Postmodern Archipelago

The Postmodern Archipelago

Michael Swanwick

The publication of Michael Swanwick’s brilliant “A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns” sent shockwaves rippling through the science-fiction community. It is published here for the first time since its initial magazine appearance in Asimov’s SF, along with Swanwick’s elegant essay on the fantasy genre, “In the Tradition…” and an original introduction

$7.50

The Postmodern Archipelago

by Michael Swanwick

ISBN: 0964832062

Published: 1997

Available Format(s): Chapbook

The publication of Michael Swanwick’s brilliant essay “A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns” sent shockwaves rippling through the science-fiction community. Not since the controversy surrounding the advent of the so-called New Wave writers of the 1960s and early 1970s had anyone dared to categorize science-fiction writers.

A work that was originally intended as an homage to illuminate the works of many of the younger writers in the field, “A User’s Guide” was vilified in numerous fanzine articles and convention panels. But Swanwick’s essay was not intended to generate controversy, and it remains popular , beyond the initial conflagration. It is a thoughtful and insightful look into the science-fiction field of the early to mid-1980s, an era that includes postmodernist writers, such as William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, and James Patrick Kelly.

“A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns” is published here for the first time since its initial magazine appearance in Asimov’s SF, as is Swanwick’s elegant essay on the fantasy genre, “In the Tradition…,” and an original introduction written by Swanwick for this publication.

 

Praise for “The Postmodern Archipelago”

“Juicy and intelligent, these critical overviews provide a valuable snapshot of our field.”
Asimov’s Science Fiction

Anonymous scorn for “A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns”

“A bilious assemblage of self-congratulatory twaddle…jejune mixture of bluster and untried arrogance…. My God, if this is the direction science fiction is going, it is doomed.”

“A self-conscious piece of snobbery not worth the powder to blow it to Kingdom Come.”

“Like reading a history of Europe written from the point of view of Bulgaria.”

“Swanwick’s article has proved nothing, clarified nothing, accomplished nothing except to get his name before a large number of people where he can spout his conspiracy-literary theories in a pseudo-journalistic ‘I’m above all this’ manner better served by UFO magazines and the Flat Earth Society newsletter….”

“Some of the writers that he praises may actually believe that they are as important to the field of science fiction as Swanwick says they are. The more they believe that, the more it will hurt when a more accurate perspective is forced upon them.”
—Orson Scott Card

Praise for “In the Tradition…”

“A brave, lonely attempt to stem the tide.”
—Nova Express

“Incisive.”
Publishers Weekly

“Thought-provoking and informative.”
—Terri Windling

Michael Swanwick is one of the most acclaimed science-fiction and fantasy short-story writers of his generation, having received five consecutive Hugo Awards. He has also won the Theodore Sturgeon and World Fantasy awards. Swanwick’s novels include The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, a New York Times Notable Book, and the Nebula Award–winning Stations of the Tide. His short fiction has appeared in many venues, including OMNI, Penthouse, Amazing, Asimov’s Science Fiction, New Dimensions, and Full Spectrum, and his work has been translated into more than ten languages.

Praise for Michael Swanwick

“[Swanwick] is an amazingly assured writer, seemingly incapable of writing a sentence that isn’t interesting in itself, in addition to the way it moves the story forward…. This is a book that merits a place on any serious science-fiction readers’ shelf.”
New York Review of Science Fiction 

“One of the most powerful and consistently inventive short story writers of his generation.”
—Gardner Dozois

“Swanwick has emerged as one of the country’s most respected authors.”
Philadelphia Enquirer Magazine

 Praise for Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures

“Wonderful strangeness.”
True Review

“One of the most powerful and consistently inventive short-story writers of his generation.”
—Gardner Dozois

“Always brilliant, Swanwick shines in these quirky short pieces, with over 70 gathered in this collection, including ‘An Abecedary of the Imagination,’ with six new entries.”
Locus

“[Swanwick] has always been versatile, and lately his versatility has extended to miniaturized, tightly compressed fictions that are alternately startling, funny and mysterious, and often possess the resonance of especially vivid dreams…. In Swanwick’s hands, even the traditionally dull author bio yields unexpected rewards, as do most of the entries in this whimsical, wonderfully eccentric collection.”
Washington Post Book World

“To read this collection of tiny stories is to have a series of unusually personal interactions with the storyteller. In each story, the author seems to be completely at your disposal, with no goal other than your amusement…. Here’s how it works:
Swanwick lays down a sentence. It’s short, it’s punchy, it promises a pay-off. You read it, smile, nod, and move on to the next sentence. That one pays off the sentence before it, and promises an even better payoff if you move on to the one following. You do so, collect the even-better payoff as promised, and continue to be led through the story by increasing promises and even more rewarding payoffs. Very quickly, you come to the end of the story, because it’s very short. You have both hands full: felicities, surprises, bon-mots, witticisms, epiphanies, goodies of every description. But, alas, it’s over.

“Felicities, surprises, bon-mots, witticisms, epiphanies, goodies of every description.”
Fantastic Metropolis

Praise for Gravity’s Angels

“I don’t think I’ve come upon as finely crafted, as deft a collection of stories in quite some time…. Buy this book. I mean it—it’s one of the best science-fiction collections I’ve ever read.”
Fantasy & Science Fiction

“The stories collected here are luminous with the promise of his ambition, smart and allusive, dense with ideas and images, sacred and profane.”
Interzone

Gravity’s Angels is an extremely impressive collection. Each story is unique unto itself, and reading them closely together does not produce any sense that one has just read the same thing half an hour earlier. If there is any justice in the world, Gravity’s Angels will bring Swanwick whatever recognition he has not had thus far.”
Locus

“This volume chronicles the career of one of the most impressive science-fiction writers of the 80s…. Every story uses the traditional materials of the genre to explore deeper issues of character and conscience…. Swanwick’s work illustrates the power and potential of contemporary science fiction.”
Publishers Weekly

“An important writer whose work is contributing to the shape of things to come in our field.”
—Pat Cadigan

“There are a multitude of stories here…. Swanwick speaks to your heart and sensibilities about relationships, about spirituality about despair, about real people in fantastic situations, about hopes, dreams, and desire.”
True Review

 Praise for Tales of Old Earth

“Michael Swanwick is darkly magnificent. Tales of Old Earth is just one brilliant ride after another, a midnight express with a master at the throttle. Sit back and enjoy.”
—Jack McDevitt

“One of the most powerful and consistently inventive short-story writers of his generation.”
—Gardner Dozois

“Swanwick has emerged as one of the country’s most respected authors.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“I have admired Michael Swanwick’s storytelling—his style, his imagination, his compassion—from the beginning of his career. Over time he has simply improved. Indeed, he writes so well the kinds of stories that I would like to write that he obviates the necessity of my even trying to write them. This collection showcases his exemplary talent.”
—Michael Bishop

Visit the Michael Swanwick website.