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An interview with Michael Bishop

by Kilian Melloy


Michael Bishop is principally known for his speculative fiction, but to those familiar with his work it will come as no shock that he is also a poet whose work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Georgia Review and The Anthology of Speculative Poetry (Volume Three). An early collection of his poetry, Windows & Mirrors, epitomized the phrase 'slim volume,' being a chapbook limited to a run of 100 copies; a more recent volume of Bishop's verse, Time Pieces, had a somewhat larger printing. But there's a definite flavor and touch of the poetic to Bishop's writing even when he's not composing verse. Indeed, the virtues of poetry infuse his prose efforts: his story-craft is disciplined, euphonous, with even his longer works evincing a certain spareness and economy. Most mysterious is how Bishop pulls a story from notional mist, seeming to create it before the reader's eyes.

In the 2000 collection of four novellas, Blue Kansas Sky, Bishop spins his long-form tales from a kind of magical silk: a humming, unhurried, and gorgeously shapeful story is the end result each time. The kinship between the novella Cri de Coeur and the poetry that appears within the story in unmistakeable. In a kind of haiku showdown, two characters, Gwiazda and Sharif, frame their observations of the vast sky their ships move through, and sketch the universe, and their place within it, in a scant few lines, but the effortless grace of those stanzas echoes throughout the work as a whole. (Bishop recruited another writer and poet, Geoffrey A. Landis, to supply Sharif's haiku.) In the book's title novella -- nominated for the 2001 World Fantasy Award -- no verse appears as such, but the imagery stuns. Bishop writes of a boy entering adolescence, "Sleep he loved. He slept like a seed, continually probing and reorienting throughout the night." Just that simply, Bishop hits a multitude of nails on their heads: he nails the character, the story's coming-of-age tone and theme, and especially the very nature of adolescence. James Morrow, who wrote the collection's Introduction, declares that the final line of Blue Kansas Sky made him cry; one wonders how he got that far before shedding a tear at the pure skill and intrinsic poetry evident on each page.

Bishop's new collection, Brighten to Incandescence, repeats this astonishing trick over and over again in the course of its seventeen selections. Brighten to Incandescence: 17 Stories by Michael Bishop"Thirteen Lies About Hummingbirds" takes on an initially light-hearted courtship and follows it through its first fresh, inventive throes of happy intimacy and -- with a steadily darkening tone -- into a nightmare of visions and supernatural menace. Turn by turn, the story's atmosphere chills and suspense rises: how does Bishop do it?

"Chihuahua Flats" (available elsewhere in infinity plus) accomplishes a similar feat, though this time leading the reader not into ghostly horror, but rather through a tender love story graced by devotion that survives to recur in a visitation from beyond the grave. In the story, Bishop carefully creates a balance, and a creative tension, between the mundane particulars -- he sells dog food, she runs a Chihuahua farm; he falls in love with her green eyes and graceful figure, she with his raw-boned earnest nature -- and the unlikely climax, when a hovering shade (dressed up in a "haltertop, pedal pushers, and a wavery cape") appears to the bereaved husband to offer him a source of constant solace. Again, the exact method -- the specific locus from which the story's conviction, and ability to convince, emanate -- is somehow just out of sight, and yet present in each line.

There are a few stories in Brighten to Incandescence that embrace familiar science fiction scenarios -- time travelers end up as dinosaur food, leaving their children to fend for themselves in "Herding With Hadrosaurs," while in "Murder on Lupozny Station," an alien / human duo unravel a deep-space whodunit -- and there are a few tales that flirt with the conventions of speculative fiction, to revealing and self-satirising effect ("O Happy Day" is both a reversal of the accepted order of things and a rueful rumination on the cornucopia of life's frustrations and challenges that we like to call the rat race; meantime, "Simply Indispensible" is probably the funniest Aliens-As-God / Aliens-Bring-Doomsday riff ever), but many of these selections defy easy categorization. In "Sequel On Skorpiós," Bishop explores the idea that Christ's death and resurrection were cleverly staged -- only to turn the plot on its head in miraculous fashion. "Tithes of Mint and Rue" follows a former beauty as she flees the home town she's grown oh-so-tired of living in and joins a carnival, with extraordinary phenomena seeming to guide her way. And "The Tigers of Hysteria Feed Only on Themselves" is a wonderful compound of plot and setting, combining the uneasy psychology of horror with a sidelong look at American involvement in Vietnam -- a ferocious combination in Bishop's charge.

Perhaps the most compelling of the seventeen stories in Brighten to Incandescence is "Last Night Out," in which Bishop ventures into perhaps the most alien of any alien realm: the mind of one of the 9/11 terrorists, out for a final Earthly sojourn (in a strip bar, of all places) on the eve of September 10. There are many disquieting aspects and elements to this story -- the point of view, the discord between the terrorist's 'holy' mission and the seedy environment in which he finds himself, and -- most jarring, most fascinating -- the seemingly cynical, almost paradoxical attitude of his fellow terrorist, whose idea the visit to the strip bar is: "Good women are obedient," the narrator's companion states, as women dance and titillate; "Give them money and they'll do almost anything you ask." The so-called clash of cultures has never resounded so mightily as in this short and, in some ways, difficult work. It is a staggering accomplishment of imagination -- and, strange to say, of compassion.

Michael Bishop consented to an interview via email recently, in which he chatted about his new collection and its attendant concerns, among them religious faith, art, and a smattering of rock and roll.


Kilian Melloy: Your new collection, Brighten to Incandescence, gathers works that have never been included in a book of your stories before. In your Notes, you mention that you and editor Marty Halpern selected the stories according to their quality, and, to a degree, according to the whim of the moment. If you could change the table of contents for Brighten to Incandescence now, what would you leave out -- and what would you put in that didn't get included?

Michael Bishop: Actually, I pretty much like the collection as it stands. Marty Halpern had clear reasons for excluding certain pieces from this volume, and I tried to inhabit his point of view. For example, we did not include a story structured as a short drama -- "Spiritual Dysfunction and Counterangelic Longings; or, Sariela: A Case Study in One Act" -- because its format too closely resembled that of "Help Me, Rondo," a deliberate cross between a short story and a Hollywood screenplay. I believed that in a collection of the size of Brighten to Incandescence this slight similarity would not compromise either piece, but I agreed with Marty that "Help Me, Rondo" represented the more substantial effort, and I was not at all averse to giving way to his judgment. Let me note, too, that Marty put a good deal of thought into the order that the stories should fall in the text, weighing such matters as length, theme, tone, subject matter, and so on, and I think that the collection benefits tremendously from the play of contrasts and kinships evident in Marty's careful deployment of the various pieces.

KM: Some of the stories have been rewritten -- at least one of them fairly extensively -- for the new collection. Is it a common practice to revise short fiction when anthologizing?

MB: "Of Crystalline Labyrinths and the New Creation," my homage to and pastiche of R. A. Lafferty's short fiction, incorporates the most drastic revisions, almost all of them cuts. The story was grossly self-indulgent before, embarrassingly so, but now, after a severe line-by-line edit, I'm proud to lay claim to it again and happy to see the new version in print. Whether revising stories for publication in a collection is a common practice, however, I can't say. Clearly, gathering stories for a collection presents the author with a perfect opportunity to correct minor mistakes and to rethink and presumably eliminate elements that may have subtly, or conspicuously, marred the original version. Most of the changes that I made involved smoothing out obvious infelicities of style and tightening both my expository prose and my dialogue where they seemed insupportably slack. Still, a lot of the tweaking was minor.

KM: What role did your editor play in the revision of the stories? What does an editor actually do for a project like this, anyway?

MB: Marty, insofar as the revisions went, pretty much gave me the reins and let me run. But he is extraordinarily meticulous, always asking questions about word choices, spellings, my preferences in rephrasing an awkward or ambiguous sentence, and so on. In short, he worked with me in almost exactly the same way that the late Jim Turner, who founded Golden Gryphon Press after working for years for Arkham House, worked with me on my three books for Arkham, Blooded on Arachne, One Winter in Eden, and Who Made Stevie Crye? And I can't think of higher praise than that. I understand from other writers who have worked with Jim's brother, Gary Turner, that Gary is just as meticulous. The books that they have produced at Golden Gryphon reflect this close attention to detail and virtually shine as library-worthy artifacts.

KM: Given your occasionally minimalist punctuation and deft hand at naturalistic dialogue, Marty must possess a rapport with your writerly intentions that borders on telepathy. I think you even mention in your Notes something about other editors wrangling with you over punctuation issues.

MB: Actually, that doesn't happen often. Ed Ferman wanted me to place quotation marks around dialogue that I had inserted into the text naked, so to speak, and I complied because I was a young writer and didn't care to jeopardize a sale by insisting on my own way. Marty doesn't make that many suggestions, if I'm remembering this aright, about changes for my dialogue, and I don't think either one of us feels particularly "telepathic." We just do a lot of careful communicating, and he instigates the bulk of it because he is so careful about scrutinizing both my manuscripts (or e-mailed documents) and the proofs that we get back from Golden Gryphon's typesetter.

KM: How did you develop such a down-to-earth style of dialogue while avoiding a forced or artificial feel?

MB: Listening to people talk, and registering the way they talk, is a key. Recently, Jeri and I visited the small North Georgia town of Ellijay (which crops up in a poem by the late James Dickey), and we entered a dress shop in its business district because the shop is called Jeri's, and we seldom encounter the name "Jeri" exactly as my wife spells it. The woman running the shop willingly spoke to us about her business. She admitted that she was not the Jeri for whom it had been named. The shop had previously belonged to a woman named Geraldine, who had decided to call the place Jeri's (instead of Geraldine's or Geri's) because the spelling struck her as unusual and presumably more memorable. She then told us about how she had been working for an automobile dealership in town, but wanted a new occupation because the boss's wife showed up quite frequently in the office complaining, cursing, and ordering everyone about. Our long-suffering hostess explained that she started looking for a retail business of her own, and when she saw going-out-of-business signs in the windows of Jeri's Dress Shop, she circled the town square in her automobile -- she was driving a sum of money from the auto dealership to the bank -- and went looking for her mate, a partner in the local mortuary, to tell him the good news and to ask his permission to buy the shop. "My husband was outside spraying off the hearse," she said, and -- I couldn't help myself -- I had to turn aside while my own Jeri continued the conversation, fumble out the little memo book I carry in my shirt pocket, and jot down her words. "My husband was outside spraying off the hearse." A great line, a piece of authentic mountain dialogue, spoken naturally by a woman of obvious intelligence and charm, and therefore better than anything that I could make up. I'll have to work it into a story some day (if I haven't already), but now I must confess that some of my own dialogue is a good deal less authentic than this, and that I simply try to invent speech that sounds natural for the contexts that my stories provide, in the mouths of the specific characters that I've thrust into those stories.

KM: You state in your Notes on the stories that you feel the story "Thirteen Lies About Hummingbirds" "fall[s] just short of elegance." What about the story doesn't match your vision for it? And what could be done to make it perfect?

MB: If I knew, or could figure out, how to make the story perfect, I would do so. Believe me, I would do so in a minute. But some stories resist an author's most intense after-the-fact analysis. An unbiased outsider might get a better handle on the problem than the writer. (By the way, identifying such problems is usually part of what a good editor does.) Marty, if I'm not misrepresenting his take on "Thirteen Lies," liked the piece pretty well as it stood and did not share my sense of anomalous dissatisfaction with the ending (and maybe with a couple of the hummingbird "lies"), and in this case I acquiesced in his good opinion of it. And let me emphatically state here that I still have a real fondness for this story despite my confessed doubts. I have no doubt, incidentally, that a reviewer will eventually take pains to inform me of the exact nature of the problem, and if that reviewer doesn't also take inordinate glee in doing so, and hits the bull's eye, I'll rejoice in learning at long last the exact source of my discontent.

KM: Do reviewers actually contribute to your writing process in that way? I'd got the impression that authors tend to feel reviewers are out to get them with cheap swipes and a churlish refusal to "understand" their work!

MB: Forgive me, but there was at least a tincture of sarcasm in my previous reply. I don't think all reviewers are "out to get" the writers they review; in fact, I've had "good" notices that have annoyed me almost as much as have the uncomprehending or deliberately malicious slams. And even astute critics and reviewers often have axes to grind. As a consequence, the "solutions" that they may off-handedly, or even seriously, lay out for "problems" in your text probably have nothing whatever to do with the writer's original intentions for the piece. But miracles do sometimes occur....

KM: Two of your stories in the new collection have titles inspired by rock 'n' roll songs (and one envisions a Fab Four reunion, aided by hi-tech means). I've seen two or three other speculative fiction stories centering around The Beatles or John Lennon in the last year or so. (Besides your Lennon-as-hologram idea, there's the Allen Steele story "Graceland," set in Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld, which features Lennon; Spider Robinson's collection God Is an Iron boasts the story "Rubber Soul," about Lennon being thawed out from a secret deep-freeze facility.) Is this trope about resurrecting Lennon a generational thing -- or maybe a genre-ational thing? You must be a big Beatles fan in any case...

MB: I was a big Beatles fan. They arrived on the American music scene in late 1962, when I was a freshman at the University of Georgia and already immersed up to my still bangless forehead in the music of the Beach Boys, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and the most prominent Motown acts. The Beatles -- hard to believe now -- struck like a revelation, a musical epiphany, and we awaited each one of their new albums (as we also did those of Simon and Garfunkel, The Doors, The Mamas and Papas, and others) like cult members starved for sacred testimony. Rubber Soul, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road landed on us like fiery evangelical documents. And once I had started writing and publishing stories, I found Gregory Benford's Analog story "Doing Lennon" -- John Lennon in Analog! Wow! -- an inspiration to write a Beatles tale of my own. Greg's story appeared before Lennon was gunned down outside the Dakota Apartment Building, though, and I wrote my story after that event, when my ardor had cooled a good deal, and I was listening to less and less contemporary music. So, yes, this trope about resurrecting Lennon was and is a generational thing, and that gerund "resurrecting" ties right into the quasi-religious fervor with which many of us interfaced with music in those days.

KM: I'm struck by the many intimations of God or Divine Presence in your stories. There's "Sequel on Skorpiós," of course, in which you deal with a secret life of Jesus after his crucifixion; but even in "Tithes of Mint and Rue" there's what seems to be an Earth-Goddess figure (even if she is hermaphroditic); whereas events in "A Tapestry of Little Murders" seem geared toward some sort of Divine Judgment. Then there's "Simply Indispensable," in which an alien form of life comes just about as close as is possible to fulfilling the very definition of God. Do you wrestle with questions of belief? Is this a result of how much of literature has its source in the Bible? Is it all an accident (or is it all an accident?!) that so many of your stories have this subtext?

MB: I was an apostate Christian for a long time, probably from the time I read Hemingway and Faulkner as a young teenager to the early years of my marriage to a young woman (no longer quite so young, but still my wife) who embodied her Christian faith in everything she did, without overtly proselytizing. Over time, given Jeri's daily presence and the quiet influence of my equally devout grandmother (who died last spring at 103), and after immersing myself in New Testament study and a variety of theological texts, I came back to the faith of my childhood, albeit not without recurrent hiccups, glitches, and balks. "Lord, I believe," says a father with a demon-possessed child in the ninth chapter of Mark; "help my unbelief." I fully identify with this hopefully, if intermittently, credulous man.

KM: This very question of faith -- belief, unbelief -- arises in your story "The Procedure." If it were possible to remove religious impulses through surgery -- or gene therapy, or whatever -- do you expect very many people would actually want to lose those impulses? Even atheists must appreciate the sensation of "the numinous" when it finds them.

MB: I would think so. And so I would have to answer No to your question -- unless people found themselves, as does the protagonist of "The Procedure," in a society where any public show of "superstition" leaves them open to ridicule or even persecution.

KM: One striking thing about "The Procedure," I thought, was that you did not insist upon a necessarily "Christian" faith for your protagonist: as though the most important thing is to have belief, not so much what particular form or dogma that faith might assume.

MB: I think we all want to feel convicted, even if it's about our atheism, nihilism, or Orthodox Druidism. And I'm not being facetious here.

KM: Artists, in particular, seem to enjoy a feeling of connection with the Divine: writers or poets often say that they are not composing work so much as trying to take an adequate dictation from some outside source. Do you "channel" your work in this way, or is it all down to the hard work of building stories from scratch?

MB: I've had stories that have almost seemed to write themselves, and I've written stories that felt as if I were hauling rocks out of a pit in a metal bucket, hand over hand, at the end of a long scratchy rope. The older I've gotten the harder the work has seemed to become, but I've had no sense that readers are able to distinguish, very often, between stories that came like dispensations of grace and those that demanded excruciating effort.

KM: In the story "We're All In This Alone," a writer tracks a killer to an art museum -- to an exhibit of Francis Bacon paintings, specifically, which adds a horrific tint and texture to an already unsettling yarn. Why Bacon?

MB: Many people when they think of unsettling twentieth-century paintings, especially paintings more geared to personal angst than to blood and guts, think of Edvard Munch's The Scream. Well, I do, too, but I also think of the distorted images, the discomfiting chunks of flesh, and the disorienting papal screams recurrent in the work of the late Francis Bacon. I'm surprised, actually, that Bacon's work doesn't crop up more frequently in the fiction of speculative and / or horror writers (if I'm not simply ignorant of examples of such work), and I'd encourage writers wanting horrific inspiration to go online and take a virtual tour of a gallery of Bacon's paintings.

KM: More broadly, do you see Art (and the Artist) as reflecting and distilling what's already out there in the world -- or as pushing the culture in directions it might not otherwise take?

MB: I think that artists not only reflect and distill the good and the bad in the culture that has produced them, but also struggle to shape their cultures in forms of their own choosing, whether transgressive or harmonizing, and that a genuinely creative culture permits, perhaps even encourages, these competing aesthetic forms to knock elbows, bark shins, and bump heads. I might mention here that when I was in high school, I probably showed as much talent in the visual arts as I did in the literary, and that my son Jamie seems to have picked up that dropped stitch for me. He has an interesting sense of design and a real flair for computer graphics, and he did the striking wraparound cover for Brighten to Incandescence.

KM: I don't mean to belabor the issue, but your faith is of interest to the reader because it would seem to color so much of what happens with your characters: I had been especially struck, for example, by the change of heart exhibited by the character Kaz in "Cri de Coeur." Or, as another example, the sudden and complete forgiveness the bereaved mother, Mrs. Peacock, offers her ex-con brother-in-law in "Blue Kansas Sky," a forgiveness that happens at the very moment the reader might have expected her fury and resentment to reach a crescendo. When I first read these stories, these transformations seemed mysterious -- not without credibility, because they are handled with exceptional skill, but still rather inexplicable. If they are seen as a kind of allegory to the Christian faith, though -- perhaps as "conversions" to a kind of human "fellowship" where acceptance, reconciliation, and a constructive approach to differences among people are valued -- then those characters' sudden turnarounds are no less profound, but become easier to understand. (Or have I gotten it all wrong?)

MB: No, you don't have it wrong. I will say, however, that I wasn't consciously -- deliberately -- premeditatedly -- modeling Christian conversion, as embodied in Kaz's change of heart and Sonny Peacock's mother's forgiveness of her brother-in-law, in these two stories. I was simply writing about two characters responding to developing situations over time, in a way that one would hope such characters would respond, even if one might also expect them (from a pattern of past behavior or the direness of the current situation) to resist rather than to submit to transformation. And maybe I wrote as I did from having internalized a tenet of my faith, namely, that grace in fact exists and that our most human response to it is exactly the sort of "conversion" that you cite. I'd like to shoot down, however, the notion that my underlying and thus ulterior intent was to hector, proselytize, or frame a pat moral for either of these stories. If I worked from that motive, my work -- anyone's work, I'd imagine -- would devolve into propaganda.

KM: Though you have written stories set in space, they seem to be in the minority among your work. You seem to favor stories set on Earth, often in contemporary times, and they tackle tough social issues: Vietnam, South Africa, even, in your new original story "Last Night Out, " the events of September 11, 2001. Is the idea here to help the reader make sense of today's bewildering, sometimes panic-inducing world, much as futuristic sf might be meant to help us "rehearse" for the future? (Or is it more personal than that ... a form of therapy, maybe...?)

MB: Almost any creative writing, freely undertaken, acts as therapy, even when its ostensible purpose -- before the world, at least -- is just to make money or to impress persons whose admiration the writer desires. That said, I find wrestling with contemporary issues more emotionally rewarding than struggling with imaginary issues in a future setting that may or may not come to fruition. Usually, anyway. Which probably accounts for the fact that I wrote most of my off-planet stories as a young man. "The Procedure" is an exception to this rule, however, but the reader will eventually notice that the sf-nal otherworldly setting affords me a convenient way to deal with a spiritual issue symbolically, or maybe even allegorically.

KM: What's your feeling for the future of the space program in the wake of the Colombia tragedy? Is the loss of seven astronauts and a space shuttle going to cripple NASA? Should we heed this event as a sign that manned space travel is too exorbitant in material cost and risk to life?

MB: Recently Robert Pinsky, poet laureate of the United States, gave a talk at Columbus State University, about forty miles from my home in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and a student asked him his opinion of the pending war in Iraq. Pinsky prefaced his answer by avowing that his primary expertise lay in the area of language and that he could pretend to no special wisdom in the area of international politics. And then he answered the student's question, delighting some, who clapped, and annoying some others, who groaned aloud. Having said that, I think that our surviving shuttles are disasters waiting to happen, but I also think that the call of manned exploration -- whether of distant forests, Antarctica, the solar system, or the infinite reaches beyond -- is too siren-like for humanity to resist. We'll certainly find a way, even if it's a jury-rigged way, to put human beings on Mars, and perhaps before I'm too old to appreciate the accomplishment.

KM: You also write poetry, yourself. I have to say I loved the poetry you included in the story "Cri de Coeur," from your earlier collection Blue Kansas Sky. To what extent does poetry inform your fiction?

MB: You know, I'm not really sure. Quite a bit, probably. I got interested in good writing as much for its inventive word play as for its storytelling, and poetry appeals to the part of me that delights in finding words in unusual juxtapositions -- bright, jangly, and mind-altering. I still want them to make sense, mind you, and I don't want them in self-conscious, self-indulgent, and hence off-putting combinations, but I want them to make music as well as sense. I like storytellers who are also stylists, and vice versa, and that's why I gravitate to writers as diverse as William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, Ursula Le Guin, R. A. Lafferty, Lucius Shepard, and Karen Joy Fowler. Right now I have a mainstream novel circulating that incorporates five or six of the poems of an intelligent but extremely troubled twelve-year-old girl, Susannah Huckaby. I did the poems, of course, but I relished the challenge of casting them in language that a young woman like Sooz might employ. Finally, I'd hope that even in a prose narrative a bit of one's poetic sensibility shines through, if only to distinguish that work from a tax document or mere by-the-numbers journalism.

KM: In your story "The Unexpected Visit of a Reanimated Englishwoman," you do a fine job of analyzing Mary Shelley's recurrent theme of resurrection and the defeat of death. In the story, Shelley's interlocutor tells her that her writings are a form of wish fulfillment. But he also praises her as the founder of modern speculative fiction. Is it a fair assessment to say that at root, speculative fiction is a form of wish fulfillment -- whether the wishes being explored are base, crude, wondrous, or visionary?

MB: Interesting question. If the answer is yes, then I'd have to add that perhaps all fiction is, at root, a species of wish fulfillment, except that some stories are so violent, despairing, or satirical of current human institutions and practices that who in their right minds would wish for such manifestations of the degraded spirit? Of course, some fiction operates as outright warning, or as a call to ameliorative action, and that is often true in science fiction as well as in any other variety. So I think I'd rather say that all fiction, and all poetry, even when it deals with the cruder aspects of human existence, has an inescapable spiritual dimension. The act of writing, even when its subject matter repulses or deflates, almost always stands as an act of affirmation.

KM: Brighten to Incandescence was originally going to be a "Best of" collection. Might we still look forward to a "Best of Michael Bishop" from Golden Gryphon some time down the road?

MB: That would depend a great deal on how Brighten to Incandescence does for Golden Gryphon, and whether Gary Turner and Marty Halpern would like to take a chance on another Michael Bishop collection. Frankly, I can see where, commercially, they might prefer another gathering of previously uncollected stories to an omnibus volume of stories still available in other volumes.

KM: What are you working on now?

MB: I've spent this last semester, early February through early May, teaching a poetry-writing course to seven talented students at LaGrange College. I've written exactly one new work, a poem about Ursula Andress recently turning sixty-seven. But I've got a contemporary novel out to market and several mainstream stories, and I eventually hope to gather these non-sf, (mostly) non-fantastic stories in a collection called Other Arms Reach Out to Me. Meanwhile, readers can find my mainstream short story "Andalusian Triptych, 1962" in the second number of the anthology series Polyphony, my dark-fantasy novelettes "The Door Gunner" and "The Sacerdotal Owl" in the anthologies The Silver Gryphon (edited by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern) and Thirteen Horrors (edited by Brian M. Hopkins) respectively, and later, likewise respectively, in the magazines Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales. Another story of mine, "The Road Leads Back," will appear this fall in an anthology from the University of Georgia Press called After O'Connor: Contemporary Georgia Stories (edited by Hugh Ruppersburg), with a near-simultaneous appearance in Polyphony 3. Further, several of my poems will appear in Tom Piccirilli's anthology The Devil's Wine, and I've got a piece called "Menard's Disease" scheduled for Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts's humorous anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases. In addition, I hope to write a young-adult novel, a fantasy novella set in the South Pacific during World War II, and a memoir about my late father, for which I have the working title Scolding the Ayatollah.

© Kilian Melloy 2003.

Michael Bishop's collection Brighten to Incandescence: 17 Stories is published by Golden Gryphon Press (June 2003).

Brighten to Incandescence: 17 Stories by Michael Bishop
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