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IF ANGELS FIGHT by Richard Bowes

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This new collection by New York City writer Richard Bowes showcases a dozen stories that take you from New York, across time, and back home again. Included in the collection are award-winning stories such as the title story, which won a World Fantasy Award and was on the final ballot for the Nebula Award. Also, "There’s a Hole in the City" won a Million Writers award and an International Horror Guild Award. These stories capture the essence of the city, and the very personal world of Richard Bowes.


Starred Review: "Bowes’s career as a speculative fiction writer began in the 1980s, after SF’s New Wave had retreated, but in many ways he seems like the last standard-bearer of that movement’s tattered flag. This superlative collection contains a dozen wide-ranging short works, including the autobiographical “On Death and the Deuce,” the Cheeveresque “The Ferryman’s Wife,” and a tale of great powers contending across time itself in “A Member of the Wedding of Heaven and Hell.” Also included are short forewords discussing the genesis of each story and the laurels it has earned. Ineluctably urban, observant, and honest without being cruel, Bowes chooses his words with cool precision, combining artistic ambition and clarity; readers will be unsurprised that Bowes has won honors as diverse as the Nebula, Lambda, International Horror Guild, and World Fantasy awards, as well as a wealth of nominations. In a field too often satisfied with unambitious convention, Bowes shows what can be achieved by an author with vision and skill."

Publishers Weekly

"There is no mistaking a story by Rick Bowes, the Cheever of urban fantasy. His narrative voice conveys unimpeachable authority yet delivers its devastating ironies with profound sympathy for his characters. His greatest character, though, is the city in which most of these stories are set: a New York spun of fairy dust and steel, where anything is possible and nothing is as it seems."

Paul Witcover, author of Everland

"Richard Bowes is a writer who moves back and forth among genres with ease, so some of these stories are SF, some fantasy, and some involve the supernatural. The only thing they have in common is that they are all quite good. The title story is probably the best, although not by a wide margin. Close contenders are "On the Slide," "The Ferryman's Wife," and "Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow." Most of the stories have urban settings, often specifically New York City, but that doesn't mean that the themes or plots are narrowly circumscribed or even similar. Bowes is one of those writers whose impact is diffused somewhat because time passes between encounters with one short story and the next, and it's only when you read them in close proximity as in a collection that one realizes how good he is. This is, parenthetically, one of the reasons I lament the dramatic drop in single author collections from major publishers. But imprints like Fairwood are here to help."

Don D'Ammassa, Critical Mass

"The short stories of Richard Bowes are unique and sublime. They meld past, present, and future in beguiling concatenations of the real, unreal, and maybe-real. They provide us with characters and situations that are so specific as to have the most universal power — a power that reflects and refracts the complex experience of living, loving, remembering, and dreaming in ways few other contemporary writers achieve. They can seem remarkably straightforward, but that is essential to their art: they lure us in, settle us down, and slowly reveal riches. Frank O’Hara said nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, and I have long felt a need to experience Bowes’s stories, and a gratitude for being able to."

—Matthew Cheney, The Mumpsimus

"Richard Bowes is the penultimate urban fantasist as is evidenced by this wonderful collection of tales. This story alone is worth the price of the collection: “There’s a Hole in the City,” about the search for loved ones post-9-11, when the disaster could have inadvertently opened up a portal for ghosts of previous catastrophes in the city, for souls trapped in the past, for the trauma to set them free. “On the Slide” is a story about period actors filming a noir detective TV show in 1960s New York. These actors are so good at fitting into a role, a character, a persona, that some claim to actually “slide” into the real past. A past, unlike the dismal present, that is predictable, safe, and meaningful. Alternate universe tales and even stranger fiction are all included here."

—Andrew Andrews, True Review 

"Richard Bowes’ characters are grounded and fantastic, human and supernatural, at the same time, searching for the most basic connections across Time and Space in fourteen stories that span Bowes’ prolific career."

Anthony Cardno

"Bowes stands, as the best authors always do, in a class of his own."

—Charles de Lint, author of The Dreaming Place

"Besides possessing a wicked sense of humor and a long memory for both the highs and lows of the SF genre over the past twenty years, Richard Bowes is currently one of the best writers in the field."

—Jeffrey Ford, author of Crackpot Palace

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