Moderan

Moderan

New York Review of Books

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A collection of chilling and prescient stories about ecological apocalypse and the merging of human and machine.

Welcome to Moderan, world of the future. Here perpetual war is waged by furious masters fighting from Strongholds well stocked with “arsenals of fear” and everyone is enamored with hate. The devastated earth is coated by vast sheets of gray plastic, while humans vie to replace more and more of their own “soft parts” with steel. What need is there for nature when trees and flowers can be pushed up through holes in the plastic? Who requires human companionship when new-metal mistresses are waiting? But even a Stronghold master can doubt the catechism of Moderan. Wanderers, poets, and his own children pay visits, proving that another world is possible.

“As if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated,” wrote Brian Aldiss of David R. Bunch’s work. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and ’70s, these mordant stories, though passionately sought by collectors, have been unavailable in a single volume for close to half a century. Like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, Bunch coined a mind-bending new vocabulary. He sought not to divert readers from the horror of modernity but to make us face it squarely.

This volume includes eleven previously uncollected Moderan stories.

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David Roosevelt Bunch (1920–2000) was born in rural western Missouri. After serving as an army corporal during World War II, he worked toward a PhD in English literature at Washington University in St. Louis and then transferred to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he studied for two years before dropping out. He married Phyllis Flette in 1951 and they had two daughters, Phyllis and Velma. While working as a cartographer for the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis, he began publishing stories in science fiction magazines. In 1971, Bunch published Moderan, a collection of stories set on a future earth devastated by war and environmental exploitation. In 1973, he retired from cartography to pursue writing full-time. Bunch’s last book, the poetry collection The Heartacher and the Warehouseman, came out in April 2000. He died of a heart attack the following month. 

Jeff Vandermeer is the author of the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) and, most recently, of the novel Borne, which was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award. His nonfiction has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, the editor Ann VanderMeer.

Pub Date: 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 330 
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 inches


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