Versatility, craftsmanship, a dollop of weird, and a delightfully askew sense of humor are key to the 17 pieces here, all of which appeared between 2008 and 2014, together with an introduction that illuminates the contents without revealing too much. Certain themes, of course, are authorial favorites, such as time travel, aliens, and artificial intelligence. There's a man who, having suffered a crushing loss, finds solace after accidental contact with a time traveler; a group of time travelers hunkered down at the end of the Cretaceous period--where, oddly, nobody's interested in the dinosaurs; and a scientist who finds a partner worthy of her genius. We also get a fascinating glimpse (which feels like a novel fragment) of a far future populated by humans and centipedelike aliens, narrated by the intelligent space suit of a woman who's dead as the story begins; and another future where human lives resemble those in fairy tales while advanced, hidden AIs battle for supremacy. Elsewhere, in a literary-games vein, the characters in a fairy tale discuss whether they prefer to remain in books, and immortal, or enter history; there's a famous Gene Wolfe story stripped down, turned inside out, and rebuilt to perfection; and, in a marvelous conceit, the writer Alexander Pushkin appears as he may have been--in an alternative universe. To round out the collection, we meet a dutiful young woman who, entering hell to challenge the devil to return her father, discovers that things are not as she assumed; Darger and Surplus, those good-hearted rogues with a propensity to shoot themselves in the foot, make an appearance, as does "The House of Dreams," an entry from Swanwick's splendid Mongolian Wizard e-book series. Tales that, through their extraordinary clarity of thought and expression, showcase precisely why this multiaward-winning author is held in such high regard." --Kirkus A Washington Post Best New Science Fiction Pick (August 2016) "Michael Swanwick shows his extraordinary range in Not So Much, Said the Cat (Tachyon) ... Swanwick's stories are wistful and weird, at times tragic yet still hopeful as the mythic and scientific intertwine." --Washington Post "Swanwick excels at satisfying conclusions that cause readers to take pause and consider the actions of the characters. Thoughtful, witty, and, at times, disturbing, this collection will appeal to those who enjoy short fiction, no matter the genre." --Booklist "An entertaining read from beginning to end, with plenty of tales to amuse, making for a great collection of short stories. Besides, who wouldn't want to spend some time with a sly seductive circus performer, some con artists and a robotic scarecrow with a conscience, and all without leaving the comfort of your sofa!" --Starburst "Ultimately, I think what strikes me most forcefully about Swanwick's fiction, aside from his fresh yet historically resonant conceits, is its elegance and economy. Per the definition of the perfect short story, not a word is extraneous or wasted, not one element of plot inessential." --Paul Di Filippo, Locus "You think you're getting the kind of hors d'oeuvre many short stories deliver. But settle down, you're in for a full gourmet meal that makes you feel as if you've just enjoyed a novel and lost a friend when you've finished it." --Strange Alliances "This collection of short stories by five time Hugo award winning author Michael Swanwick is simply a delight to read ... It's a rare glimpse into how short stories should be constructed, and I guarantee, they'll leave you thinking well after each story is done." --Open Book Society "[Swanwick's] writing is flawless and creative, his characters incredibly well-developed for short stories, and the descriptive nature of his text can make you feel as if you're living in these other worlds right along with the characters." --Times Union "Swanwick can move between genres so effortlessly and so competently that there's no need for limitations." --Green Man Review "OK--it's official. Michael Swanwick is a god. He makes worlds that work, every tick and tock of them. He makes people who cry, sweat, puke, fall in love, die in conceivable ways. He's smart and crafty, passionate and wily. Both trickster and life-giver. He creates and uncreates. And yes, he brings Light. If I don't exactly worship him, I read every story of his I can get my hands on. So thanks, Tachyon for bringing me more stories--some old favorites, some I hadn't read before. Because gods need their readers, and God knows, I need more Swanwick." --Jane Yolen, author of Briar Rose "I would effuse about the excellence of the stories within this collection--Michael Swanwick's eleventh such--for they are by turns shocking, delightful, puckish, innovative, and electric... However, I am too busy plotting how to steal the devil's stone (given to him by a Siberian shaman) that Michael keeps by his typewriter in order to unlock his writing power, all without disturbing his cat." --Fran Wilde, Nebula-nominated author of Updraft and Cloudbound "This is standard Swanwick, where the reader's feet never quite touch the ground. Brilliant." --Jack McDevitt, author of The Engines of God "Michael Swanwick is one of our most reliably entertaining and provocative writers." --Greg Bear, author of Darwin's Radio "Is there any SF writer, living or dead or cryonically suspended, who rivals Michael Swanwick for sheer virtuosity? I think not. From the hard-sf poignancy of 'The Woman Who Shook the World Tree' to the Borgesian high jinks of 'The Man in Gray,' from the beguiling folk fantasy of 'The Dala Horse' to the post-cyberpunk intensity of 'Libertarian Russia,' from the Bulgakov-inflected phantasmagoria of 'Of Finest Scarlet Was Her Gown' to the psychological realism (and biological surrealism) of 'Passage of Earth'--I could go on--Not So Much, Said the Cat reveals an author who is a Jack-of-all-genres and their master as well." --James Morrow author of Galapagos Regained "Speculative fiction is such a deep, wide ocean, that no matter how much one explores, one will always find something more. Michael Swanwick's new anthology, Not So Much, Said the Cat is a beautiful, brilliant pearl." --The Reading Desk "A perfect marriage of classic stories and bleeding edge tech, from godlike continental AIs to the abolishment of time, clever discourse on libertarianism and zero-sum economics in a mirroring tale of humanity and alien bugs, fairy tales and one of the best futuristic con-games I've ever had the pleasure of consuming." --Brad K. Horner "I fell head-over-heels in love with this collection of stories." --Lipstick and Libraries "A whirlwind of stories that take you across the world, through different pockets of time, and into a sample of the lives being lived, Not So Much, Said the Cat is an excellent compilation. Swanwick's latest book is a delight to read, both entertaining and insightful." --Pooled Ink "True to form, Swanwick's collection is eclectic, charming, and moving." --Clarkesworld "This magnificent collection is essential reading material to those who love quality and originality. The stories contained within its covers are simply marvellous and offer plenty of entertainment, excellent prose, memorable scenes and thought-provoking moments to readers." --Risingshadow "Swanwick writes clear, elegant prose that is a joy to read, and excels at creating lifelike characters. Each story is a complete work of art." --SFRevu "Speculative fiction is such a deep, wide ocean, that no matter how much one explores, one will always find something more. Michael Swanwick's new anthology, Not So Much, Said the Cat is a beautiful, brilliant pearl." --The Reading Desk "This collection proves that Swanwick is a name that should be mentioned every time people speak of Gaiman, Link, Shepard, Martin or Harlan Ellison. And Not So Much, Said the Cat is a collection that should be in every home." --On Books and Writing "Each story is exquisite, the perfect density of plot, carefully crafted, beautifully executed." --Readcommendations "If you read The Phantom Tollbooth as a child then Not So Much, Said the Cat is probably something you would be interested in!" --Daily Toast "With his new collection, Not So Much, Said the Cat, Michael Swanwick once again proves himself one of science fiction's most consistently imaginative and versatile short story writers." --Campus Circle Praise for Michael Swanwick "Swanwick's wildly imaginative and beautifully written short stories have been, for several years, one of the primary joys of the field." --Washington Post Book World "One of contemporary sf's greatest short-story writers." --Interzone "One of the most powerful and consistently inventive short story writers of his generation." --Gardner Dozois, editor of the Year's Best Science Fiction series "An amazingly assured writer, seemingly incapable of writing a sentence that isn't interesting in itself, in addition to the way it moves the sentence forward." --New York Review of Science Fiction "Michael Swanwick is darkly magnificent." --Jack McDevitt, author of The Engines of God "Swanwick's prose takes no prisoners." --Time Out Chicago

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