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Aqueduct Press
PO Box 95787
Seattle, WA 98145-2787

Dangerous Space

by Kelley Eskridge

$18.00 (paperback)
 
$9.95 (e-book) EPUB
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Honor List for 2007 James Tiptree, Jr. Award
Novella "Dangerous Space" final ballot for the 2008 Nebula Award
a Locus-recommended book

Dangerous Space showcases a collection of seven seductive stories by Kelley Eskridge, whose novel Solitaire was a New York Times Notable Book, with an introduction by Geoff Ryman (author of Was and Air). The opening story, "Strings," takes us to a world that tightly controls musical expression and values faithfulness to the canon above all else. By contrast, in the title novella, "Dangerous Space," we see the full power of music unleashed to sexually enthralling as well as risky effect; original to the volume, this tale features Mars, the intriguing narrator of "And Salome Danced" (short-listed for the Tiptree Award), on tour with an indie rock band on the verge of breaking out. Closing the volume, the moving, edgy "Alien Jane" (a finalist for the Nebula Award and adapted for the SciFi Channel's Welcome to Paradox series) delves into the importance of pain for the human organism and finds hope in the most unlikely of places.

Praise for Dangerous Space

"Richly imagined, moving, and very sexy, these stories about music, art, sex, and identity will make you rethink all the categories you thought you knew."
   —Julie Phillips, author of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

"The archetypical herotale of feminist sf, the little girl who grows up furious with the irritations of femininity, is confronted with her mirror image: the woman so compliant that no matter what anyone does to her, no matter how much she suffers, she feels no pain, only the agony of alienation... A theatre director struggles with the vampire of desire, and with a shapeshifter who may be personification of her demons, in the extraordinary, tightly compressed 'And Salome Danced'; while 'Dangerous Space' sinks deep into the soul of an indie rock band at its moment of greatest meaning, just before the Big Time. Characters slip from story to story, role to role, delineating a fascination with the ruthless hunger for sensation that possesses all great artists, and the complicity of those who love them. Kelley Eskridge's collection is a treat: unassuming, deceptively gentle, packing a subtle punch."
    —Gwyneth Jones, author of White Queen and Life

"It takes a special talent to write about emotions this raw without embarrassing yourself. In Dangerous Space, the very talented Kelley Eskridge offers tales of the human heart that are searing, moving, and true."
    —Matt Ruff, author of Set This House in Order

Reviews

"Eskridge is my favorite kind of science speculative fiction writer, the sort who is very interested in using the tropes of the genre to externalize that which we'd prefer not to discuss and force it into the spotlight." (read the whole review)
   —Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column, March 23, 2007

"...sometimes a writer just sweeps me off my feet and I forget what I was supposed to be doing. Such is the case with the title story from Kelley Eskridge's collection Dangerous Space. While the year is half-over, this has garnered my vote as one of the best stories of the year."
    —Sean Melican, Ideomancer, June 2007

"A powerful piece, with just enough tech to tell readers they're in the world of the day after tomorrow, and just enough understanding of the places where human beings really connect to give us a ray of hope for that future..."
    —Nancy Jane Moore, SFRevu, June 2007

"Dangerous Space is a complex collection with strong concepts and prose ... Eskridge is skilled at creating atmosphere and physical detail, and uses her skill to present thought-provoking stories, ideas that linger in the mind's eye."
   —Strange Horizons, June 14, 2007

"Highly, highly recommended..."
   —Gwenda Bond, Shaken & Stirred, June 27, 2007

"...an acclaimed SF novelist gathers seven stories about music, art, and sex..."
    —Locus, New and Notable Books, June 2007

"At first glance, there doesn't seem to be any science fiction in Kelley Eskridge's new book of science fiction, Dangerous Space (Aqueduct Press, 255 pp., $18). In this compilation of seven short stories, Eskridge's subject is human emotion, sexuality and relationships. Her characters are regular, flawed humans who struggle with regular, flawed human emotions in a land that looks very much like our own. But upon a closer look, the book is a unique kind of science fiction, wherein the alien land we are enticed to explore is the human soul itself. Eskridge invites us into its strange, inhospitable terrain and urges us to peer at the disfigured, imperfect creatures that live there—jealousy, loneliness, yearning. Under Eskridge's watch, each emotion becomes a monster, complete with its own personality, that then preys on her human characters."
    —The Seattle Times, July 6, 2007

"In her new collection, Dangerous Space, science fiction novelist Kelley Eskridge pushes the boundaries of the status quo. She has put together a series of stories that make readers ponder issues of gender, sexuality, and the nature of free choice." (read the whole review)
    —Colleen Mondor, Bookslut, Issue 63, August 2007

"Eskridge proffers a tantalizing taste of just how good and savory futuristic fiction can be ... Eskridge's tightly woven stories speak to concerns we have now—love and loyalty, cause and effect, individuals versus society. These are stories for readers of genre fiction and of serious literature."
    —Victoria Brownworth, The Baltimore Sun, August 5, 2007

"This is the kind of art that the word "queer" fits perfectly. The stories aren't specifically lesbian, and they're not specifically gay, but they render any sexual preference wondrously possible. The biological gender of Mars, protagonist of three of the collection's seven stories - including the hypnotic novella-length title tale - is never specified: some will read her as a woman, and her passion for the mesmerizing male lead singer of an indie rock band as straight; some will read him as a man, and the same passion as gay. Eskridge juggles the ambiguity with surefooted physical, emotional, and sexual intensity. The same powerful notion of sexual mutability powers two other tales: "Eye of the Storm," a sword-and-sorcery story in which Mars is one of four warriors competing to join an elite military squad, in a violent world where same-sex partners are nothing special; and "And Salome Danced," set in a near-future in which Mars is drawn to a seductive actor who auditions for both male and female roles."
    —Richard Labonte, Seattle Gay News, October 5, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-933500-13-3 (13 digit)
Publication Date: 2007
paperback 264 pages