Publisher’s Weekly has some things to say, some good, some not, which is what I would expect from a collection that has a lot of stylistic variety. Collections can’t please everyone. For example: “Weaker pieces rely on repetitive motifs and uncanny concepts stretched too-thin” but “The strongest entries allow Wexler’s accomplished prose ample elbow room.” I don’t agree with the part about weaker pieces, yet, obviously the reviewer is correct on the praising bits. Full review here.
Back in 2003, when my first book, In Springdale Town, came out, I did my first radio interview, with Vick Mickunas for his program The Book Nook, at WYSO, public radio for the Miami Valley etc. etc. The experience was an experience and not my favorite experience. In August 2021, before my reading to celebrate the release of The Painting and the City paperback/ebook, Vick had me back on his show. The shows used to be live but are now taped in advance, which is less stressful. I had fun this time, and I think it came out okay. Not that I plan to listen to it. But here’s the link to the archive.
The building shown above is the former Yellow Springs high school turned Village offices turned miscellaneous rentals turned future radio station plus offices for Dave Chappelle’s Iron Table Holdings.
Taking a break from end of summer pickling to say that it’s time to pre-order my new short story collection, Undiscovered Territories.
Which is a followup from the previous stack of books post.
Today is the official release day for the paperback and ebook editions of my novel, The Painting and the City. The book originally came out in 2009 as a limited edition hardback from PS Publishing. This new edition is brought to you by Steve Connell of Verse Chorus Press and his new imprint The Visible Spectrum. Paperbacks are available from independent stores everywhere, Bookshop.org and Amazon, and ebooks from various places.
I will read from the novel Tuesday, August 10, 7 pm, at the Emporium in Yellow Springs, with guitar accompaniment by Kurt Miyazaki. We’ll be doing a live stream from the Emporium’s Facebook page.
Local store Dark Star books will sell copies at the event.
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)
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
“I demand of the reader to the point where they don’t know what’s real and what’s not real.”
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 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.