The Painting and the City

New Paperback Edition Coming in July

This has been in process for a long time, but I can finally announce that The Visible Spectrum, a new imprint of Verse Chorus Press, is publishing the first U.S. and first paperback edition of my novel, The Painting and the City, set for a July 20, 2021 release. The book came out from PS Publishing in 2009, in two editions, a 100 copy slipcased hardback signed by myself and the introducer (Jeffrey Ford) and a 350 copy regular hardback signed by me. These were expensive and available in few stores.

I’m excited to have this new paperback (and ebook) coming out. I’ll post more as it gets closer to the release date.

In addition, my new short story collection (announced here or scroll down) should be coming out in September 2021.

“An unusual, haunting tale from a distinctive new voice.”—Lisa Tuttle, Sunday Times (London)

New Book

Cover art by Chris Roberts for
Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices.

I’m pretty thrilled to announce that I have a contract from PS Publishing for a short story collection. The title is Undiscovered Territories, publication tentatively late 2020. The collection will have over 98,000 words of my short fiction, including the novella, In Springdale Town, which came out in book form from PS in 2003.

Chris Roberts will be creating cover art and possibly some interior illustrations for part title pages.

Here’s a blurb from Steve Rasnic Tem (a shortened version will appear on the back cover):

“Writers who work in fantasy and science fiction often feel the need to adjust their raw imaginings to the expectations of genre. My experience of Robert Freeman Wexler’s work in Undiscovered Territories is that he has largely been able to avoid that compromise, creating emotionally and stylistically complex literary fairy tales which do not fit within the standard genres. Neither are they “realistic” in the conventional sense. In Wexler’s fiction bread sings and narrates its autobiography, a four-armed giant slips and tells a story while lying flat in the snow, and a vision of a rain forest appears on the wall of an urban building. As far-fetched as these metaphors may seem, they achieve an unexpected realism through Wexler’s manipulation of fragmented texts (an art history, a series of government proclamations, etc.) and a style which mimics such familiar modes as the adventure story and the travel journal. The result is at times reminiscent of a Jonathan Swift or a Jorge Luis Borges, and in all ways, fantastic. “

—Steve Rasnic Tem, author of Figures Unseen: Selected Stories and The Night Doctor And Other Tales

Julian Cope Has a Novel

“I demand of the reader to the point where they don’t know what’s real and what’s not real.”

Interesting article/interview in The Quietus with Julian Cope (otherwise known as the Arch Drude). Seems he’s written a novel, titled (and subtitled) 131—A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel.

Cope and interviewer amongst the standing stones of Avebury

From the publisher’s web page: “When drugged-up Time Traveller and ’80s musical burnout Rock Section and his fellow English hooligans get kidnapped during Italia ’90, there are ruinous implications. But now Rock has returned to Sardinia one final time to settle some scores and uncover the truth. He believes only Dutch cult leader Judge Barry Hertzog, still incarcerated on the island for the crime, can provide the answers. But through prescription drugs, the persistence of his driver Anna and a quest for the hidden ancient doorways strewn around Sardinia’s only highway, the 131, Rock will discover that a greater truth awaits him.”

Cope is someone who’s music I find always interesting, and I would think his fiction will be too.

Stepan Chapman

Stepan Chapman died. I knew him only briefly and not very well. His novel, The Troika, was an amazing piece of wacky and thoughtful weirdness. I hadn’t seen him in several years. He had a starring role in the The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, a book put together by Jeff VanderMeer & Mark Roberts. Writers were asked to create a story built around a fake disease. I wrote a letter (as Dr. Wexler) to the fictional Dr. Lambshead begging him not to publish the Pocket Guide. Stepan incorporated my letter into the history of the Pocket Guide, treating Dr. Wexler as the villain, always stealing Dr. Lambshead’s research, etc. We did some readings together (I couldn’t see him, but was told that when I read my Dr. Wexler letter, he would make silly faces to the audience to mock me).

I’m at work, listening to “Sensorium” an episode from Flotsam Beach, a series of podcasts that Stepan did. I’ve only just discovered them. In which he reads from Guy Murchie’s The Seven Mysteries of Life, interwoven with a variety of sounds.

“In this sequel to Leeuwenhoek’s Lenses, Stepan reads more pages from Guy Murchie’s The Seven Mysteries of Life, in order to explore the sensory apparatus of the animal world.

Background choir of aquatic insect larvae provided by David Dunn. Zoological interlude music provided by Marc Hollander of France, Lars Hollmer of Sweden, Kimpereli of Switzerland, and Fred Frith of Britain.

Protoplasm. Did we discover it? Or did it discover us?

After a year of imaginary broadcasting, Flotsam Beach is still asking The Big Questions.”

The combination of his reading style and material, plus background music works to make listening to the program oddly stimulating and soothing. Plus, it’s nice to hear his voice.

Springdale Ebook

cover for ebook of in springdale townThe nice people at InfinityPlus have re-issued my novella In Springdale Town as an ebook. It’s available at Amazon in the US, Amazon UK, and in a multitude of formats at Smashwords.

This edition includes a new afterword, with newly-revealed secrets about the making of the story.

Here’s what people said about the PS print edition, which came out in 2003:

Springdale is told in a deceptively muted style and cunningly crafted so that the story appears to assemble itself around the reader like a trap he or she has sprung, yet remains innocent-looking until the end, when a spring-loaded hammer smashes down.—Lucius Shepard, from the introduction to the original print edition

…In a list comprising some of the biggest names in contemporary genre fiction the appearance of a novella by a virtually unknown author causes a certain interest. In Springdale Town represents its author’s first book publication (after only a handful of short stories) and yet it fits into the PS Publishing list with such subtle skill that its presence on the shelf feels as if an invisible gap in the collection has been suddenly filled.—Lavie Tidhar, Dusksite

…Other writers, wiry and wry, as lithe as dragonflies, may seem more vulnerable, but their grace, their maneuverability, becomes its own kind of tensile strength. They can travel farther, faster, and in disguise.—Jeff VanderMeer, Locus Online

…no need for Lovecraftian monsters or rampaging serial killers to transform Springdale into a seriously creepy place. An old ballad suggests that one death haunts this village, but Wexler deviously, almost casually, creates a sense of wrongness that goes well beyond some past saga of jealousy and murder. Don’t read this one right before bedtime–or your next road trip.”—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine

Cook Noir

I checked my friend Christopher Cook’s blog/website today and remembered that I had meant to post a link to it when he set it up. His novel, Robbers, came out from Carroll & Graf in 2000, and he re-issued it himself as an ebook, along with several other titles.

I met Christopher at a writer’s workshop in Tennessee in 1993, where we discovered that we were both living in Austin. We hung out some after we got back to town. The year after, he moved to France. Since then he’s lived in Mexico and now Prague. And I moved on to New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. I haven’t seen him since he left Austin. One of these days, I’ll make it to Prague. It’s always nice to have friends in interesting places.

Robbers is a noir set in East Texas. In it, he did something unusual (spoiler!).  Halfway through, he killed off a very sympathetic character (which is all I can say here without spoiling it for you). The reader in me said No! How could you? The writer in me said, wow, that’s cool. I read this when it came out…an unthinkable twelve years ago…but much is still clear in my head, the grit, the well-drawn characters, the feel of the East Texas woods and the Gulf Coast.

Check out Christopher’s blog here, and buy some books.