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Tony Gentry

Old Friends, New Press!

Updated: May 17

Remarkable that in the past two weeks The New Yorker has profiled not one but two of my old friends, both long-toiling authors who have deserved this recognition for a long time.

Terry Bisson, a Kentucky native, whose commune-hippy era taught him how to break down and rebuild old Volvos, unleashed wry wit and a subversive, entirely original imagination onto the world of speculative fiction. I recommend his story collection Bears Discover Fire and his novel Fire on the Mountain, which imagines a world where John Brown’s raid was successful, a segregated Black nation Nova Africa thrives in the South, and, oh my. Or try his deeply-researched yet wacky Mars colonization tale Voyage to the Red Planet, in which a middle-aged couple named — ahem — the Gentry’s heads off for what they hope will be a fun adventure (this tale, years before Space X, imagined the demise of NASA and privately-funded space travel). But definitely read this profile – like I said, a long time coming.

Then there’s Elizabeth (Liz to us) Hand, a friend for half my life, who has bent genres to her will across a bookshelf of novels penned in her Maine cabin. You’ll want to immerse yourself in her spooky, punky, mind-expanding Winterlong trilogy or her recent best selling murder mystery (based on a true story) Curious Toys. Her New Yorker profile, like Terry’s, provides a window into what it takes to do writing on your own without a professorship or side gig to pay the way.

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