"Jeffrey Ford's The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories is the finest single author short story collection I've read in a decade. But everyone says that, so I'm not telling you something you couldn't hear somewhere else."
— Lou Anders, Senior Editor, Argosy
More praise for The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories:
"I don't know if Speculative Fiction is large enough to contain Jeffrey Ford for very long. But while it does, we have this book."
— Richard Bowes, author of the World Fantasy Award-winning "Streecar Dreams"
"But one [story] stands head and shoulders above the rest — "Creation," which originally appeared in the May, 2002 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. At the moment, that is hands down the best story I have read this year, and on the very short list of the best stories I have read in my life.
— Jay Lake, winner of the 2004 John W. Campbell Jr. Award for Best New Writer
When renowned writer Ashmolean loses touch with the fantasy world he has created, he pleads with his young assistant to visualize the story's end, enabling him to complete what will surely be his greatest novel ever. "The Fantasy Writer's Assistant," a finalist for the prestigious Nebula Award, is the title story to Jeffrey Ford's highly anticipated first short-fiction collection.
One tale written exclusively for this volume, "Bright Morning," recounts the search for a Kafka story that may be the key to an author's future success, but this story can only be found in an illusive—and quite possibly cursed—violet-bound edition. On an alien world in "Exo-Skeleton Town," humans dress in full-body protective exo-skins in the personas of old Hollywood movie stars, and barter old Earth movies for an alien aphrodisiac known as freasence. "The Delicate," a grisly tale about a creature that absorbs life essences, formed the genesis of Ford's award-winning "Well-Built City Trilogy." A young boy comes to terms with "Creation" when he molds his own "man" out of the detritus of a nearby forest; and in "High Tea with Jules Verne," an interview with the master fantasist Verne leads to a few unexpected revelations.
Jeffrey Ford mixes myths, dreams, and realities into the consistency of a well-blended fantasy story; he then adds a dash of the noir, a pinch of the sardonic, and seasons liberally with the profound. He's cooked up these sixteen delicacies just for your reading pleasure.
With an Introduction by author Michael Swanwick, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.
Cover art by John Picacio.
And even more praise for The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories:
"These are all exquisite fantasy plots which excel in the surprise ending: wonderful examples of Ford's genius."
— Midwest Book Review, August 9, 2002
"There are many things Ford does well — he consistently writes magnificent endings to his stories, endings which are seldom predictable and if they are then are so because they are perfect; he has a masterful ability to put just the right amount of ambiguity into a story to make it haunting; he often creates situations and settings that seer themselves into your memory — but what I most admire in his autobiographical stories is his ability to make them feel informal, off-the-cuff, even chatty, when in reality every sentence is integral to the whole. . . ."
— Matthew Cheney
Winner of two 2003 World Fantasy Awards:
Best Short Story of the Year (for "Creation") and Best Single-Author Collection of the Year!
Publishers Weekly starred review and a PW "Best Book of the Year" selection.
"Exo-Skeleton Town" — winner of the French 2005 Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire for best translated story!
Trade paperback, ISBN 978-1-930846-57-9
$14.95 postpaid for U.S. orders only
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Read the starred Publishers Weekly review
Read the review in SFRA Review
Read Matthew Cheney's commentary in his blog "The Mumpsimus"
Read the Paul Di Filippo review in Asimov's
Read Jay Lake's review from Tangent Online
Read the SciFi Weekly review
Read the SF Site review
Read the Jeff Ford interview by Nick Gevers on SF Site
Read the Nick Gevers review on Locus On-Line
Read the mini James Sallis review in Fantasy & Science Fiction
Read the Richard Bowes review on amazon.com
Read the Booklist review
Read the review from Magill Book Reviews
Read The Washington Post Book World review
View the original sketch and wraparound dust jacket art by John Picacio