AUTHOR COLLECTIONS > THE END OF ALL OUR EXPLORING: STORIES by F. Brett Cox
THE END OF ALL OUR EXPLORING: STORIES by F. Brett Cox

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The stories in F. Brett Cox’s debut collection move through multiple genres and many times and places, from the monsters of the 19th century to the future fields of war, from New England to the South to the American West, from the strange house at the top of the hill to the bottom of your childhood swimming pool. But whatever the time and place, and whether utterly fantastic or all too real, all of these remarkable fictions pose the fundamental question: what’s next?  The End of All Our Exploring features 27 stories, and it also includes Cox’s unique historical notes.


“Veteran short story author and Shirley Jackson Award cofounder Cox (coeditor of Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic) brings sly humor and a tone that’s nostalgic, quintessentially American, and unfailingly uncanny to this haunting and excellent first collection of 25 reprints and two new stories . . . Cox is a master of subtle, understated chills that lurk just behind the familiar, and each story conveys a solid sense of history and place. Readers who enjoy literary speculative fiction (with shades of Flannery O’Connor and, of course, Shirley Jackson) will find much to love: there’s not a disappointing tale in the bunch.”

       — Publishers Weekly, starred review


“As T.S. Eliot’s enlightened twin brother once put it, ‘We shall not cease from savoring the stories of F. Brett Cox—with their lapidary prose, beguilingly haunted characters, cosmic regionalism, wistful edginess, understated apocalypses, and laid back moral urgency—and the end of all our literary revels will be to arrive at a place of exceeding strangeness and never want to leave.” 

       —James Morrow, author of Galápagos Regained    


“Even in tales that feel borderline mainstream, F. Brett Cox slips in elements of the uncanny or the macabre that make the mind run hot and the blood flow cold. The End of All Our Exploring merits not just exploration, but focused scrutiny of its every vivid foray into American places, history, culture, childhoods, literature, music, psychic phenomena, and a host of other national obsessions. This brave collection unlocks them all. And rocks doing it.”

       —Michael Bishop, author of The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales
 
“The wonder of this long-overdue collection is how effortlessly Brett Cox jaunts between so many different literary modes. He understands the unique challenges not only of the fantastic genres of horror, science fiction and fantasy, but also of historical fiction and contemporary literary fiction. His deft touch with dialogue and narrative voice allow him to inhabit a cast of vivid characters, some as ordinary as your next-door neighbor, some well and truly estranged from reality.  What I like best about these people is how decisive they so often are, even when they’re dead wrong and bound for disaster. The stories in The End of All Our Exploring will make you laugh and shudder and shake your head at the absurd and marvelous things we humans do.”
 
      —James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards
“Many writers center their stories around the arrival of the uncanny in their characters’ lives, as Cox does here. But few writers are as interested in the aftermath, the withdrawal of this same unsettling and inexplicable notice. Brett Cox is a master of nuanced horror.  Think of him as a kinder, gentler Edgar Allan Poe.”  
 
        —Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
 
“Brett Cox’s glorious stories are a treasure map to a hidden America: The End of All Our Exploring will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget, with a new discovery on every page.” 
 
        —Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light
 
“Inside the wonderfully weird The End of All Our Exploring you just might find southern Gothics, and northern ones too, and UFO’s, secret societies, alternate histories, a sea monster, and an amnesia helmet. But what you’ll consistently find is great writing. Intelligent, sometimes angry, always honest, these are stories that not only make you feel something, but make you want to feel something. Brett Cox knows the difference is a delightful and dangerous one. Buy this book, now.”
 
        —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts
 
“Breathtakingly inventive, with prose tight as Marcia Brady’s braces, The End of All Our Exploring is a joyful romp through the darkness on the other side of the mirror.”   
 
       —Sarah Langan, author of The Keeper
 
“Even in tales that feel borderline mainstream, F. Brett Cox slips in elements of the uncanny or the macabre that make the mind run hot and the blood flow cold. The End of All Our Exploring merits not just exploration, but focused scrutiny of its very vivid foray into American places, history, culture, childhoods, literature, music, psychic phenomena, and a host of other national obsessions. This brave collection unlocks them all. And rocks doing it.”
 
       —Michael Bishop, author of Other Arms Reach Out to Me
 
“Replete with social comment, humor, and tragedy, the surreal and the haunted, F. Brett Cox’s fiction is quietly devastating. These stories are intellectually clever, historically illuminating, and humanely affecting. Detailed, dry tales of the astonishing things that are considered “normal,” they start in the ordinary life of fallible human beings and move to a place where the human heart is exposed through its encounter with strangeness. I am glad to see these stories at last gathered in one place, where we can arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”       
 
       —John Kessel, author of Pride and Prometheus
 
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