THE ANT KING by Benjamin Rosenbaum


And Other Stories
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A storyteller concocts flights of fancy that move science fiction and fantasy just a bit further “out there.”

These fanciful stories were originally published in venues ranging from McSweeney’s to

Argosy, as well as some sci-fi and fantasy magazines. The title story opens with a bang, as an ambitious capitalist’s longtime girlfriend explodes into a fountain of yellow gumballs. Starring a junk food-addicted subterranean overlord, a turncoat systems administrator named Vampire and a reluctant hero named Stan, the story is loaded with reverential geekery and laugh-out-loud snipes at corporate culture. Rosenbaum proves he’s capable of sustained fantasy with “Biographical Notes,” a steampunkish alternate history of aerial piracy, and “A Siege of Cranes,” a fantasy about a battle between a human insurgent and the White Witch that carries decidedly modern undercurrents. The only true misstep is “Other Cities,” an inventive but ultimately pointless travelogue of imagined metropolises. It’s in the briefest of stories that Rosenbaum wields the greatest level of literary verve. The ten paragraphs of “The Orange” recount the rise to power of an orange entrusted to rule the world. A similarly succinct vignette, “The Blow,” upturns the conventions of hard-boiled noir with the story of a detective laid low by a crippling blow. Perhaps none of the tales is odder than “Orphans,” in which girl-meets-elephant, girl-loses-elephant.

An imaginative debut collection.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-931520-52-2
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2008


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