Deus Ex Machina

By Andrew Foster Altschul
(Counterpoint LLC, Paperback, 9781582436012, 205pp.)

Publication Date: February 2011

List Price: $14.95*
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Description

On a distant island, reality show contestants battle for bragging rights and a slot on next week’s episode. They’ve perfected their dramatic roles and are prepared to do whatever it takes to win. There’s the take-no-prisoners Marine sergeant, the gay hairdresser, the ruthless lawyer, the brainy poet. But one player refuses to competeGloria Hamm, a sullen dental hygienist, voted least likely to win by the show’s crew.

The higher-ups are desperate for ratings and sensational twists to trump the plots of seasons past. But the producerhaunted by personal tragedies all too realis losing control of the show and its crew. While he obsesses about Gloria, the crew plots mutiny, a contestant dances with insanity, and disease threatens to halt the show completely. When real catastrophes strike, the producer finds it harder and harder to navigate his surreal landscape, where boundaries of the real, imagined, and orchestrated have blurred beyond recognition.

Deus Ex Machina deconstructs our notions of narrative, revealing how tricky it is for any auteur to disappear from his creation. In an age when people will seemingly do anything to be on television, it asks what is the true nature of reality,” and what is its cost?




About the Author
ANDREW FOSTER ALTSCHUL is a Jones Lecturer and former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His work has appeared in Fence, Swink, StoryQuarterly, One Story and other journals, as well as the anthologies Best New American Voices 2006 and The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007. He lives in San Francisco.
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