Report to the Men's Club and Other Stories

Report to the Men's Club and Other Stories

by Carol Emshwiller
     
 

What if the world ended on your birthday—and no one came? What if your grandmother was a superhero? Recommended to readers of Judy Budnitz, Geoff Ryman, Aimee Bender, and Grace Paley this fourth collection by the wonderful Carol Emshwiller includes the Nebula winning story "Creature."

"These short stories have a mysterious glow."—JANE

"Carol

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Overview

What if the world ended on your birthday—and no one came? What if your grandmother was a superhero? Recommended to readers of Judy Budnitz, Geoff Ryman, Aimee Bender, and Grace Paley this fourth collection by the wonderful Carol Emshwiller includes the Nebula winning story "Creature."

"These short stories have a mysterious glow."—JANE

"Carol Emshwiller’s stories are wonder-filled, necessary, and beautifully crafted.”
—Samuel R. Delany

"I read one of the stories in Carol Emshwiller's new collection, Report to the Men's Club, in progress several years ago and have thought about it ever since. I could even quote you lines! And now, having read the rest of the elegant, complex, insightful stories, I know she's done the same thing to me again eighteen times over! Emshwiller knows more about men and mortality and love and loss and writing and life than anybody on the planet! Dazzling, dangerous, devastating writer! Unforgettable (and I mean that literally!) collection! Wow! Wow! Wow!"
—Connie Willis

"Carol Emshwiller (Carmen Dog, etc.) lends her elegant wit to Report to the Men's Club, a collection of 19 fantastic short fictions treating the war between the sexes. Such tales as "Grandma," "Foster Mother" and "Prejudice and Pride" are brim-full of wry insights into male-female relationships. Testimonials from Samuel R. Delaney, Maureen McHugh, Terry Bisson and Connie Willis, among other big names, should send this one into extra printings."
Publishers Weekly

"A daring, eccentric, and welcome observer of darkly human ways emerges from these 19 motley tales. Often writing in an ironical first-person voice, storywriter and novelist Emshwiller (Leaping Man Hill, 1999, etc.) assumes the persona of the outsider or renegade who flees the community as if to test boundaries and possibilities. In "After All," the narrator is a grandmother who decides to set out on a "makeshift journey" in her bathrobe and slippers simply because it is time. The setting is vague: she flaps through the town and then into the hills, pursued, she is sure, by her children, and, in the end, she is merely happy not "to miss all the funny things that might have happened later had the world lasted beyond me." Both in "Foster Mother" and "Creature," the mature, quirky narrators take on the care of an abandoned, otherworldly foundling and attempt to test their survival together in the wilds. In other stories, a character's affection for a scarred pariah forces her out of her home and through a stormy transformation-as in the sensationally creepy "Mrs. Jones." Of the two middle-aged spinster sisters, Cora and Janice, Janice is the fattish conspicuous one who decides to tame and civilize at her own peril the large batlike creature she finds wounded in the sisters' apple orchard. Janice does get her husband, and through skillful details and use of irony, the story becomes a chilling, tender portrait of the sisters' dependence and fragility. At her best, Emshwiller writes with a kind of sneaky precision by drawing in the reader with her sympathetic first person, then pulling out all recognizable indicators; elsewhere, as the long-winded "Venus Rising" (based on work by Elaine Morgan),the pieces read like way-far-out allegories. A startling, strong fourth collection by this author—look for her upcoming The Mount."
Kirkus Reviews

"This strange collection of stories is populated by creatures of all sorts, human and alien. The collection-closing title piece takes the form of a speech given to a men's club by someone who has just been initiated into membership, despite the accident of birth that made her biologically female. The other stories range topically from the faith of a scribe in "Modillion" to love at first sight in "Nose." What makes them satisfying is the personalities of their characters. Even the shortest pieces present characters who possess all the force of real persons who might be standing beside us. For the most part, Emshwiller keeps the stories simple, engaging us with their characterization rather than fast, copious action. We stay engaged because they render enough emotion to sustain our creaturely interest."
Booklist

"A real joy to read. This is a collection to delight and intrigue readers and writers of all persuasions. Go out and buy it now."
New York Review of Science Fiction

"Elliptical, funny and stylish, they are for the most part profoundly unsettling. In "Mrs. Jones," a spinster tries to one-up her sister in an ongoing codependent battle by trapping and seducing the angel (demon? alien?) that is living in their orchard. In "Creature," a man cohabitates with a massive female monster—one of a race that has been engineered to kill him. In "One Part of the Self Is Always Tall and Dark," a woman, happily convinced that she is going crazy, dreams of long sentences composed of nothing but three-letter words: "She was far out and tip top too.""
Time Out New York

"This is a wonderful collection of short fiction, marked by tremendous variety, a wonderful, funny, knowing, and sympathetic voice, and a truly off-center imagination.... Carol Emshwiller is a real treasure. She seems underappreciated to me, but this late burst of productivity may help remedy that situation. Both The Mount and Report to the Men's Club are first rate books."
SF Site

"Emshwiller sentences are are transparent and elegant at the same time. Her vocabulary, though rich and flexible, is never arcane."
The Women's Review of Books

Carol Emshwiller's stories have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Century, Scifiction, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, TriQuarterly, Transatlantic Review, New Directions, Orbit, Epoch, The Voice Literary Supplement, Omni, Crank!, Confrontation, Trampoline, McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, and many other anthologies and magazines.
    Carol is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and has been awarded an NEA grant, a New York State Creative Artists Public Service grant, a New York State Foundation for the Arts grant, the ACCENT/ASCENT fiction prize, and the World Fantasy, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, Gallun, and Icon awards.
    Carol Emshwiller is the author of many collections of short fiction including Report to the Men's Club, I Live with You, The Start of the End of it All (World Fantasy Award winner), Verging on the Pertinent, and Joy in Our Cause, and the novels Carmen Dog, Ledoyt, Mister Boots, The Secret City, and Leaping Man Hill.
    She lives in New York City in winter and spends the summers in a shack in the Sierras in California.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carol Emshwiller (Carmen Dog, etc.) lends her elegant wit to Report to the Men's Club, a collection of 19 fantastic short fictions treating the war between the sexes. Such tales as "Grandma," "Foster Mother" and "Prejudice and Pride" are brim-full of wry insights into male-female relationships. Testimonials from Samuel R. Delaney, Maureen McHugh, Terry Bisson and Connie Willis, among other big names, should send this one into extra printings. Emshwiller is also the author of a new novel, The Mount (Forecasts, July 8).
Kirkus Reviews
A daring, eccentric, and welcome observer of darkly human ways emerges from these 19 motley tales. Often writing in an ironical first-person voice, storywriter and novelist Emshwiller (Leaping Man Hill, 1999, etc.) assumes the persona of the outsider or renegade who flees the community as if to test boundaries and possibilities. In "After All," the narrator is a grandmother who decides to set out on a "makeshift journey" in her bathrobe and slippers simply because it is time. The setting is vague: she flaps through the town and then into the hills, pursued, she is sure, by her children, and, in the end, she is merely happy not "to miss all the funny things that might have happened later had the world lasted beyond me." Both in "Foster Mother" and "Creature," the mature, quirky narrators take on the care of an abandoned, otherworldly foundling and attempt to test their survival together in the wilds. In other stories, a character's affection for a scarred pariah forces her out of her home and through a stormy transformation-as in the sensationally creepy "Mrs. Jones." Of the two middle-aged spinster sisters, Cora and Janice, Janice is the fattish conspicuous one who decides to tame and civilize at her own peril the large batlike creature she finds wounded in the sisters' apple orchard. Janice does get her husband, and through skillful details and use of irony, the story becomes a chilling, tender portrait of the sisters' dependence and fragility. At her best, Emshwiller writes with a kind of sneaky precision by drawing in the reader with her sympathetic first person, then pulling out all recognizable indicators; elsewhere, as the long-winded "Venus Rising" (based on work by Elaine Morgan),the pieces read like way-far-out allegories. A startling, strong fourth collection by this author-look for her upcoming The Mount.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931520027
Publisher:
Small Beer Press
Publication date:
08/01/2002
Pages:
282
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Connie Willis
I read one of the stories in Carol Emshwiller¹s new collection, Report to the Men¹s Club, in progress several years ago and have thought about it ever since. I could even quote you lines! And now, having read the rest of the elegant, complex, insightful stories, I know she¹s done the same thing to me again eighteen times over! Emshwiller knows more about men and mortality and love and loss and writing and life than anybody on the planet! Dazzling, dangerous, devastating writer! Unforgettable (and I mean that literally!) collection! Wow! Wow! Wow!
—author of Passage
Samuel R. Delany
Carol Emshwiller¹s stories are wonder-filled, necessary, and beautifully crafted. It¹s a high pleasure indeed to see this new collection.
— author of Dhalgren
Dan Chaon
Carol Emshwiller has the energetic and surprising voice of a true original. Her stories are like beautiful strangers you meet at a party they¹re witty and charming and hilarious at first, but then they take you aside, into a dark, quiet corner, and whisper something chilling or heartbreaking into your ear, leaving you with a kiss on the cheek that you won¹t forget.
— author of Among the Missing
McHugh
Carol Emshwiller makes fiction out of the stuff of our everyday lives; about moms and memory and monsters that end up as familiar as Border Collies. She¹s deceptively deft, full of strange things that end up feeling as familiar as your own kitchen.
— author of Nekropolis
Terry Bisson
I am disappointed by these stories. Disappointed that they have not (yet) won Emshwiller the Pulitzer she deserves as our premier magic realist. Disappointed that their sly and scary intimacy has not (yet) altered the tone of all science fiction for the better. Disappointed that she wrote them, not I.
— author of The Pickup Artist

Meet the Author

Carol Emshwiller is the author of the collections Report to the Men's Club, The Start of the End of it All, Verging on the Pertinent, Joy in Our Cause, and I Live With You, and the novels The Mount, Carmen Dog, Ledoyt, and Leaping Man Hill.

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