Curator's notes from an art exhibition. Exam questions. A children's social-studies textbook. An end-user license agreement from God. From Nebula-nominated author Kenneth Schneyer comes this collection spanning the range from fantasy to science fiction to horror to political speculative fiction. Representing more than a decade of work, these 26 weird, disorienting stories will accost your expectations while relocating your heart. This volume includes such celebrated works as "Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer," as well as two stories never before published.
"Schneyer dazzles with this striking collection of 27 wide-ranging speculative stories . . . Toddlers carrying carrying deadly diseases are used as instruments of war in the chilling "The Last Bombardment." And in the satirical "Life of the Author Plus Seventy," writer Eric Weiss cryogenically freezes himself to avoid paying a ballooning library fine in the year 2107.Each world is distinct and fully realized, and the astonishing variety of genre and tone on offer showcases Schneyer’s versatility. Inventive and resonant, this collection is sure to impress."
"[This collection] features the author’s somewhat sideways view of the world, as exemplified in his Nebula–nominated Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer. Most of the stories here are sf, but the kind that dives deeply into the human side of the equation. It’s not about the technology but how people react to the technology, and the human costs to applying that technology. The fantasies, even when they feature a monster or a dragon, depict the humans affected by those fantasy creatures. All are from the darker corners of the imagination, whether pain or grief or just plain evil, all are compellingly readable. This is a strong collection, with fascinating viewpoints on the ways humans exhibit both humanity and inhumanity no matter the circumstances or the century. VERDICT: By turns prescient, heartbreaking, and provocative. Highly recommended for readers who want their speculative fiction to make them think—and think hard."
"One of our quietly accomplished writers. Ken Schneyer's Anthems Outside Time and Other Strange Voices includes such first-rate reprints as the Nebula- and Sturgeon-nominated "Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer," and my personal favorite among his works, "Keepsakes." There are two originals, both very strong . . . "Who Embodied What We Are" tells the story of the dead hero Herant, one of the now-oppressed people of Dorolana. Slowly, as his deeds are recounted, we learn the real, and horrifying, story of these people. It's clever and quite effective."
—Rich Horton, Locus Magazine
"The games he plays with the many forms that stories can take are as delightful as ever, and they never get in the way of him going right to the heart of things— in fact they are his way of seeing the world, and his gift to us."
—Kim Stanley Robinson
"Ken Schneyer is a fearless explorer of the genres and his discoveries are treasures, one and all...I’m a lifelong student of the short form and I’m here to report the arrival of another master."
—James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards
"By turns whimsical, moving and disturbing—always thought-provoking—Schneyer's unique visions reveal myriad glimpses into the human heart."
—E.C. Ambrose, author of The King of Next Week
"Ken Schneyer’s collection is full of many gorgeous little stories (including one of my all time favorites, 'Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer.') Each story is a carefully crafted puzzle box to be cracked open, revealing new insights into the world in all its complexity."
—Tina Connolly, author of On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories
"From 'Some Pebbles in the Pond,' the meta-meditation on stories and lives that opens Anthems Outside Time, to 'Dispersion,' the heartbreaking, all-too-real fantasy that closes it, the stories in Kenneth Schneyer’s new collection show a profound understanding of the craft of short stories, and an equal understanding of the people (and occasional dragon) who inhabit them. As at home in an art gallery as he is in a spaceship, Schneyer cares deeply about the world and seeks to understand it as best he can. Through these marvelous tales, he helps us do the same."
—F. Brett Cox, author of The End of All Our Exploring: Stories
"Kenneth Schneyer’s new collection, Anthems Outside Time and Other Strange Voices, is our latest evidence of a powerful, flexible, and relentlessly curious intellect at play in our genre. No story is like the next; each one shines with its own indomitable haecceity. Awkward sex, unreliable narrators, recorded memory as witness, contracts as characters, strange storms, grim revolutions, and—oh!—the awful melancholy of a weaponized toddler descending on her red balloon: Anthems is yet warm, human, and unafraid to despair. In the end, it is that very fearlessness, no matter how bleak or brutal, that brings the reader back to hope."
—C. S. E. Cooney, winner of the World Fantasy Award
"The short story is one of the few places where artistic experimentation is alive and well—at least in the hands of a master such a Kenneth Schneyer. Schneyer has the George Saunders-like gift of making new structures look easy and feel human. All too human, alas: Anthems removes our calluses and allow us to feel afresh the pain of injustice, the ache of love, the horror of what we've become. To call these stories science fiction or fantasy might leave some readers unprepared for the shock of the real Schneyer delivers: and through that shock, catharsis."
—Carlos Hernandez, author of the Sal and Gabi Series.
"[The stories] vary quite a lot in structure and tone as well as plot, although all are done well. A few are extended jokes. Others are deadly serious. Some are written in a non-traditional format, which might put off some readers who prefer conventional narration. Authors willing to experiment are almost always interesting to watch, even less skilled ones than Schneyer. "Selected Program Notes" and "Keepsakes" were the two I liked best, and "The Plausibility of Dragons" is quite amusing . . . all of the stories are individually good to very good. They do often require you to pay close attention. The extra effort is worth it."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kenneth Schneyer has been, at one time or another, an actor, a corporate lawyer, a dishwasher, a research assistant, a humanities professor, a clerk-typist, an IT project manager, and the assistant dean of a technology school. In 2014, he received nominations for both the Nebula and Sturgeon Memorial Awards for his story “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer.” His work appears in such venues as Lightspeed, Uncanny, Analog, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies, and such podcasts as Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and The Drabblecast, and has been translated into Italian, Russian, Czech, and Chinese.
Apart from fiction, he has published several articles on the constitutive rhetoric of legal texts. Born in Detroit, he now lives in Rhode Island with his wife, two tabby cats, and occasionally his grown children. His interests include astronomy, presidential history, formal logic, Shakespeare, feminist theory, and genealogy. Anthems Outside Time and Other Strange Voices is his second published collection.