They appeared at the crepuscular hour, as shadows on the forested slopes.
Starving deer startled from the western escarpment, and lost sheep were chased from the dale to the east as the dark forms descended into the valley in search of the party between the hills.
Amongst the ghostly courses were diverse forms of body and mind – indentured and independents, performers and predators, actors and existentialists, lawmen and outlaws, the motherless and the over-suckled. Many were sickly, palsied or wounded. Some hustled, some labored and many others approached warily, feeling an inexplicable apprehension.
Those that descended fully found a sun-starved gorge of blasted sand filled with a cloud of moonlit fog. Upon sight, many more turned back from which they came.
The remaining gathered in the thickening dusk on each side of the basin, facing down the billowing fog.
“Hello?” offered a crannied voice from the west.
“Who’s there!” demanded a bestial accent from the east. “Friend or foe!”
The syllables rang off the hills.
A long silence settled. In the liminal moment of broken discourse, more turned away – in fear or anger – cursing the valley as they went from which they came. Those that stayed stood still before the sunken cloud, entranced with presence of the unknown.
One individual was animated by the floating mystery – his name was Al, a young man of dark hair and soaked, black eyes with the build of any young man his age.
Al looked up at the hill and saw lights glowing at the ridges.
He refocused on the cloud, and, overcome with a feeling for what lay beyond, Al stepped into the twitching brume and disappeared.
Word of the young man’s act networked through the murmuring crowd, with much confusion over the details of what happened. People ran wild with varied accounts, shouting and gesticulating violently. Individuals bearing false witness contradicted claims of the man’s precise actions, appraisals of his appearance and conjecture of his intent.
A young woman stepped forward, pointing back at the eastern slope: “He came from the east!”
A wild-haired outlaw shoved through the crowd and shouted at the cloud: “No! He came with me, from the west!”
A wizened voice strained: “He led me from the ridge to this very spot!”
The cacophony of voices echoed off the valley walls. The cloud thinned from the commotion, peeling off in a thousand wisps until the crowd was an assembly of disoriented strangers twisting to remember which direction they’d come from.
* * *
The cries died as Al shuffled forward through the mist.
He viced his temples. A magnetic threshold filled his head with tinny static. He could not see his own arms, or even feel his body.
Al continued onward, his head singing with pain.
Knocking came from the slushed gray darkness.
A rhythmic beating.
The sound rose free from the static and feeling returned to Al’s chest down to his hands and feet.
The gray dissipated around him to reveal a simple two-storey dwelling with beige weather siding. The foundation of the house was half-sunk on unsettled dirt, littered with trash and shattered glass caught in dead shrubbery. The windows were covered with black plastic wood shutters. The house pulsed with music, oscillating theta notes married to an electric tempo.
Al stopped to scan the sky. It was warm night, stark with starlight. The moon had displaced the dusk to deliver the full depth of space. Stars danced over the smoking valley, and the Zodiac turned swiftly. He tracked the images in his mind, connecting the full canon of stars from the great bear, winged horse and sea-goat to the harp, crab and charioteer.
The images dissolved as the static returned and scrambled Al’s sight, striping his eyes with broken pixels as if some phantom, barely audible frequency was broadcasting to impede his senses.
It was coming from the house.
Al went to the entrance, where a heavy black metal door was open behind by a tin storm door. Umbras rolled in ocher candlelight beyond the mesh screen. Voices – shallow laughter and mild arguments – fought over the ambient music.
An impish man in a cloudy plastic mask appeared at the threshold. His sunken eyes flashed green behind the screen. “Your invite?”
The crannied words fogged his mask.
Al reached into the pocket of his dress pants and produced a folded note embossed with cursive script.
Party in the Uncanny Valley
The imp reached around the door and snatched it.
He looked it over and opened the door fully. “You’re late.”
Al stepped into a low-ceilinged foyer before a long room filled with chattering guests. Underwater strains of music – an electronic wavering something near a samba – seeped from somewhere, undercutting the crowded talk in the dimly lit space.
The heavy door sucked shut behind him as the masked imp scurried up a set of stairs rising from the near corner.
Al rounded the chattering partygoers. The room was carpeted with beige shag rug, frayed and uneven where it met the baseboards. The walls were strewn with bubbling beige wallpaper and sparsely decorated with stock pictures of spoons and landscapes of a distant green pasture. Small, mirrored wall sconces lit the space every few yards with electric ocher candlelight.
Crude outlines of figures on the opposite wall loomed at the periphery of the crowd. Flickering eyes caught and refracted light from the darkness.
He stayed along the perimeter. The space was oddly familiar, with the sparse furniture of a material existence – a set of cushioned loungers and plastic-treated leather couch forming an intimate box around a low black coffee table. A fluted glass decanter and six glass tumblers were filled with a clear blue anodyne liquid at the center of the table beside a stained card chessboard.
A swaying woman reached forward from the couch to remove a rook and replaced it with a bishop. She was nondescript, in black formal attire like the rest, though Al recognized her. Another actor he knew, or someone just like her.
He wiped his face. The atmosphere – the weak orange light, the tart smell of sweetened liquor and low bandwidth of frequencies scrambled his ability to recall exactly who the woman was.
A staggering man bumped his arm.
“Is there a, uh, a buh-bathroom?” he slurred, washing Al’s face with a tart antiseptic stench. A blue cocktail sloshed in his hand.
Al looked at him dumbly. The man was dressed as he was, in a black dinner jacket and pants with a black tie that was loosened around his split collar. His black hair was creamed to his skull like a vinyl hood that shone blue in the fake candlelight.
The imp reappeared beside Al. A vulpine smile grew beneath his mask. “Right this way, sir.” The man coughed as the host led him through the crowd towards the far end of the room.
Al followed after them and quickly lost his way amongst the sea of people. The static returned, blurring his vision. He fought his way to the opposite wall where a chain drape fireplace glowed beneath a tonewood mantel. He tugged at his collar and crouched to look at the fire. Transparent blue flames licked over replica logs, radiating a delicious electric heat. The phantom static faded as his eyes bathed on the luscious light. He was for a long moment mesmerized, staring at the faux flames until the competing voices behind him dissolved into a soft blur.
He caught himself from falling forward and backed away, knocking into a group of guests.
The androgynous group of four or five looked at him blankly. Blue cocktails shone in their hands.
“Can we help you?” asked a raven-haired woman. Her eyes were a flat, lifeless black tinged with blue.
There was, again, something familiar about her voice.
Al fled back towards the entrance and gripped a bannister at the base of the staircase. A lingering scrim of blue fire hung on his eyes.
An angle of stark white light cast down the staircase from the second floor. The thick feeling flushed from his head, clearing his eyes and ears of sound in the momentary width of illumination.
A man’s silhouette stood at the top of the stairs.
The cacophony resumed as the door closed behind him.
Al placed his foot on the first step. His foot made a hollow thud.
“No, no…” The man raced down wiping his hand along the bannister. “Ah!” He bit the base of his thumb and gently turned Al away from the stairs.
“I’m sorry, it’s just…” He gestured at the second floor, a sunken hallway thick with darkness. “No guests upstairs, please.”
A trickle of blood showed on the inside of his thumb.
“Excuse me.” The man wiped his hand on his tattered grey blazer and raised it to Al. “Burris told me you were here. Welcome. I’m David.”
Al took his hand. His deep-set eyes flared green in the weak light. His forehead was ridged with a double prominence, pleated deeply between and underscored with wilted grey eyebrows. A mess of broken capillaries showed at the point of his nose, which was long and broad like a cracked arrowhead.
David hid his bleeding hand in the back pocket of his blue jeans and shrugged to hide a rippling tremor. “I like to host a little party once in a while, invite some locals. Have guests come and enjoy themselves.”
The top half of his ruined face was sickly pink, while his neck was black as mold, reaching over his jaw and stopping at his chin. His once sturdy, square features suggested strength before his growing sickness.
David clapped Al on the shoulder and guided him back into the party towards the rear of the house. He spoke in his ear over the din: “Let’s fix you a drink, Al.”
Al watched him curiously before following. There was still something familiar about the house and its occupants. But David was someone he was sure he’d never met.
They reached a windowless kitchen lit by a naked bulb hanging from a fixture with exposed wires. The room was unfinished with bare balsa wood cabinets over a formica-top counter and metal sink. A metal trashbin beside the counter was half-filled with discarded food. A mask showed in the bin, a flesh colored veneer face spattered with blue vomit. Tiny finishing nails and sawdust remnants were strewn at the baseboard.
“Excuse us,” smiled the host. “We’re remodeling.” He stepped to a battered white refrigerator. An ornately carved maple brown door was set in the wall beside it.
David opened the freezer and took out a clear bottle of blue liquor. “A special cocktail we made up, for the party. Guests seem to love it.” He set the bottle beside the sink and went into a cabinet for a glass tumbler. Plastic trays on the counter were piled with crudités of obese, sticky drupe fruits, crumbling mushrooms, eggplant discs, and other sliced vegetables on the fringe of being edible. A small cup of coagulating cream dressing sat in the center.
“Here you are.” David handed him a full glass. “Enjoy.”
Al raised the drink to his face. The fizzing blue tonic smelled of candied solvent.
The host drank a matching glass and smacked his lips. “Ahh, that’s the stuff. Put some hair on your chest!” He laughed and then coughed into his fist.
Al tasted the cocktail. It was saccharine with a sharp aftertaste, like sweet bleach. Warmth spread through his head and chest. It was indeed very good.
His eyes were drawn back to the elaborate door. The frame molding seemed to be vibrating with a magnetic pulse.
David went to the door and turned a heavy lead knob, opening it wide. A dense blue light cast from the bottom of a staircase, emitting a calming silence that drowned out the music and garrulous conversation of the guests.
David gestured at the threshold. “Go ahead if you like.”
A laughing man and woman entered the kitchen and stopped silent. Their black formal wear was sewn to the contour of their sleek, matching frames.
The woman came forward. Her face was still.
The man whispered at her back: “What is it?”
David waved them forward. “Guests are more than welcome to go down,” he smiled. “Please, go ahead.”
The woman brushed past Al and stepped down onto the stairs. The man followed, expressionless.
Their feet made no sound at they descended.
David closed the door behind them and looked at Al as he held the knob.
The clash of sounds returned.
After a moment he reopened it. There was only the glowing blue.
Al set his drink on the counter as the sound ebbed again.
The host’s smile twitched. “Later then.”
He closed the door softly and left the kitchen.
Al stood fixated on the door. The dark maple was polished satin brown, ribbed with irregular cross sections of recessed panels topped by an ornate crown that unfurled from left to right in beveled ellipses. There was a beautiful logic to it Al could not diagnose. It was flawed – asymmetrical, blemished at the corners – but of great aesthetic quality.
He stepped close to the door and wiped his palm across the wood. It was cool and dense and hummed against his palm.
A narcotic pang sang down Al’s spine.
He turned to see a young woman. She was small and sharply boned in her arms and shoulders. Her porcelain face was a symmetrical oval with short-cropped black hair tucked behind her ears. Her big black eyes radiated a unique autonomy.
She sipped a blue cocktail and shrugged. “What?”
Al stood dumb.
After the long moment, her eyes drifted towards the door.
She floated past Al and stood close to it.
A scar at the base of her neck descended into the back of her black dress.
She reached for the knob.
Al stepped beside her and held the door shut.
She surfaced from a reverie and blinked at him. “What is it?”
Al took the drink from her hand poured it out in the sink.
She launched at his face. “Hey!”
He twisted the faucet. There was no water.
He threw the glass in the trash and turned back to face her.
She stared angrily, waiting for him to speak.
She spasmed with a frission. Her eyes widened. “You’re him,” she gaped. “You’re Al!”
There was a familiar exactness to her voice, a perfect evenness to her face. The epidural pang he felt upon hearing her voice was an instant affinity for her, and the affinity stayed coursing in his spine.
“I’m Alice,” she said, taking his arm. “Come, we’ve been waiting for you.”
Alice led him into the sea of guests. Al struggled to process the sudden intimacy with the dainty stranger. The atmosphere colluded against him. The incessant babbling, the electric fire, the pervasive smell of sweet liquor – the underwater swells of zither and moog organ swimming around syrupy bass chords. He could not focus.
They continued through the crowd. Suave figures glided past in dark formal wear, saving the color for their show of personality, which many seemed eager to express after long hours of work. All were drinking blue cocktails in a dozen or so groups of four to six people, each in animated conversation. Most huddled in the center turned towards the fireplace with their backs to the spectral figures wallowing in the anonymity of shadow beyond the reach of the blue firelight.
The most garrulous were noticeably old. The younger guests behaved with a kind of ghostly verisimilitude, appearing happy with fixed smiles, swept hair and giclée patinas to their skin. Yet their tones were without spontaneity – tendentious, presupposed. A mimetic catch bin of pleasantries and formal gestures caught between genuineness and a doll-like rigidity.
Al caught snippets of discourse amongst the glut of words, ranging from rhetorical to erudite to trailing off in an empty lorum ipsum of fabricated colloquy.
Static blipped across his eyes as Alice led him past a tall bald man wearing an earpiece winking a slow, steady pattern of glaring red light on the side of his head. His more diminutive partner was speaking up at him in a shrill voice, to which the bald man was merely nodding.
“I’ve had great success this year!” shouted the small man.
Al turned away from the incessant blink, one more signal on the muddle of frequencies swamping his senses.
Alice regripped his arm and grimaced at the flashing light. “I mean if you’re not fielding calls…” She guided him away and stood flush against his chest to speak over the din: “Are you okay?”
He was speechless in her eyes. There was a potency in her voice. She was far stronger than her frame.
She pulled him toward a circle of eight at the very center of the party. The group of five women and three men were well-matured, august even, relative to the automatons surrounding them.
The music was thickest here, oozing from the dimples of drop-panel ceiling tiles, but still subliminal to conversation – a synthesized waltz equalized to anesthetize the atmosphere. The sounds stole upon his ears, carrying an indistinct tangle of surreptitious oscillations that pooled in his head like a coiling worm, clouding his ability to isolate the words spoken amongst the ring of guests.
Al inferred patterns in their speech. They talked in order, clockwise, in a measured tenor that was syntactically rigid, spiking on end syllables, suggesting anecdotal, first-person narratives used as allegory for self-aggrandizement or diagnosis of moral truths. The declarative sounds prompted the listeners to nod. They were familiar, as a group. Perhaps they were actors, like him.
Alice timed a gap in the discourse and drew Al into the circle. “Everyone, this is him.”
A modish woman with a black cocktail hat pinned over black bangs broke from the circle and came to his feet. Her face stretched in a surprised grin. “Al?”
Her black pupils were dim beneath her languid eyelids.
She said again: “The Al?”
Alice nudged him forward. “Yes.”
The woman held out her gloved hand. “My name is Calpurnia.” She batted her thick eyelashes, savoring the pronunciation. “So nice to finally meet you, Al.”
Alice raised his elbow to meet her hand.
Calpurnia held his fingers as she leaned away and ranked him from head to toe. “What a specimen…what posture, what contour.” She scanned his face: “Oh, what skin…” she said. “Virginia, look at those eyes!”
A blonde version of Calpurnia crept up and leered in awe at his eyes. “Oh, my!”
A thin man in a vested suit came close to his face. “We’ve been waiting for you, Al.”
Calpurnia gestured at the others with her cocktail. “Yes, we’ve been marveling at your intrepid act earlier this evening. It’s already become legend.”
Al realized they had been telling his story – recounting his passage into the cloud. Their stories were about a brave decision to cross a threshold in the face of unknown circumstances – his decision. The settings and passageways were different, but it was, in essence, the same story.
The thin man cocked his head. His inky eyes were saturated blue outside the pupil. “Do you not recognize us?”
Calpurnia sniggered. “Of course he knows who we are!”
They laughed as a group, wafting a pong of toxic blue-liquor.
A voice bellowed, “Look at you.” A burly man in a dark brown suit came forward and patted Al on the neck. “What a piece of work.”
“Fendicks,” blurted Al.
The man gave him a wry smile. “Nice to meet you, son.”
A backstory to the man unfurled in his mind. Fendicks, 62 years old, a large, boxy frame but not overweight, a good company man whose antiquated accounting template was sufficient for any good business program.
Fendicks went back to his place amongst the circle and drank the remainder of his drink. Liquor dribbled onto his chest as he grinned.
Calpurnia pulled Al to the center and called out to the room: “To Al!”
The mass of guests turned and raised their drinks.
It came in a synthesized wave: “To Al!”
The room drank in unison.
The party contracted around Al, and Alice negotiated a surge of introductions. The strangers approached filtered forward in an orderly phalanx. Most reached to simply touch his hand before peeling away.
Al suddenly knew each of them upon contact, their name and profession, as if their very being were transferred from their skin to his. Several actors, many in business or corporate training.
A foppish old man with a plum colored cravat came forward and took Al’s hand in both of his: “I just want you to know how brave you were striding into the fog like you did. You’re an inspiration.”
Al nodded. His name was Morton, another accountant from east of the valley.
Blue flickered in the man’s eyes before releasing Al’s hand and walking off.
The wave of greetings finally subsided, and Calpurnia came close to touch his face. Her eyes drooped as she smiled drearily. “Al, it’s just so great to -”
Her eyes shut.
Al stepped away. Calpurnia stayed frozen, her hand in the air, cupped to the contour of his cheek.
The music thickened and the crowd went back to their formations, spinning like gears into tight circles of conversation.
Calpurnia suddenly woke. “- meet you.” She turned and rejoined her group.
A saw-toothed static scrambled his thoughts.
The flashing red light was there, stuck in the head of the bald man.
His small partner hollered up at him: “I’ve had great success this year!”
Al shielded his eyes and turned away, feeling something near sickness.
An eyebrowless old woman intercepted him. “Nice of you to show.” She sipped her cocktail and stood beside him to speak at his shoulder. “Good thing. I didn’t think you existed.”
Al searched for Alice. Static blotted his vision.
The woman coughed. “Don’t worry. I’m sure it will be nice.”
Al looked down at her stark white face. She averted her eyes and took a long sip. “Excuse me. It’s just that Wilson and I have been waiting all year for this.”
An old man with lint on the shoulders of his black blazer came forward and took her drink. “I’m sorry. She’s feeling out of sorts.”
He handed Al her drink and led the woman away.
Al stood alone for a long moment. He felt eyes upon him, from the perimeter of polarized guests huddled near the far corners of the room.
He started towards them.
A trio of men blocked his way.
“Ah, see – he is drinking,” said one.
Another laughed. “Ha ha, someone said you weren’t. I thought, maybe at the moment he isn’t, but not entirely. That would suggest there was something wrong.” He gave a rigid laugh.
“I hope not.” Said the third as he tasted the brim of his glass. “Oh, my.” He smiled at his drink. “I must say I don’t think I’ve ever tasted something so…”
“Divine,” finished the first.
The second winked at Al. “That’s the third time he’s said that.”
They mimicked whimsical laughs.
Al bent to put down the drink on the floor and passed between them.
Burris appeared at the perimeter. His gossamer mask was fogged with sweat. “Hello, Al.” His sunken eyes were pinned with nails of red light.
He held out a fresh cocktail. The black blight was creeping upon his wrist. “David wanted to make sure you had a drink.”
Al ignored him and approached looming lineup of dark figures.
A hunched, childlike man with long, chalk-black hair was caught halfway between the wall and the room, miming lively conversation with someone that wasn’t there.
He bent to the man’s ear and spoke over the music. “How do you know David?”
“I don’t,” said the cambered man, looking at nothing. “But he is a poor host, you’re right.” He coughed into his fist. There were minute cavities in his hand, where cavities were not supposed to be. “Or the embryo of a good one.” He wiped his face with a soiled handkerchief. His hairline was mildewed, peeling. A tiny worm peeked at his temple and receded into his hair.
The music failed to register beyond the reach of the firelight as Al continued along the shadowed row of outcasts. Each was uniquely grotesque. There was a mouthless golem with a withered arm, a hunchbacked glutton gnawing his own wrist, a mumbling woman whose face was falling apart like wet paper.
The dark corner was occupied by a towering ogre with clayey gray skin. Its mouth was caked with a black substance, thick like nougat.
The giant reached at Al’s face and wiped clotted blood across his cheek.
It smiled shattered, rotting teeth.
“Al!” Alice’s call was distant as he stood face to face with the towering beast.
The ogre burst out in a gross, anguished laugh that flecked blood on Al’s lips.
Alice took his arm. “Al!”
He hid her at his back and fit into the nook of the conjoining walls, displacing the bleeding ogre. There was no sound at all in the corner.
Alice came flush against his chest. “Al?”
The ogre loomed behind them.
She reached to wipe his face. “Are you bleeding?”
Al caught her hand and interlaced her fingers. A pleasing sickness swelled in his chest and he spoke words he had only imagined speaking. “It feels like…”
The weak blue dulled around her irises. Her face fell, level at his chest.
Al ducked to see her. “Alice?”
She reanimated with a panicked voice: “Where am I?” She quavered, looking around at nothing as if newly blind.
Al saw clearly in the vacuum of silence. He had opened himself to her, and with his expression of feelings came the full scope of his thoughts. He had infected her with doubt. The doubt about the host, the party, the valley itself.
Alice pushed out off his chest and shot into the crowd in the direction of the kitchen.
Al hurried after her, knocking guests out of the way to reach the kitchen.
She stood holding the door open, bathing in the blue.
He ran to slap it shut. “Alice.”
Her face trembled as she tore at his splayed fingers. “Let go!”
She twisted his forefinger, snapping it backwards at the knuckle.
Al let go and she slipped quickly around the door.
The door sagged open in her wake, showing only an empty set of stairs and the warm blue glow. Silence washed over him.
Al felt the wall as he walked down the steps. He stopped halfway and looked back.
The living room was engulfed in flames. The frightened crowd was screaming in muted horror. A throng of guests fled into the kitchen, knocking Al to the bottom of the stairs as they barreled down the steps. Feet trampled his back in a soundless chaos.
Al sat up to see the light as the mass passed over him. Deep waves of overwhelming pleasure radiated on his face, numbing his arms and legs and drawing his consciousness like a magnet.
He shielded his eyes and fought backwards up the stairs, climbing from the narcotic undertow as several more rushed past and disappeared fully into the blue.
He crawled over the threshold and kicked the door closed.
Feeling crashed back into his body. Static scratched across his eyes as he stood and turned to face the dark red inferno. The fireplace vomited red flames and the wall candles burned in fiery red jets. The bald man was collapsed on the couch, his earpiece stuttering purple under the flames. The drapes behind him were burst in a sheet of fire that grew to the ceiling.
Calpurnia stood at the center of the room, her tongue spasming like a cat lapping milk.
The infernal music droned underneath it all.
Fendicks lumbered from the flames and collapsed on the kitchen floor. His head and neck were badly burnt. Al watched as he clamored for the door on his knees and held the knob to stand.
He threw open the door and stumbled halfway down the stairs.
He stopped to look back at Al. His face was a melted pink mask.
Al hurried to slam the door shut.
The knob twisted as the old man’s fist pounded weakly on the other side.
Al held it closed until beating subsided and the knob went still.
He went back to the burning room. The bald man was a black corpse sopping with flames as the couch burned beneath him. The drapes had fallen, revealing a flat wall of rusted iron. Riveted metal planks showed as the carpet burned away. The monsters cowered in the corners like a mass of panicked animals.
David stood at the bottom of the stairs on the other side of the room, waving at him to turn back. “Get downstairs!”
Flames licked at Al’s shins as he walked towards him.
David swept a pen knife from his back pocket. “Stop!”
Al reached the stairs and held the bannister.
The host sprang and drove the knife into his chest.
Static scratched across Al’s eyes.
David escaped up the stairs. A heavy door slammed.
Al continued up to the landing, where the red flames showed a knobless metal door sunk flush in the wall.
He turned and went back down, calmly. Fire stripped away the carpeting on the bottom stairs, showing prefabricated plywood steps.
Al stood in the burning room with the knife in his chest.
The house swelled with incendiary heat.
The monsters sat against the base of the wall, crouched in fear or slumped waiting to die. The bleeding ogre stood smiling in the corner as the flames raged around him.
Al’s eyes crashed with static as the smoke thickened. He felt his face. His skin dripped like water onto his shoes.
He walked to the kitchen and opened the door. The blue glow was a pixelated purple.
Flames licked at his back.
Al stepped past the threshold and pulled the door shut behind him.
* * *
He woke standing on a plain of cracked soil under a vast, cloudless sky that was either dawning or dusking. Dim stars sat in the purple firmament, disconnected, patternless.
A sprawling green pasture lay on a hill in the far distance under the betwixted sky.
He touched his face. His skin had hardened over.
He started towards the hill, covering a great distance but not nearing the pasture.
The stars remained fixed as he walked.
After several more distances, he stopped and sat, looking out at the verdant rise.
Al looked and kept looking until, finally, he couldn’t see.
Twenty-four short stories, exclusive afterwords, interviews, artwork, and more.
From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom, not fear. EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer.
EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.
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