The Science of Lost Futures is a prize-winning collection full of quirky humor and intelligent absurdity. An enormous foot washes ashore just outside the city limits prompting fear and fascination. A man responds to an advertisement for a “no experience necessary” cosmonaut training program. A woman collapses inside the black hole she is growing on her shoulder. Too familiar or boring? How about a neighbor who mysteriously grows parsnips in the shape of his dead wife’s kidney, a sleep-deprived worker who searches for love in a doll factory, or a former Nazi adopted as a household pet? Drawing on urban legends, internet hoaxes, and ancient medical folklore, these stories full of cage-rattling unusualness go beyond science fiction and magical realism to create a captivating collection of fabulist narratives that revel in the alien and the absurd.
“Ryan Habermeyer gives his protagonists quite a bit more trouble than they can reasonably handle, and their earnest forbearance is consistently funny, lovely, and moving. Come to this book for outlandish premise; stay for the compassionate depiction of frail humanity. The BOA Short Fiction Prize strikes again with yet another terrific collection.” —Chris Bachelder, National Book Award finalist for The Throwback Special
“Ryan Habermeyer’s collection of stories is hilarious, brilliantly inventive, ribald, insightful, and sometimes disturbing. He uses the absurd to express the truths of humans’ relationships to one another and to the bizarre world which we actually populate, and in so doing, often sees deeply into places that realism might not spot. All of this is possible because he is a master of tone, the alchemy that makes words into worlds.” —Tim Parrish, author of Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist
“The Science of Lost Futures is a magical book. These stories are as unpredictable and consoling as old fairy tales, and quite a bit stranger, if you can imagine. I adore Ryan Habermeyer’s aphoristic, imagistic, humble narrative gifts.” —Kate Bernheimer, World Fantasy Award-winning editor and author of How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales
“Provocative discombobulation….A disturbing blend of fairy tale and Freudian strangeness….[melded] into an assemblage of accidental magic, frustrated metamorphoses, and change meetings with a bewildered divine.”—Kirkus Review
“Fresh and original…Part fantasy satire and part sci-fi fairytale, Habermeyer’s stories, like all timeless fairy tales, use their fantastical elements to reflect our deepest anxieties and most wondrous dreams….In prose that is both eminently readable and reliably beautiful, Habermeyer uses laughter to make you think, thoughtfulness to make you laugh, and all of this to make you feel….Beneath its disarming charm and evocative imagination is a big beating heart.”—The Harvard Review
“Habermeyer instills depth within his protagonists, surprises just when you think you’ve figured his stories out, and with that you really can’t learn….What a talent, what a collection.”—Story366