LONG and SHORT by Michael Blumlein Shipping!

18th Feb 2024

LONG by Michael Blumlein

Michael Blumlein was one of the most singular writers to be associated with the science fiction genre. Active from the 1980s until his death in 2019, he produced a body of work notable for its literary ambition, its urbanity, its depth and breadth of subject matter, and its sly deadpan humor.

He wrote several novels, but the short story and the novella were central to his art. Long and Short collect Blumlein's singular examples of less-than-novel-length fiction.

A medical doctor and San Francisco native, Blumlein’s profession and locale deeply informed his fiction. The physician and the author were fascinated by the human body, mind, and spirit, and their always complex connections. These two perspectives on the same subject, clinical and compassionate, created a unique parallax.

Long includes all of the longer stories and novellas Blumlein published in his lifetime. They come from the last decade of his career, displaying his mature mastery of craft, generosity of spirit, and unbounded imagination. “California Burning” concerns a son’s attempt to come to terms with his father’s difficult, perhaps alien, legacy. “Longer” is a brilliant, penetrating short novel about an alien artifact that interrogates the nature of life, and how much is enough.

Short includes all of the shorter fiction Michael Blumlein published in his lifetime, spanning four decades. It includes one previously unpublished story, “Passenger,” and one never before reprinted, “Softcore.” Arranged chronologically, the stories afford a clear view of Blumlein’s evolution as a writer.

The earlier stories from the ’80s are tinged with horror, viewed with a clinical eye; “The Brains of Rats,” “Tissue Ablation,” and “Shed His Grace” are legendary for their power to disturb. The later stories, like “The Big One,” “Isostasy,” “Know How Can Do,” and “Twenty Two and You” reveal a mastery of craft and a generosity of heart toward every variation of the human (and nonhuman) condition.