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by David R. Bunch, foreword by Jeff VanderMeer
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
“As if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated,” wrote Brian Aldiss of David R. Bunch’s work. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and ’70s, these mordant stories, though passionately sought by collectors, have been unavailable in a single volume for close to half a century. Like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, Bunch coined a mind-bending new vocabulary. He sought not to divert readers from the horror of modernity but to make us face it squarely.
This volume includes eleven previously uncollected Moderan stories.
PraiseGreat writers do two things at one and the same time: they bring us more fully into the world around us and they open worlds behind that visible, everyday one. They make us profoundly uncomfortable. I still approach these stories with a singular mix of anticipation and apprehension. No writer has ever made me more uncomfortable than David R. Bunch.
A mean treat. I’ve long felt [Bunch] was one of the most undersung and ill-known landmarks in sf...oh what intensity at the focus, what idiosyncrasy, what a one roaring diamond glimpse.
—James Tiptree, Jr., Letter to Ursula K. Le Guin
This collection gives Bunch’s cybernetic vision of the future new life for a new generation of science-fiction readers. Almost a half-century after these stories were originally released, the thematic power of Bunch’s vision still resonates, the narrative equivalent of a new-metal alloy punch to the gut. A disturbing, stark, and deeply thought-provoking collection of stories chronicling humankind’s demise into heartless automatons.
[Bunch’s] lasting influence stems in part from his grandiloquent and oft-absurd narratives, but more directly from his playful and impressionistic language…. A fascinating amalgam of existential reflection, social critique, and a boundless wonder at the foolish extremes to which men will turn in their quest for macho certainty.
Jeff VanderMeer’s perceptive introduction, couched in Bunchian idiom, offers valuable insights. This is a steely view of a robot-dominated future.
Bunch is possibly the most dangerous visionary of all those assembled here.
A writer whose work I admire vastly. And a writer who has, oddly enough, barely received the acclaim due to him.