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Report to the Men's Club and Other Stories


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Table of Contents

Grandma The Paganini of Jacob's Gully Modillion Mrs. Jones Acceptance Speech One Part of the Self is Always Tall and Dark Foster Mother Creature The Project It Comes from Deep Inside Prejudice and Pride Report to the Men's Club Overlooking Water Master Abominable Desert Child Venus Rising Nose After All

About 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.


"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

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