"A serious writer who doesn't shirk the full complexities of the tasks he sets for himself, a writer of deep human insight, powerful visionary imagination and masterful prose." —Publishers Weekly

"It never ceases to amaze me just how fine a writer Michael Bishop is, and he continues to top himself with each successive work, forcing a reviewer to worry that the superlatives will run out long before Bishop's talent does . . . I strongly recommend his work even to those who generally shy away from science fiction."
— Paul Granahan, The Monthly Book Review



Brighten to Incandescence is the second Golden Gryphon Press short-fiction collection from Nebula Award-winning author Michael Bishop, whom author and physicist Gregory Benford calls "one of the foremost lyrical voices in science fiction." These seventeen hand-picked stories, Bishop's favorites from his previously uncollected works, include the early "A Tapestry of Little Murders" (1971), the tale of a murderer's attempted escape along a (literal) road to self-destruction, to the more recent "Help Me, Rondo" (2002), a poignant perspective on the life and times of Hollywood B-movie actor and acromegalic Rondo Hatton.

Nearly all these stories appeared in small-press publications and anthologies. Gathered here for the first time in one place, they provide a fresh smorgasbord of some of Bishop's most delicious offerings. In "An Unexpected Visit of a Reanimated English Woman," the author converses at length with the specter of Mary Shelley. A medical missionary, tortured by government thugs, discloses her dying wish in "With a Little Help from Her Friends." In "The Procedure," a traveler to a world of institutionalized rationality undergoes an operation that will free his mind, and his body, from all tendencies toward faith and superstition. The disorienting "O Happy Day" shines a humorous light on our contemporary rat race and on a persistent interspecies antipathy. And "Last Night Out," a new story exclusive to this collection, lets us monitor the incongruous actions of two men shortly before they help unleash the horrific events of September 11.

From unconventional dog story ("Chihuahua Flats") to futuristic SF mystery ("Murder on Lupozny Station") to Vietnam-era dark fantasy ("The Tigers of Hysteria Feed Only on Themselves") to unorthodox speculation on Christ's death ("Sequel on Skorpiós"), Michael Bishop speaks to us in a variety of lyrical voices. You have but to read, let go, and marvel.

With a 5000-word essay by the author on the genesis of the individual stories, an Introduction by Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Lucius Shepard, and a wraparound cover illustration by the author's son, Jamie Bishop.



"All of the stories [in Brighten to Incandescence] have a glow about them. Each story has a spark that is unique to the story. When they are taken together, in this marvelous anthology, they take on more than a glow, they begin to shimmer, they begin to brighten, and you can see the shine (incandescence?) that is the core of Michael Bishop and his writing."
— Barry Hunter, Baryon Magazine #90, Spring 2003


Finalist for the 2004 Townsend Prize: Outstanding Fiction Published by a Georgia Resident


Cloth, ISBN: 1-930846-16-9
Book #26

Out of Print


  • Read the Booklist review

  • Read the Locus Magazine review

  • Read the (Science Fiction) Chronicle review

  • Read the infinity plus review

  • Read the review in the Midwest Book Review

  • Read the SciFi Weekly review

  • Read the Washington Post Book World review


  • Read the Michael Bishop interview by Kilian Melloy on infinity plus


  • Read the complete text of short story "Chihuahua Flats"

  • Read the complete text of short story "O Happy Day"

  • Read the complete text of short story "Sequel on Skorpiós"


  • View the full wraparound dust jacket art by Jamie Bishop





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