Author(s): Austin Bunn
A brilliant, inventive debut story collection in the vein of Kevin Wilson and Wells Tower.
Brimming with life and unforgettable voices, the stories in Austin Bunn’s dazzling collection explore the existential question: what happens at “the end” and what lies beyond it? In the wry but affecting “How to Win an Unwinnable War,” a summer class on nuclear war for gifted teenagers turns a struggling family upside down. A young couple’s idyllic beach honeymoon is interrupted by terrorism in the lush, haunting “Getting There and Away.” When an immersive videogame begins turning off in the heartbreaking “Griefer,” an obsessive player falls in love with a mysterious player in the final hours of a world.
Told in a stunning range of voices, styles, and settings—from inside the Hale-Bopp cult to the deck of a conquistador’s galleon adrift at the end of the ocean—the stories in Bunn’s collection capture the transformations and discoveries at the edge of irrevocable change. Each tale presents a distinct world, told with deep emotion, energizing language, and characters with whom we have more in common that we realize. They signal the arrival of an astonishing new talent in short fiction.
Austin Bunn is a fiction writer, playwright, screenwriter, and former journalist. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Pushcart Prize, and elsewhere. He cowrote the screenplay to Kill Your Darlings (Sony Pictures Classics), starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, and Michael C. Hall, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. Currently, he teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.