Ape's Wife and Other Stories

Ape's Wife and Other Stories

Illustration By Vincent Chong

Dust jacket by Vincent Chong.
Interior illustrations by Vince Locke.

Caitlín R. Kiernan has been described as one of “the most original and audacious weird writers of her generation” (Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, The Weird), “one of our essential writers of dark fiction” (New York Times), and S. T. Joshi has proclaimed, “hers is now the voice of weird fiction.” In The Ape's Wife and Other Stories—Kiernan’s twelfth collection of short fiction since 2001—she displays the impressive range that characterizes her work. With her usual disregard for genre boundaries, she masterfully navigates the territories that have traditionally been labeled dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction, steampunk, and neo-noir. From the subtle horror of “One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm)” and “Tall Bodies” to a demon-haunted, alternate reality Manhattan, from Mars to a near-future Philadelphia, and from ghoulish urban legends of New England to a feminist-queer retelling of Beowulf, these thirteen stories keep reader always on their toes, ever uncertain of the next twist or turn.

The Signed, Limited edition will include a second hardcover, Black Helicopters, an original 26,000 word novella, the longest companion volume we’ve yet published by Caitlin

Limited: 600 signed numbered copies, bound in leather, with the bonus hardcover, Black Helicopters.
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition

Table of Contents:

  • Author’s Introduction
  • The Steam Dancer (1896)
  • The Maltese Unicorn
  • One Tree Hill
  • The Collier’s Venus (1898)
  • Galápagos
  • Tall Bodies
  • As Red As Red
  • Hydraguros
  • Slouching Towards the House of Glass Coffins
  • Tidal Forces
  • The Sea Troll’s Daughter
  • Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash
  • The Ape’s Wife
  • Note
  • Author’s Biography
  • Black Helicopters (Volume to accompany the Limited Edition only)

From Publishers Weekly:
“In these 13 previously published stories, Kiernan (The Drowning Girl) deftly deconstructs boundaries: between genres, between worlds, between mundane and entirely alien existences. Well-known tales are reshaped in Kiernan’s distinct style—Beowulf in ‘The Sea Troll’s Daughter,’ King Kong in ‘The Ape’s Wife’—while characters as familiar as an artist struggling with a painting, in ‘Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash,’ or a science writer researching an article, in ‘One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm),’ are plucked from the ordinary and set down in the uncanny. Those interested in exploring… or in transcending genre and other boundaries, will enjoy this collection.”

From Locus Online:
“I’ve come to believe that Kiernan can write anything, as long as it’s dark. Actually, I think she could write anything at all, but mostly it seems to come out in some shade or other of dark, although she could well do something sunny and cheery just to show me up. What she’s given us here, on the surface, is a spy thriller, and one that should satisfy readers of that genre; the details of craft and wetwork convince. Like many such works, it contains strong critique of the activities of agencies like X and Y, whose overlords are shown as regarding them as a chess game, bloodless, where their ends justify the worst of means. And, as is often the case in reality, their activities resulting in situations far worse than those they set out to prevent. The black helicopters of the title are usually identified as symptoms of paranoia and conspiracy theory, but we know all too well, particularly with recent whistleblower revelations, that there really are black drones up in the skies, and paranoids often do have people out to get them. In this respect, this is a very timely work…But the story is also dark science fiction, which adds considerably to its complexity.”

From Far Beyond Reality:
The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan is a collection that, to be honest, intimated me somewhat, displaying such a richness of content and a mastery of technique that I felt a bit helpless trying to capture it in a review. Regardless, I hope my brief thoughts about these stories will offer you some motivation to check them out, and maybe some fodder for thought or discussion once you’ve read them. This is an excellent collection with a consistently recognizable authorial voice, giving it a strong sense of identity despite its wide variety of genres and narrative approaches. Highly recommended.”

Black Helicopters is Caitlín R. Kiernan’s first SF novella since 2004’s The Dry Salvages. Certainly one of her most ambitious tales to date, a narrative spanning one hundred and eighty-six years exposes a labyrinthine underworld of global conspiracy, secret societies, synchronicity, chaos theory, and interdimensional apocalypse. As a horrific plague unfolds on the shores of New England, two shadowy agencies are pitted against one another in a race to understand the consequences of a psychiatrist’s bizarre experiment involving a pair of albino twins. In this “game of chess,” even the most minute act sends infinite ripples through eternity, the struggle shaping the history of the future.


Vincent Chong
Caitlin R. Kiernan
280 pages
United States
Out of Print