First Fiction Fridays: Boundary Problems by Greg Bechtel

March 14, 2014

Do you like fiction that delves into the unexplainable? Maybe that's just a little bit weird? Then Boundary Problems might be right up your alley. Whether Greg Bechtel is writing about a cab driver following an increasingly bizarre series of instructions from his dispatcher, or about a carjacking amnesiac trying to remember why he’s holding a gun, or about an erotica open mic that has some very unexpected consequences, these stories positively vibrate with energy. They're magnetic and sly, vibrating on the edge of meaning.

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BoundaryProblems

What:

Boundary Problems (Freehand Books, 2014)

Who:

Greg Bechtel’s occasionally prize-winning stories have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including The FiddleheadPrairie FireOn SpecQwerty, and the Tesseracts anthologies of speculative fiction. Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Greg has lived at various times in Toronto, Deep River, Jamaica, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Fredericton while working (among other things) as a lifeguard, technical writer, mover, visual basic programmer, camp counsellor, semiconductor laser labtech, cab driver, tutor, and teacher. Currently, he lives and writes in Edmonton, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta whenever they let him.

Why you need to read this now:

Do you like fiction that delves into the unexplainable? Maybe that’s just a little bit weird? Then Boundary Problems might be right up your alley.

Whether Greg Bechtel is writing about a cab driver following an increasingly bizarre series of instructions from his dispatcher, or about a carjacking amnesiac trying to remember why he’s holding a gun, or about an erotica open mic that has some very unexpected consequences, these stories positively vibrate with energy. They’re magnetic and sly, vibrating on the edge of meaning.

Boundary Problems is aptly titled—this a collection that deals with various boundaries. It traverses traditional boundaries between speculative fiction (SF) and literary fiction, expertly mixing physics with magic. “As both scientists and shamans know—at least the good ones—one culture’s magic is another’s science,” muses the narrator of one story. Boundary Problems also “contemplate[s] relationships and, as the title suggests, the various permeabilities of the people involved in them” (Alberta Views).

Craig Davidson, Giller Prize finalist for Cataract City, says that “Each of Greg Bechtel’s stories is a perfect little puzzle-box: one marvels at their perfect geometries while anticipating that dazzling moment where every piece slots flush. These finely crafted, emotionally resonant tales will stay with me a long, long time.”

Why do you need to read Boundary Problems now? Well, do you like secrets, paranoia, sex, conspiracies, physics, and magic? Are you ready for, as Saleema Nawaz puts it, “a mind-bending vacation from the ordinary” to get you out that winter-will-never-end slump? You decide!

Want to know more? Check out an excerpt at 49th Shelf.

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Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog


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