I definitely picked the wrong time to try to get a new publication out–right in the middle of a job and life transition–but I’m pleased to announce that, after a lengthy delay, my new story collection, Outer Frontier: Two Stories, is now available! It’s a fun little book, containing two stories that are pretty unusual, but the best thing for you is that the e-book version of Outer Frontier is free. Let me repeat that. The e-book is free. You can get it on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and the iTunes store for the nice round price of $0.00. If you absolutely must have the print version, it’s only $3.99.
So what is Outer Frontier about? I’m glad you asked! Here’s the official write-up:
The line between fantasy and reality gets a work-over with a metaphysical eraser in this duo of stories about the existential and philosophical dimensions of entertainment and pop culture. In “The Collection of X,oraan,” a nerdy teenager’s innocent purchase of a mysterious plastic monster figure in a comic book shop ignites a 30-year obsession with a collection of toys that only one other person in the world seems to have heard of…and which may not be as benign and playful as they seem. Meanwhile, “Outer Frontier” asks you to imagine yourself in distress: laid up in your apartment with a broken leg during a ferocious heat wave, your supply of painkillers dwindling, what price are you willing to pay for a momentary escape? Binge-watching a cheesy 1960s science fiction TV series may seem a harmless enough diversion, but be warned…the series finale involves you losing your mind!
“The Collection of X,oraan” is a short story that’s been kicking around for quite a while now. It was one of two stories, each of which I wrote in one day and mostly in one sitting, right after I came back from Wacken Open Air 2014. The other story, incidentally, was “Hotel Himalaya,” which was suggested by a friend of mine at Wacken and which became the genesis of my previous story collection. It’s a rumination on how ideas, especially fictional ideas, really animate the world we live in, and it’s also a comment on our entertainment-obsessed society.
That theme carries over into “Outer Frontier.” This is a story ostensibly about a man with a broken leg, trapped in his apartment during a heat wave, binge-watching an old 1960s sci-fi TV series on Netflix. However, I used “Outer Frontier” to kind of play with the conventions of narrative. The story is written in second-person voice, and has multiple inconsistent endings–both techniques I employed in The Valley of Forever. Indeed, I think of “Outer Frontier” as sort of a dry run for a new kind of fiction that I’m gravitating toward. So in that sense it may be kind of a milestone!
Please do pick up the collection. If you have an e-reader, it’s absolutely free, so there’s nothing to lose! Already, people who have read the stories really enjoy them, and evidently the cover art is possibly my best effort yet. So set course for the Outer Frontier, and leave rationality behind…you’re headed for a very strange place!