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Author Jeffrey Ford's World Fantasy Award- winning novel, The Physiognomy, introduced Cley, master of a twisted and terrifying science utilized to keep order in a nightmare city. In the brilliantly audacious Memoranda, the reformed physiognomist embarked on a surreal quest through the mind of the monster who imagined and constructed the dark metropolis. Now the third and final chapter of Cley's strange life journey dispatches him to the inconceivable ends of his world--and strands him in the perilous heart of a sentient wilderness. One creature still lives in the dust and rubble of Master Drachton Below's destroyed Well-Built City: Misrix, Below's demon "son," refined and civilized by his father's loving curse of humanity. With the comforting aid of Sheer Beauty, the altered being fights his loneliness by recording the adventures of a hunter who wanders with a dog named Wood through a breathtaking wild at the realm's farthest extremities. Cley is a man who has witnessed miracles, and both he and his world have been changed by them. But remnants of his grim past still haunt the former Physiognomist, First Class. And the old Cley cannot be buried until he meets once more with a woman he gravely disfigured--who, in turn, served as catalyst to his transformation from man of "science" to folk healer to wilderness hunter--and she waits in the true village of Wenau in the hidden heart of the Beyond. The journey promises to be a lengthy and a dangerous one, with astonishing sights and circumstances at every turning. Demons and wraiths inhabit this strange land, feeding on Each step forward brings Cley inescapable responsibilities as it carries him into the core of legend and deep into a mystery as old as time. For the Beyond has its needs--and a living consciousness that encompasses all the wonders within its boundaries. And it has important plans for the hunter that require more than he may be able to give. Misrix follows Cley's progression with eager interest. But the demon his own trial before those who fear and despise him--a perilous test of humanity and heart that must inevitably accompany the most treacherous pursuit of all: friendship.
Overview From the unparalleled imagination of award-winning author Jeffrey Ford come twenty short stories (one, "The Wish Head," written expressly for this collection) that boldly redefine the world. Crackpot Palace is a sumptuous feast of the unexpected--an unforgettable journey that will carry readers to amazing places, though at times the locales may seem strangely familiar, almost like home. Whether he's tracking ghostly events on the border of New Jersey's mysterious Pine Barrens or following a well-equipped automaton general into battle, giving a welcome infusion of new blood to the hoary vampire trope or exposing the truth about what really went down on Dr. Moreau's Island of Lost Souls, Jeffrey Ford has opened a door into a dark and fantastic realm where dream and memory become one.
There is a town that brews a strange intoxicant from a rare fruit called the deathberry--and once a year a handful of citizens are selected to drink it. . . . There is a life lived beneath the water--among rotted buildings and bloated corpses--by those so overburdened by the world's demands that they simply give up and go under. . . . In this mesmerizing blend of the familiar and the fantastic, multiple award-winning New York Times notable author Jeffrey Ford creates true wonders and infuses the mundane with magic. In tales marked by his distinctive, dark imagery and fluid, exhilarating prose, he conjures up an annual gale that transforms the real into the impossible, invents a strange scribble that secretly unites a significant portion of society, and spins the myriad dreams of a restless astronaut and his alien lover. Bizarre, beautiful, unsettling, and sublime, The Drowned Life showcases the exceptional talents of one of contemporary fiction's most original artists.
Award-winning collection of fantasy stories about writers and writing, aliens obsessed with American movies, dream-visions, and more.
The Great Depression has bound a nation in despair -- and only a privileged few have risen above it: the exorbitantly wealthy ... and the hucksters who feed upon them. Diego, a seventeen-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant, owes his salvation to master grifter Thomas Schell. Together with Schell's gruff and powerful partner, they sail comfortably through hard times, scamming New York's grieving rich with elaborate, ingeniously staged séances -- until an impossible occurrence changes everything. While "communing with spirits," Schell sees an image of a young girl in a pane of glass, silently entreating the con man for help. Though well aware that his otherworldly "powers" are a sham, Schell inexplicably offers his services to help find the lost child -- drawing Diego along with him into a tangled maze of deadly secrets and terrible experimentation. At once a hypnotically compelling mystery and a stunningly evocative portrait of Depression-era New York, The Girl in the Glass is a masterly literary adventure from a writer of exemplary vision and skill.
A trio of con men posing as spiritualists in Depression-era America try to solve the murder of a young girl.
Once Cley held a position of respect and fear in Master Drachton Below's cruel autocracy. As physiognomist, Cley practiced a sanctioned, twisted science that condemned men and women to death for the size of their foreheads or thrust of their chins. Yet Cley emerged from the ruins of the Well-Built City a better man, dedicated to healing the physical ills of the simpler agrarian society he has chosen to join. Below's great evil, however, has never abated-and he was not destroyed when his dark social experiment exploded. For his own senseless reasons, he has unleashed a plague of sleep upon Cley's friends and neighbors-a disease that, ironically, has felled the Master as well. And the only antidote lies in a terrible place the former physiognomist fears to enter but knows he must: in the illusory house of a madman's dreams, imagination, and remembrances; in the intricate palace of memories Drachton Below has scrupulously constructed in the Stygian depths of his mind.
Offering a freshly-imagined world of bizarre creatures and strange customs, this unique and sardonic allegory explores the power and price of science and the ambiguity of morality. Humorless and drug addicted, physiognomist Cley is ordered by the Master of the Well-Built City to investigate a theft in a remote mining town. Well-versed in serving justice, arrogant Cley sets out to determine the identity of the thief using the pseudo-science of judging people by their features, but becomes distracted from his task by a beautiful girl from town. When the young-but-wise woman rejects him, he loses faith in his abilities, and in a drug-induced frenzy he "remakes" her features. The subsequent horror of what he has done, what he represents, and the shallow life he leads forces him to seek atonement and true justice, risking the Master's wrath, which may entail death by head explosion.
Mystery concerning the identity of a woman who commissions a man to paint her portrait though he is not allowed to see her.
In New York's Long Island, in the unpredictable decade of the 1960s, a young boy laments the approaching close of summer and the advent of sixth grade. Growing up in a household with an overworked father whom he rarely sees, an alcoholic mother who paints wonderful canvases that are never displayed, an older brother who serves as both tormentor and protector, and a younger sister who inhabits her own secret world, the boy takes his amusements where he can find them. Some of his free time is spent in the basement of the family's modest home, where he and his brother, Jim, have created Botch Town, a detailed cardboard replica of their community, complete with clay figurines representing friends and neighbors. And so the time passes with a not-always-reassuring sameness-until the night a prowler is reported stalking the neighborhood. Appointing themselves ad hoc investigators, the brothers set out to aid the police-while their little sister, Mary, smokes cigarettes, speaks in other voices, inhabits alternate personas . . . and, unbeknownst to her older siblings, moves around the inanimate residents of Botch Town. But ensuing events add a shadowy cast to the boys' night games: disappearances, deaths, and spectral sightings capped off by the arrival of a sinister man in a long white car trawling the neighborhood after dark. Strangest of all is the inescapable fact that every one of these troubling occurrences seems to correspond directly to the changes little Mary has made to the miniature town in the basement. Not since Ray Bradbury's classic Dandelion Wine has a novel so richly evoked the dark magic of small-town boyhood. At once a hypnotically compelling mystery, a masterful re-creation of a unique time and place, a celebration of youth, and a poignant and disquieting portrait of home and family-all balancing on a razor's edge separating reality from the unsettlingly remarkable-The Shadow Year is a monumental new work from one of contemporary fiction's most fearless and inventive artists.
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