Next year, Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press will reintroduce the world to a singular voice in speculative literature: Molly Gloss, the author of five novels and one (forthcoming) collection of stories. She has won the Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the PEN West Fiction Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Her short story, “Lambing Season” was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Her work often concerns the landscape, literature, mythology and life of the American West.
Despite her awards, this nationally bestselling author’s works have long been unavailable, but that changes next year—and it’s all thanks to Ursula K. Le Guin. Here to explain is Joe Monti, editorial director of Saga Press.
Molly Gloss is a mercurial writer. Like Kelly Link (our new McArthur genius), Margaret Atwood, Carmen Maria Machado, and Karen Joy Fowler, Gloss’ work navigates the by-ways and channels between literary fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. No surprise, as her mentor (and close friend) Ursula K. Le Guin followed a similar career trajectory. In fact, it was Ursula herself who out me on the path to acquire and reissue three of Gloss’ backlist titles and commission her first ever collection of stories. It all started with a conversation….
I was on the phone with Ursula to discuss some aspects of two collections we were planning (which eventually became The Found and the Lost and The Unreal and the Real). During the chit-chat portion of the conversation, I told Ursula that my real goal with these collections was to remind readers of the great works shoring up her iconic reputation. Ursula disliked talking about her prominence, and unsurprisingly she paused, and then steered the conversation elsewhere…
Ursula K. Le Guin: “Do you know the work of Molly Gloss?”
Joe Monti: “Oh! I love Molly’s work. I was a big booster of hers when The Hearts of Horses [which would become a national bestseller] was coming around through the Sales Conference and helped make the case for giving her more attention–”
UKLG: “I didn’t know you were at Houghton, Joe.”
JM: “Yeah, for a year and a half, after I left Barnes & Noble. I was in Sales.”
UKLG: “You know, Molly’s first novel was published at Simon & Schuster, by Atheneum….”
JM: “Really? With Jean Karl?”
UKLG: “Yes. Outside the Gates. They published it as young adult, but I never thought that was fully the right audience. Terrible cover. But if you brought it back into print, I’d blurb the shit out of that.”
That set me off into a bit of detective work in the mimeograph and digitized archives, where I found the contract for Gloss’ lost dystopian fantasy book, and started thinking of creating a “Molly Gloss moment” at Saga Press, as Simon Schuster had also been the original publisher of her outstanding historical-feminist-pulp-adventure novel Wild Life. Then, it was only a matter of securing the rights to her subtly moving generational ship novel The Dazzle of Day—A most Le Guin-like novel that could be a facet of the Hainish Cycle.
I’m so happy to present to you now the newly repackaged works of Molly Gloss, with art by the wonderful Jeffrey Alan Love, coming to you beginning on New Year’s Day of January 2019 with Outside the Gates, followed by Wild Life, then The Dazzle of Day. Come May 2019, the debut of her first collection, Unforeseen, will cap off this celebration of an author beloved by writers and critics. The collection brings together 17 stories, including three never before published, covering her entire bibliography of short works. It’s outstanding, as are all of Molly’s books.
Here are the covers of all four volumes:
But don’t just take my word for it. Ursula unfortunately didn’t live to say more about these editions, but she’s had nice things to say in the past, as have many others:
“This miraculous fusion of meticulous ‘hard’ science fiction with unsparing realism and keen psychology created a vast, bleak, beautiful vision of the human figure—a triumph of the imagination.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin, on The Dazzle of Day
“Gloss skillfully evokes a family saga in relatively few pages, investing her story with an abundance of detail, expressed in rich language that brings people and places, crops and crises, to life. This is a novel of ideas, in the utopian tradition, but every idea finds its way to the reader through one or more characters. Intelligent and entertaining, it demonstrates why Gloss was a recent winner of a Whiting Writer’s Award.” –Publishers Weekly, on Dazzle of Day
Here is little more about each of the books Saga is releasing in 2019:
Outside the Gates (January 1, 2019)
Villagers were always warned that monsters live outside the gates, but when a young boy named Vren is cast out, he finds a home in the world beyond, in Whiting Award winner Molly Gloss’s classic fantasy novel. Vren has always been told that the world beyond the gates of his village is one filled with monsters, giants, and other terrifying creatures. But when he confides with his family about his ability to talk to animals, he’s outcast to the very world he’s been taught to fear his whole life. He expects to die alone, lost and confused, but he finds something different altogether—refuge in a community of shadowed people with extraordinary powers. Thirty years later, Molly Gloss’s dystopian fantasy novel is just as timely, poignant, and stirring as ever, in a brand-new edition!
Wild Life (February 5, 2019)
Set among lava sinkholes and logging camps at the fringe of the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, Wild Life is the story—both real and imagined—of the free-thinking, cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who pens dime-store women’s adventure stories. One day, when a little girl gets lost in the woods, Charlotte anxiously joins the search. When she becomes lost in the dark and tangled woods, she finds herself face to face with a mysterious band of mountain giants…or more commonly known as Sasquatch.
The Dazzle of Day (March 12, 2019)
Leaving a dilapidated Earth behind, Quakers across the globe pool funds and resources as they select colonists to send to a newly discovered planet to start life anew in this “miraculous fusion of…science fiction with unsparing realism and keen psychology” (Ursula K. Le Guin). In this “carefully conceived and deeply affecting” (The New York Times) novel, award-winning author Molly Gloss turns her attention to the frontiers of the future. A group of Quakers band together to abandon the ailing Earth, and travel to a settle a whole new world. The Dazzle of Day is their story.
Unforeseen: Stories (May 7, 2019)
From bestselling and award-winning author Molly Gloss comes her first complete collection of short stories—including three never-before-published original tales! Award-winning and critically acclaimed author Molly Gloss’s career retrospective collection, Unforseen, includes 14 celebrated short stories that have never be published together before—including the Hugo and Nebula award-nominated “Lambing Season”—and three new stories.