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The Fixed Stars

Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season

Brian Conn


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A fable-like tale of a small community afflicted by a mysterious plague Juxtaposing barbarity and whimsy, Brian Conn’s The Fixed Stars is a novel that has the tenor of a contemporary fable with nearly the same dreamlike logic. At the novel’s heart are the John’s Day celebration and the interactions of a small community dealing with a mystery disease. Routinely citizens are quarantined and then reintegrated into society in rituals marked by a haunting brutality. The infected and the healthy alike are quarantined. In a culture that has retreated from urbanism into a more pastoral society, the woman who nurtures spiders and the man who spins hemp exist alongside the mass acceptance of sexual promiscuity. Conn delivers a compelling portrait of a calamitous era, one tormented by pestilence, disease, violence, and post–late capitalism. An unflinching look at a world impossible to situate in time, The Fixed Stars is mythic and darkly magical.

Praise For The Fixed Stars: Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season

“Brian Conn’s wonderfully perilous crossbreeding of Science Fiction and innovative prose reads like what might result if Dhalgren and A Canticle for Leibowitz engaged in salacious acts with The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Fixed Stars is a funny, absurd, and beatifically strange book, one in which you simultaneously have the feeling that not one word is out of place and that everything that language brings to us opens onto a void. The Fixed Stars is the future of the future, and it is a truly outstanding debut.”—Brian Evenson, author of The Wavering Knife and Altmann's Tongue

“With bits of machinery culled from post-apocalyptic science fiction, gothic horror, and ancient myth and ritual, Brian Conn has built a beguiling puzzle box of a novel. The Fixed Stars is a thorny, disjunctive fable that unfolds like a nightblooming flower. This is strange, intoxicating stuff.”—Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection 

Fiction Collective 2, 9781573661539, 312pp.

Publication Date: March 16, 2010

About the Author

Brian Conn studies mathematics in southern Rhode Island. He is coeditor of the journal Birkensnake.