Dancing on Air

Nancy Kress

As in her Hugo and Nebula award–winning novel Beggars in Spain, Dancing on Air, Nancy Kress explores the moral ambiguities of genetic engineering, this time through the eyes of a talking Doberman. This gripping novella features an intriguing murder mystery involving a reporter’s investigation into the lethally competitive world of professional ballet.


Dancing on Air

by Nancy Kress

ISBN: 9780964832053

Published: 1997

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback (sold out), Hardcover (sold out), and Limited Boxed Hardcover (sold out)

Dancers are capable of doing anything to succeed in the cutthroat world of ballet—grueling workouts, restrictive diets, artificial enhancements…even murder. A talking Doberman, an aging ballerina, and an investigative reporter find themselves embroiled in a world where youth rules and no one is safe. This gripping novella by the Hugo and Nebula award–winning author of Beggars in Spain is a powerful yet humorous exploration of the moral ambiguities of genetic engineering and the all-too-tenuous bonds of family.

“Like Walter Miller’s ‘The Darfsteller,’ [Dancing on Air] follows the future of an artform through ethical quagmires.”
Asimov’s Science Fiction

“Every so often there comes a story which works the old magic that first drew me to the genre as a reader. Dancing on Air is one of those stories.”
—James Patrick Kelly

“From her novel An Alien Light to this novella, Dancing on Air, Nancy Kress has again and again made bizarre viewpoints utterly compelling. No matter how peculiar the future is that Kress imagines, her characters face it with human and humane feeling. She is a writer’s writer.”
—Tony Daniel

Nancy Kress is the bestselling author of twenty science fiction and fantasy novels, including Beggars in Spain, Probability Space, and Steal Across the Sky. She has also published four short story collections and three books on the fundamentals of writing. Kress frequently explores biology and genetic engineering in her fiction, as in her acclaimed Beggars series and her bio-thriller, Dogs. She is a four-time Nebula Award-winner and the recipient of two Hugos, the Sturgeon, and Campbell Awards. Her fiction has been translated into nearly two dozen languages, including Klingon. She teaches at venues including the Clarion Writers’ Program, and as a guest professor at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

Praise for Nancy Kress

 “Nancy Kress is one of the best damn storytellers ever.”
—Jack McDevitt

“Kress, a witty and engaging writer, creates chilling suspense as twisty as a DNA double helix.”
Publishers Weekly

“Her style is devilishly inventive….”

“It’s hard to imagine a better writer of science fiction in America today than Nancy Kress—to call Kress a science-fiction writer seems too limiting. She’s one of our best writers.”
Salt Lake Tribune

Praise for the Nebula Award–winning After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

 “Nebula- and Hugo-winner Kress mixes time travel, global catastrophe, and mysterious aliens in this strong postapocalyptic tale…. Kress handles the crisscrossing timelines with cool elegance.”
Publishers Weekly

“This isn’t the usual post-environmental apocalypse/alien invasion survival book…. Readers of science fiction and those interested in environmental issues will question the current wisdom about our environment and climate science as well as how much effect humans may—or may not—have on the future.”
School Library Journal

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall is a highly intelligent, sublimely understated glimpse into humankind’s future—it’s comparable in thematic impact to Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, and that is saying something. Simultaneously disheartening and inspiring, this novel’s ultimate power is very much like the megatsunami referenced within its pages—you won’t see it coming, but when it hits you, you will be swept away.”
—Paul Goat Allen, Barnes and Noble

“Nancy Kress is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Her use of science is tricky and thought-provoking, her command of fiction sharp and full of feeling.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars Trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt

“An ecological apocalypse so real that it’s like a three-dimensional object that can be viewed from all sides.”
—Ted Kosmatka, author of The Games and The Ascendant

“Haunting, memorable, and a perfect example of how to write a future post-apocalyptic dystopia that is both effectively bleak, but with the all-important factor of human tenacity. Absolutely recommended.”
The Book Smugglers

“Superstar SF and fantasy author Nancy Kress returns with After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, an elegant novella that combines several wildly different science fiction ideas into a tight package. There’s a little bit of everything here: time travel, hard science, environmental collapse, aliens, post-apocalyptic dystopia. It may sound hard to combine all of these in such a short format, but Nancy Kress makes it work.”

“Three narrative lines eventually converge and complement each other, and Kress handles this with her usual superior craftsmanship.”

“Nancy Kress displays all her usual strengths in After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall: strong plotting, fast-paced action, complex and interesting characters, thought-provoking speculation. But there’s something more here: a beautiful meditation on the fate of the earth, an elegy, a warning–and a glimpse of hope.”
—Lisa Goldstein, author of The Red Magician and The Uncertain Places

“This is Nancy Kress in top form, but more importantly, this is SF done right. Here are big ideas about the environment and the future of humanity, married to an intimate story of family, community, and motherhood. With aliens and time travel to boot! I don’t know of another writer who balances the global and the personal with such skill. I inhaled this story and was sorry for it to end.”
—Daryl Gregory, author of Unpossible and The Devil’s Alphabet

“This story, of the terrible choices people must make in the face of ecological catastrophe, asks wrenching questions—‘What does it take to remain human? What is survival worth?’—and answers with the authority that Kress always brings to bear on both science and humanity.”
—Nicola Griffith, author of Slow River and Always

“The book is typical Kress, which means impossible to put down. A gripping tale of human survival.”
—Jack McDevitt, author of Infinity Beach and Echo

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall is the coming-of-age story for the human race. Nancy Kress has written a chillingly plausible tale of the end of the world.”
—Mary Robinette Kowal

“A disturbing, lively piece of fiction.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer

“I highly recommend this book.”
Nerds in Babeland

Praise for Dogs

“Full of suspense and creepy details…. [It] delivers on the potential of its gripping premise.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“An appealing mix of horror, thriller, allegory, and satire…biting satire.”

“A page turner…unusual and refreshing. Highly recommended.”
Monster Librarian

“A near-future techno-thriller, with a touch of Stephen King. Fine work.”
Asimov’s Science Fiction

Dogs is the kind of thriller that continually makes you want to turn the pages faster than you can read them.”
SF Site

“In my opinion, Nancy Kress is one of the best science-fiction authors of today…. Kress has the magical ability of weaving amazing plot, believable science, and intriguing characters into a coherent whole.”

Visit the Nancy Kress website.

Other books by this author…