Wednesday 8/22, 7pm
Abbey Mei Otis discusses her short story collection Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories
Abbey Mei Otis’s short stories are contemporary fiction at its strongest: taking apart the supposed equality that is clearly just not there, putting humans under an alien microscope, putting humans under government control, putting kids from the moon into a small beach town and then the putting the rest of the town under the microscope as they react in ways we hope they would, and then, of course, in ways we’d hope they don’t.
Otis has long been fascinated in using strange situations to explore dynamics of power, oppression, and grief, and the twelve stories collected here are at once a striking indictment of the present and a powerful warning about the future.
Praise for Abbey Mei Otis’s stories:
“Abbey Mei Otis’s stories are incandescently dark, if you can imagine such a thing (but maybe only she can). Full of danger and strangeness, but written in carbonated and astounding prose that is all her own, these stories create worlds and will make you contemplate (and worry about) our own.”
— Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories
“These are amazing, electric stories—you can feel the live wire sizzling in them from the first sentence, and you know you’re about to take a wild, unforgettable trip. Abbey Mei Otis is my favorite kind of writer: her worlds are uniquely strange yet eerily relatable, and she knows how to make you laugh and weep at the same time.”
— Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
“Abbey Mei Otis deposits the reader in bargain bin worlds remaindered from the near futures of the more fortunate, worlds filled with space junk and toxic glitter, gel candy and gutted elk. These are stories for the many, for lovers and mourners, for those who want to split their minds from their bodies and those who know how to merge their organs in a single skin. In Alien Virus Love Disaster, language itself is in phase change. This book is a volatile, dangerous gift.”
— Joanna Ruocco, author of Dan
“After I read this book, I woke up with bumpy, reddish growths along my spine. They burst, releasing marvels: aliens, robots, prefab houses, vinyl, chainlink, styrofoam, star stuff, tales from the edge of eviction, so many new worlds. Alien Virus Love Disaster is a super-intelligent infection. Let Abbey Mei Otis give you some lumps.”
— Sofia Samatar, author of Tender
“Abbey Mei Otis speaks for a generation of people with fractured futures and complicated hopes. It is a collection about right now.”
— Maureen F. McHugh, author of After the Apocalypse
“The aliens have already arrived in ‘Blood Blood.’ Abbey Mei Otis has them visiting in a way we’ve seldom seen before in genre science-fiction: Not as hunters, conquerors or even ambassadors, but as wildlife observers. . . . As brilliant as this cosmos and narrative is, Otis also manages to supply rich characterizations. It’s a concept sci-fi piece that tries something new and succeeds on every level.” —Matt Funk, Full Stop
Abbey Mei Otis is a writer, a teaching artist, a storyteller and a firestarter raised in the woods of North Carolina. She loves people and art forms on the margins. She studied at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, TX and the Clarion West Writers Workshop, and now teaches at Oberlin College in Ohio. Her stories have recently appeared in journals including Tin House, Story Quarterly, Barrelhouse, and Tor.com.