My Volcano

Available
Product Details
Price
$18.99  $17.66
Publisher
Two Dollar Radio
Publish Date
Pages
330
Dimensions
5.5 X 7.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.8 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781953387165

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About the Author
John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and The Malahat Review's 2019 Long Poem Prize. Their writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, Best Canadian Poetry, and many others. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They live with their wife in Kansas City, Missouri.
Reviews

Additional Reading:
The Rumpus presents: "What to Read When It's the End of the World," a reading list by My Volcano author John Elizabeth Stintzi, April 22, 2022.

Winner of the Sator New Works Award
The Sator New Works Award, selected by Two Dollar Radio editors, goes to an author who identifies as transgender or non-binary for a book-length work of fiction or non-fiction. This publishing prize was made possible by Sator Press, a nonprofit publishing company operated by Ken Baumann from 2009-2019.


"As My Volcano unfurls outward, growing more surreal and bizarre, leading to eruptions both figurative and literal, it becomes a story about our struggle to connect with those we love and the planet we seem hellbent on destroying... Akin to Isabel Waidner and Jenny Hval, two marvellous writ-ers whose surrealist work defies categorisation, Stintzi doesn't concern themselves with the reader's ability to keep up. Instead, they adopt a style that suits the story, a style reflective of volcanoes and seismic activity--unstable, fluid and constantly shifting underfoot.... My Volcano might be steeped in the strange, the absurd, and the esoteric, but Stintzi's care for the planet and their desire for us all to be better than we are couldn't be any more lucid and direct."
--Ian Mond, Locus Magazine
(Read the review of My Volcano)


"John Elizabeth Stintzi (My Volcano) On Writing A Doomscroll Novel And Finding Humanity In The Absurd" (June 14, 2022)
Listen to the Origin Story Podcast interview


"Written in brief excerpts, My Volcano is an absurd and moving examination of people's reactions when the unexpected happens... These stories unfold and build to a bigger narrative of the present."
--Margaret Kingsbury, BuzzFeed News
"26 Science Fiction And Fantasy Novels By Trans And Nonbinary Authors"

"My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi, published by Two Dollar Radio, is the kind of book that makes indie publishers so important."
--John Warner, Chicago Tribune
"Biblioracle discusses the enduring trend of time travel books"


"The premise of My Volcano is weird and wonderful: one day in 2016, a growth sprouts up in Central Park. Over the next few weeks, it gets bigger and bigger and is ultimately determined to be a volcano. Against this backdrop, Stintzi weaves a kaleidoscope of stories showing the mundane, momentous, and increasingly bizarre ways Manhattan's newest resident creeps into the lives of a variety of characters."
--Allison McNearney, The Daily Beast
"The Best Summer Beach Reads of 2022"


"It starts with a volcano sprouting up in Central Park. A kaleidoscopic portrait of a menagerie of characters, as they each undergo personal eruptions, while the Earth itself is constantly shifting. A parable, myth, science-fiction, eco-horror, and a radical work of literary art."
--Emily Pullen, New York Public Library
"New LGBTQ Fiction for Pride 2022"

"The stories and narrators of John Elizabeth Stintzi's novel reflect on a variety of societal responses to ecological trauma--including a desire to capitalize on it."
--CBC Books
"11 Canadian books to read for Earth Day 2022"


"[Stintzi's] new novel, My Volcano, is an ambitious tapestry of characters from all over the world, across time and space, all experiencing different versions of eco-catastrophe. Stintzi's work is kaleidoscopic in scope and depth, and they are a gifted storyteller no matter the genre."
--Sarah Neilson, Shondaland
"Trans and Nonbinary Writers to Read on This National Transgender Day of Visibility and Beyond"


My Volcano included in "14 new books to revive your reading life."
--Katie Yee, Lit Hub

"One of the most exhilarating [novels] I've read in years."
--Abeni Jones, Autostraddle
(Read the review of My Volcano)


"Short, punchy chapters paint a vast, weird portrait of our world that spans concurrent timelines. My Volcano has romance, queer becoming, body horror, cli-fi, resistance, and even commercials."
--Brooke Kolcow, The Rumpus
"A Conversation with John Elizabeth Stintzi" (March 28th, 2022)

"A boy in Mexico City transported to 16th Century Tenochtitlan. A Mongolian shepherd transformed into a hive mind by a bee sting. A volcano growing out of a pond in Central Park. John Elizabeth Stintzi's strange new novel is a dizzying spiral through time, space, and lives. Punctuated by the names of real-world victims of police brutality and hate crimes, My Volcano is a harrowing, yet hopeful, meditation on our present and our future."
--Travis, staff pick, Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)


"A fever dream that whirs together homicide statistics from 2016 with an array of outlandish science fiction tropes. An allegory about the mutability of all things. An unsettling meditation on the 21st century's strange reality. An apocalyptic phantasmagoria where bizarre kaiju roam the lands and wreak havoc. A lyrical treatise on volcanoes as metaphors. A wild ride. Future students of My Volcano... will offer myriad theses about the true nature of the author's stupendous book. The unfettered abundance, uniqueness and irreducibility of My Volcano will likely encourage as many interpretations as the book has readers."
--Brett Josef Grubisic, The Toronto Star
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi one of "March's Most Anticipated LGBTQIA+ Literature."
--Lambda Literary


"When it comes to John Elizabeth Stintzi's novel My Volcano, a volcano bursting from the ground below Central Park manages to be one of the less weird aspects of the plot. Stinzi's novel also includes time travel, folktales, and a character transforming into a being with a steadily growing hive mind. This is not a book that lacks ambition."
--Tobias Carroll, Tor.com
"Can't Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for March and April 2022"


"Packed with astonishing imagery, poetry, ideas, and true weirdness, this book begins with one concept--a volcano in Central Park--only to continuously 'elevate' from there--on every single page--yet always keeping masterful control."
--Michael Narkunski, Booksoup (West Hollywood, CA)

"Time travel, bodily transformations, and uncanny folktales--this novel looks like it has it all. (And that's before we get into the massive volcano looming over Central Park.) For a novel where the scale of ambition meshes perfectly with the array of imagery on display, My Volcano has plenty to offer."
--Vol. 1 Brooklyn, "March 2022 Book Preview"


"A strange rock in Central Park grows into a two-mile-wide, active volcano within three weeks. Flittering around this eco-horror story are fragments of other moments for people worldwide experiencing shifts in the natural world. Of the many stories, some include involuntary time travel, PTSD from civilians living through war, a common injury gone awry, writers' block, and fiery folkloric studies."
--Alyssa Shotwell, The Mary Sue
"The Mary Sue Book Club, March 2022"


Host Lauren Korn interviews poet and novelist John Elizabeth Stintzi, JES, about My Volcano, "a meticulously-crafted tapestry of a novel... This is a conversation about reality and identity you don't want to miss."
--The Write Question, Montana Public Radio
"The art of the eruption: John Elizabeth Stintzi's My Volcano" March 24, 2022

"My Volcano is a pre-apocalyptic tale following a cast of characters from all over the world, each experiencing private and collective eruptions. From a jogger discovering a growing active stratovolcano in Central Park to a boy living through the fall of the Aztec Empire, My Volcano moves through time and space to create a contemporary story about climate change."
--CBC Books
"26 Canadian Books to Read for Pride"

"A volcano emerges in Central Park. A man is stung by a bee and slowly transforms into an engulfing network of green. A golem arises from the desert to destroy polluted cities. My Volcano is apocalyptic & psychedelic but is also quiet and tender. As much about identity, exhaustion, and home as it is about climate change, colonialism, and the end of the world."
--Josh Cook (Porter Square Books), Lit Hub
"Indie Booksellers Recommend the best of Independent Presses This February and March"

"Holy shit! Do NOT sleep on this book... My Volcano has barbs that dug into me, and I wasn't sure which way it was going to whip me from section to section... it had me hooked and I was all the way in."
--Joseph Edwin Haeger, The Big Smoke
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


"5 Questions with John Elizabeth Stintzi, Author of My Volcano"
--City Lights Bookstore, Mar 21, 2022


"My Volcano is a novel as bracing and fractured as its title. Part parable, part science fiction, part eco-horror, Stintzi takes readers on a whiplash-inducing ride from modern day New York and Greece to the ancient Aztec empire that's not easily shaken off after the turn of the final page."
--The Chicago Review of Books
"12 Must-Read Books of March"


Listen to author John Elizabeth Stintzi read from their novel My Volcano.
Poets & Writers 2/16/2022
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin


"With My Volcano, John Elizabeth Stintzi joins the ranks of authors playing with the mythic proportions of the climate crisis through fantastical imaginings."
--Liza Monroy, Publishers Weekly
"Atmospheric Pressure: New Books on Climate Change"


"I will read anything that comes from JES's twisted imagination and love it. This ingenious, insightful, unconventional and expansive eco-horror is no exception."
--Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine
"Most Anticipated Reads for the Rest of Us 2022"


"John Elizabeth Stintzi's deranged Mobius-strip of a book is perhaps most likely to remind readers of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation."
--Arlene McKanic, BookPage
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


--Dahlia Adler, LGBTQReads
"Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: January-June 2022"


"The chaos of current events takes on a supernatural dimension in John Elizabeth Stintzi's novel My Volcano. In the summer of 2016, all over the world, there are strange occurrences. The most spectacular event of all: a volcano sprouts in the middle of Central Park and keeps on growing, destroying large sections of New York City... My Volcano is a captivating novel about the consequences of letting obvious dangers fester and grow."
--Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews, starred review
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


"Bodies are queer, time is weird, the Earth is fucked. Got some major eco-horror Jeff Vandermeer vibes with this one with much more extra queerness. It reads like a high-speed ride on a terrifying rollercoaster, and you never know where the next turn will go but you also can't stop riding. Very weird, utterly off the charts."
--Anton Bogomazov, Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington, Dist. of Columbia)


"Climate change, time travel, startup culture, and volcanic eruptions intertwine in this sui generis outing from [Stintzi]... Told in a series of buzzing numbered fragments, the narrative whirls around a volcano rising in Central Park that looks like Mount Fuji. As the volcano grows, Stintzi builds out the wide-ranging narrative with jump cuts... That Stintzi keeps all these plates spinning is a wonder; that they transform the chaotic present into a fiery, transcendent vision of the future is even more impressive. It's a brilliant achievement."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


"A genre-bending novel that circles a volcano mysteriously rising from the Central Park Reservoir... Among the narrative sections, Stintzi intersperses the dates and victims of real-world violence in 2016, including the Pulse nightclub shooting and the shooting of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge. At times, this ambitious novel can feel unwieldy, with its weighty subject matter and complex, formal innovation. However, Stintzi has a gift for meticulously crafted worldbuilding and captures the tender drama of human (and, in this novel, extrahuman) relationships. Patient readers will be rewarded by their arrival at the book's dazzling conclusion. A vibrant ecosystem of a novel that deals honestly with the beauty and horror of human and ecological connectedness."
--Kirkus Reviews
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


"Author JES creates an alternate world where the looming terror of a newly emerged volcano in New York's Central Park is at once a metaphor for the looming 2016 election (though never mentioned) as well as a literal doorway to Mt. Fuji and, perhaps, an alternate dimension. Writing in a cyclone of temporal inversion and expansiveness, JES creates worlds that jump off the page to inhabit our own world as well as other books'. I have found myself continually referencing back to events that take place throughout My Volcano while reading and thinking about other novels. This type of inception hasn't happened since Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves, which is both an apt reference point and one that is completely inaccurate."
--Jesse Hassinger, The Odyssey Bookshop (South Hadley, Massachusetts)


"Nonbinary author Stintzi's science fiction / eco-horror novel is an ambitious, global tale that begins with the discovery of an emergent volcano in Central Park. An eclectic group of characters, from Mexico City, Tokyo, Nigeria, Greece, Mongolia, and more grapple with their personal changes and transformations as the earth undergoes its own."
--Casey Stepaniuk, Autostraddle
(Read the full list of "Queer and Feminist Books Coming Out Winter 2022")


"A volcano has formed in Central Park. A Mexican child finds himself in the wrong century. A nomad in Mongolia is transformed by a bee-sting. A trans writer in New Jersey imagines an impossible planet. In their second novel, poet and educator John Elizabeth Stintzi offers a globe-spanning and enigmatic romp through the strangeness of our world."
--Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, Quill & Quire
(Read the full list of "2022 Spring Preview: Fiction")


"It pulled me in. I admit it took me a while to get used to this novel, but by the end I was riveted. My Volcano is... about fluidity and connection and disconnection, and about how things that look as if they could never fit in with all the rest in fact change shape and meaning--until the surprise is not that they are connected, but that I ever thought them disconnected in the first place."
--Octavia Cade, Strange Horizons
(Read the full review of My Volcano)


"My goodness--what is this thing!? It's all over the place! Oh, but the places it goes. The 2 mile high volcano that shows up in NY's Central Park is a real shocker. But that's not the end. These are stories from folklore; stories about time travel to the downfall of the Aztecs in Mexico; stories about transformation (ala Metamorphosis), writers having trouble with their stories, nurses dealing with their trauma while they deal with the trauma of others. In short, this is a story about normal people in weird situations. I'll tell you what it is... it's a wonderful, thrilling dive into the imagination of one heck of a writer. Read it. You'll never be the same!"
--Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore (Spokane, Washington)


"With the panoramic scope and astute sharpness of Samanta Schweblin's Little Eyes and the eerie chill of Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy, John Elizabeth Stintzi's My Volcano immediately grabs you by the shirt and doesn't let you go. Structured like a spiral moving through time and space, and deftly mixing history and myth and vision with poetic prose, this dread-inducing book will keep you up at night until you get to its last devastating, but ultimately, I think, hopeful line."
--Alicia Elliott, bestselling author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

"A kaleidoscopic, contemporary folktale with added acerbic juice, like when Dylan went electric. Stintzi somehow funnels the tumultuous present into a sprawling novel of collision and connection that's both timely and timeless. This is very weird shit indeed."
--Hazel Jane Plante, author of Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)

"My Volcano is a fast-paced, gripping, singular novel that belongs to the new wave of eco-horror yielding to no conventions."
--Fernando A. Flores, author of Tears of the Trufflepig

"John Elizabeth Stintzi's new book exudes real ambition."
--Maurice Mierau, Winnipeg Free Press

Author

John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and The Malahat Review's 2019 Long Poem Prize. Their writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, Best Canadian Poetry, and many others. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They live with their wife in the United States.

Visit the John Elizabeth Stintzi author page for additional details and interviews.

BOOK CLUB & READER GUIDE: Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. My Volcano's opening paragraphs introduce us to the first sighting of the mysterious Central Park volcano. In describing the jogger and her most pressing concerns that day, the media and their coverage, the public and their reactions to the news and the jogger: why do you think the author chose these elements to be the start of the novel? What tone does this set for the book? What other social commentary did you notice throughout the novel?

2. On June 2, 2016, two important events occur: a volcano sprouts from New York City's Central Park, and Dzhambul--a central Mongolian nomadic herder--is stung by a bumblebee dusted with unusual pollen that is "near-luminescent purple" (page 12). What do these two very different events have to do with each other? How does this early mention of the color purple tie in with other events in the novel?

3. Shortly after the novel begins, we are introduced to the first of several concise nonfiction vignettes that recount the dates, names, ages, and manners of death of violent murders that occurred in the United States in 2016, during the exact same time as the fictional volcano's timeline. What do all of the murders have in common? What overall effect do you think they have on the novel?

4. Reconsider the epigraph the author chose for My Volcano: "Reality is nothing but the opinion of power." What do you think this means? How does it tie in with the themes of the book?

5. My Volcano features a plethora of imaginative fantastical elements, both physically--large boulders animating into a destructive headless golem, a magical opal, a tent with octopus legs--as well as psychologically--mirrors of selves, past and present time crashing into each other, inhabiting others' bodies. Which elements had the strongest effect on you? Did the use of these surreal lenses help you reconsider any real-world issues in a new way?

6. Write down on a piece of paper what you think the 3 main themes are of My Volcano. Take turns sharing your opinions and explaining why each stuck out the most to you. After hearing from everyone in