An Agent of Utopia: New and Selected Stories

Andy Duncan (Author)

Product Details

$17.00  $15.64
Small Beer Press
Publish Date
November 06, 2018
5.5 X 0.8 X 8.4 inches | 0.75 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Andy Duncan's short fiction has been honored with a Nebula Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and three World Fantasy Awards. A native of Batesburg, S.C., Duncan has been a newspaper reporter, a trucking-magazine editor, a bookseller, a student-media adviser and, since 2008, a member of the writing faculty at Frostburg State University in the mountains of western Maryland, where he lives with his wife, Sydney.


Reviews of Andy Duncan's stories: "Mesmerizing." -- Ed Park, Los Angeles Times "Duncan shows an hallucinatory grasp of idiom, of place-setting tact, an actor's clarity at the rendering of voice." -- John Clute, Washington Post Book World "There's no good name for what Andy Duncan does. . . . Duncan's imagination runs through that fertile ground previously tilled by artists such as Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson and Poe." -- Mark Hughes Cobb, The Tuscaloosa News "Duncan's short stories are marvels of setting and diction." -- Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "Virtually unclassifiable . . . as powerful as any from Richard Powers or Rick Moody, T. C. Boyle or Steve Erickson ... a bizarre blend of Faulkner and Hemingway with touches of Tennessee Williams and Kurt Vonnegut." -- Gary S. Potter, Charleston Post and Courier "You're likely to be laughing one moment, in awe the next and perhaps horrified before the tale is done. Few authors can pull off such delicate tonal balances in a short story, although William Faulkner achieved it more than once ... Will satisfy any reader brave enough to handle the strange places Duncan visits, the places between disturbing fantasy and ruthless reality." -- John Mark Eberhart, The Kansas City Star "Stunningly beautiful." -- Sean Melican, BookPage "Duncan is often most comfortable when working in the rich tradition of the American folk tale, crafting shrewd and funny stories of the intersection between the modern world and folk traditions and superstitions, particularly those of Appalachia and the American South, but ... he also has other strings to his bow, and a surprising depth of range as a stylist. ... Whichever critical pigeonhole you try to push Andy Duncan into, he remains one of the best and most original writers in the business." -- Gardner Dozois "Wonderful." -- Nancy Kress - "Wonderfully demented." -- Michael Swanwick - "Excellent." -- Rich Horton - "Superlative." -- Paula Guran - "Superb." -- Jonathan Strahan - Brilliant." -- Mary Anne Mohanraj - "Genius." -- Nick Gevers - "Irresistible." -- Ernest Hogan - "Knockout." -- Tim Pratt - "Powerful." -- Fiona Kelleghan - "Amazing." -- Patrick O'Leary - "Unique." -- Steven H. Silver "Duncan has amassed a record of superior work out of all proportion to mere number of pages gathered between boards. He feels like an essential, towering part of the fantastika landscape, his every story eagerly awaited." -- Asimov's Science Fiction "Fantasist and folklorist, he takes premises that are not made up, or at least are not made up by Andy Duncan . . . and creates new and strange stories out of them, which nevertheless tell the truth about the way things happened." -- Christopher Cobb, Strange Horizons "Duncan gives us the oldest form of fantasy, the legend, or folk tale: not just the childish folk legend of fireside entertainment but the one that has taken on enough mythic resonance to seem real." -- Sherwood Smith, author of King's Shield "A new writer who, like Dylan, gathers up traditional materials and twists them into something new." -- Paul McAuley, author of Austral

"Reading Duncan can feel like being taken on a tour of your own dusty attic and being shown treasures you didn't know you had." -- Chicago Tribune

"Must rank as one of this year's best collections. It's on bookstore shelves now and deserves to be on your shelves soon." --

"Whatever the topic, all of Duncan's fictions are united by an evocative, playful, and deeply accomplished storytelling style. Highly recommended for fans of Kelly Link or other slipstream writers, and for any reader looking to lose themselves in an engaging and fun reading experience."
-- Booklist (starred review)

"Zany and kaleidoscopic, the 12 stories in Duncan's third collection draw on Southern traditions of tall tales and span time periods, continents, and the realm of human imagination to create an intricate new mythology of figures from history, literature, and American folklore. . . . This is a raucous, fantastical treat."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A rare book that blends fun with fury and tomfoolery with social consciousness." -- Kirkus Reviews

"An Agent of Utopia is all the proof you'll need to see that Andy Duncan is one of the very best short story writers in Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anywhere else. It's a sure bet that you're holding in your hand the best story collection of the year."-- Jeffrey Ford, author of A Natural History of Hell

"Duncan will get you to bust a a gut laughing. He'll make you teary, and put a shiver up your spine. But most importantly, his stories ask questions you might not know how to answer, and leave you looking inside yourself long after you've read the last line of his singing prose." -- Lara Elena Donnelly, author of Amberlough

"Andy Duncan's unique voice shines through in his third collection. You've not read him yet? Shame on you! Go out now and buy An Agent of Utopia: New and Selected Stories. You'll thank me." -- Ellen Datlow, award-winning editor

"Andy Duncan is one of the most hilarious and poignant writers of short stories that we have. He effortlessly forges dreamlike and nightmarish tales with wit and wisdom that rivals Mark Twain." -- Christopher Barzak, author of Wonders of the Invisible World

"Andy Duncan is the Andy Duncan of Andy Duncanland, and we are all lucky to have access to that fabled locale via the portal between his brain and these pages. The stories in this collection drip with magic and mayhem and time and place and personhood, along with the most creative cussing this side of anywhere. Each one is a microcosm, a moment from our own history, real or imagined, passed along to us by a master storyteller. " -- Sarah Pinsker

"Andy Duncan is the best storyteller of our generation. Every page is breathtaking, down-to-earth magical." -- Ellen Klages

"Andy Duncan's work bursts on the tongue. Every word is a rhythm, perfectly shaped to thrum in the throat, to twang in the mouth, to dance on beats of breath. His dialogue drums savory dialects. His prose is a brass instrument, trumpeting stories like songs. Like blues, like jazz, his stories are written to an American tempo, her checkered history, her bright syncopation, her cacophony of Southern storytellers and conjuring women. He is a musician, magician, mythmaker, a raconteur of marvels." -- Rachel Swirsky