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World Fantasy Convention

terratantra_cosmic_treeI’ll be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Arlington, VA from November 6-9. I’m scheduled to do a reading on Thursday, November 6th, at 4:30pm in the “Arlington” room. I may read from one of two stories. The first is about farmers of universes and generational abuse. The second is about ghosts after the Holocaust coming back to their shtetl to find the town and themselves forever changed. So as you can see, positive topics! I hope you’ll join me.

Reading: Matthew Kressel
Time: 4:30pm-5pm, Nov. 6, Arlington

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book trailer + win a free book

Last week, Adaptive Studios revealed their phenomenal book trailer for The Silence of Six via Christine Riccio’s book channel on YouTube! It’s incredible to see my words translated to the screen like this, and it turned out even more shocking and creepier than I had imagined. But see for yourself:

Adaptive has more treats in store for you: another giveaway! This time they’re offering a bunch of free hardcovers of the completed book, which is out on November 5. (They even may be signed, if we can work out the logistics.) Enter the giveaway now through Nov. 15!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

The Silence of Six

by E.C. Myers

Giveaway ends November 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

And here’s a picture of me and some of the Adaptive team in NYC last week, when we met for the first time IRL!



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massive book giveaway!

As I’ve mentioned, my wife and I are re-homing a large portion of our still sizable book collection. Last week we sent a large box of YA titles off to a high school in Brooklyn and sold what we could to Powell’s. Before we make the rounds of local libraries and bookstores, we’re offering the rest of this batch to anyone who wants them. All we are asking is for you to cover the cost of shipping and any packaging; in most cases, we’ll use USPS Flat Rate Priority Mailers, but if you want more than will fit in their free packaging, it may cost a bit more. (We’ll also happily take donations, but not required.) And of course, if you expect to see one of us any time soon or you live in Philly, we can meet to pass them off in person.

Check out the list of books below or open the spreadsheet in a separate page. (Please excuse the capitalization — it was a lot of work just to list all these and their ISBNs!) If you want more information on a title, the ISBN is included, or just ask about its format and/or condition in the comments below. If you want to claim a title, leave a comment or e-mail me at I’ll update the list accordingly as books become unavailable.

If you want to browse a list with images of the book covers, look at this PDF (however, the book titles are not sorted alphabetically, and the formatting is kind of messy): FreeBooks_100414 [6.91MB]

We’re likely to have another smaller batch of books to offer soon, but we want to move these as quickly as possible so we’ll probably take requests for the next week, or until we have to drop them off somewhere.

Please, take our books! We just want them to be read and enjoyed. Thanks!


Edited to add: I also have some miscellaneous magazines to offer:

Asimov’s — April 2003 (Stross, Silverberg, Swanwick, McAuley, Rusch, Resnick, Barrett)

Asimov’s — Sept. 2004 (Stross, McHugh, Bagicalupi, Moles)

Asimov’s — July 2006 — bad shape (McDonald, DuChamp, Preston, Kress, Koja, Melko, Pratt)

Asimov’s — Aug. 2011 (Goldstein, Silverberg, Tem, Swanwick)

F&SF Oct./Nov. 2005 (incl. “Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle)

F&SF — Oct./Nov. 2006 (stories by C.C. Finlay, Paolo Bacigalupi, Geoff Ryman, Carol Emshwiller)

F&SF — Sept. 2007 (incl. “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang)

F&SF — Feb. 2009 (stories by Eugene Mirabelli, C.C. Finlay, Fred Chappell, Mario Milosevic, Jack Cady)

F&SF — May/June 2013 (stories by Dale Bailey, Andy Stewart, Robert Reed, Albert E. Cowdrey, Rand B. Lee, Bruce McAllister)

Shimmer, The Pirate Issue


Almost, Maine by John Cariani

Where Do We Live by Christopher Shinn


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the silence of six giveaways!

I’m offering two signed ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of my new YA novel, The Silence of Six, on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

The Silence of Six

by E.C. Myers

Giveaway ends October 07, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

You also have until Friday, October 10 to enter another ARC giveaway at YA Books Central.

Book reviewers can request an electronic copy at NetGalley.

So there are several ways to read The Silence of Six before it releases on the Fifth of November. Good luck! And keep an eye on this blog for some more opportunities in the next couple of months.


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#weneeddiversebooks at naiba

I was honored to be invited to the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Fantastic Fall Conference last weekend. They hosted their first ever #WeNeedDiverseBooks Reception, featuring 15 authors who were PoC and/or had written diverse books of all kinds. They also provided a highly visible table in the vendor room so booksellers and publishers could come find out about the campaign.

Back row (l to r): Robin Talley, Ryan Graudin, Ellen Oh. Front row (l to r): Justina Ireland, L.R. Giles, Kat Yeh, Renee Ahdieh.

Back row (l to r): Robin Talley, Ryan Graudin, Ellen Oh. Front row (l to r): Justina Ireland, L.R. Giles, Kat Yeh, Renée Ahdieh.

This was one of the best events I’ve participated in. The reception was styled in a kind of “Speed Dating” format: Authors sat at small tables with their books and booksellers mingled and stopped to chat about their books. There was a lot of enthusiasm and interest in #WeNeedDiverseBooks and our work, and it was great to meet so many people who own and run the independent bookstores we love and rely on. It’s also always wonderful to hang out with other authors and meet in real life after interacting online. Thanks so much to team members Ellen Oh, Aisha Saeed, Lamar Giles, I.W. Gregorio, Meg Medina, Renée Ahdieh, and Caroline Richmond for making me a part of it.

This was especially exciting for me because that night was the first time I saw advance copies of my new book, The Silence of Six! It looks really wonderful, and the awesome cover drew many people over to ask about it and get signed copies for their stores, kids, or themselves. Physical copies of the book are out in the world now! Thanks to my publisher, Adaptive Books, for getting books there in time.

It's more than 1s and 0s and ideas in my head!

It’s more than 1s and 0s and ideas in my head!

Despite my ongoing efforts to cull our bookshelves, I did come home with a few great books, and I encourage you to look for published and forthcoming work from the other attendees for a great selection of diverse titles and middle grade/young adult authors:

The Wrath and the Dawn — Renée Ahdieh

Fake ID — L.R. Giles

The Walled City — Ryan Graudin

None of the Above — I.W. Gregorio

Vengeance Bound — Justina Ireland

Control and Catalyst — Lydia Kang

Say What You Will — Cammie McGovern

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Best. Title. Ever.) — Meg Medina

Prophecy — Ellen Oh

The Only Thing to Fear — Caroline Tung Richmond

Written in the Stars — Aisha Saeed

Lies We Tell Ourselves — Robin Talley

Saving Baby Doe — Danette Vigilante

The Truth About Twinkie Pie — Kat Yeh

And of course, if you’d like to learn more about We Need Diverse Books and how to support the campaign:

Twitter | FacebookTumblr | Instagram

Some diverse books I nabbed at NAIBA

Some diverse books I nabbed at NAIBA


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what is “the silence of six”?

tumblr_static_yabclogo22Would you believe I’ve never had a proper cover reveal before? The covers for Fair Coin and Quantum Coin just appeared on the internet one day without much fanfare, so I felt like I had missed out on a fun milestone for authors. I love cover reveals for other books so much! I wanted one!

That’s why I’m thrilled that the superb folks at YA Books Central have agreed to host the cover reveal for my next novel, The Silence of Six! Even though I’ve been staring at the cover art lovingly for a few weeks already (and it’s already the wallpaper on my phone), I’m excited for others to see it and share their opinions. I think it’s very excellent, and perfect for the book in so many ways. And hey, if you don’t like seeing faces on book covers, this one more than makes up for the covers of my first two novels :)

So pop on over to YA Books Central to check out the cover and read an excerpt — the first bits of my new novel out in the world! There’s also a giveaway and a bunch of links to pre-order the e-book; a hardcover will be available, but links aren’t available yet.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November — because that’s when The Silence of Six will be available from Adaptive Books!

Tweet about it

Add it to your Goodreads shelf

Request a review copy at NetGalley

Pre-order the e-book: Amazon Kindle | iBooks | Kobo

Updated to add links — 15:30:00


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Alternative Approaches to War

[This post also appears on the Philadelphia Weekly blog, Phily Now.]

Thirteen years ago today, almost to the minute, I was in the street when the first tower fell. You saw it  fall on TV? You saw jack shit. Nothing you have ever seen, NOTHING, can prepare you for seeing with your own eyes the tallest structure in New York, the building you had ridden to the top of a dozen times and looked up to all of your life as an exemplar of human engineering come crashing down, floor by floor, with people trapped inside. We knew people were dying, and being so close to the collapse we all thought we were going to die too. I’ll never forget the sound of a woman’s voice. She was a woman of size, and in the mad crush of running people, she had fallen to the curb. She could not get herself up and was screaming, “Help me! Help me!” Several strong men came over and lifted her up, even as the chaos ensued around us. Most people ran.

I think many of those people are still running, but they don’t know it.

What happened later, after the incessant repetition of the towers’ collapse on TV, the national fear and terror stoked to a fever pitch, the president called for war on two fronts. And now, thirteen years later, a new president is calling for war again, this time on a so-called “limited” basis (we’ve heard that before) against a new enemy called ISIL, which is “worse than anything we’ve seen.” But what they really mean to say is “worse than anything we expected.”

Because we do the same thing again and again and again: we call for more war, believing it will bring about peace, and we are surprised when all it does it bring about more war.

Consider that it was we, the US, who destabilized Iraq. How many tens of thousands did we leave dead? And in that power vacuum a new force has arisen. The president plans to strike ISIL on a limited basis, but when have bombs ever led to a lasting political solution? We leave a country in tatters and we expect a few well-placed missiles to fix things? Two journalists are brutally murdered in a country most of us will never visit and could not point out on a map, and yet overwhelmingly (according to polls) people support military intervention against this new foe.

Meanwhile, after dozens of brutal gun murders committed here at home, many of them perpetrated by our children on other children, we can’t even pass sane gun laws. We’ve spent nearly a TRILLION dollars on the combined wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, and what has this accomplished? While here at home our public infrastructure languishes, bridges fail, and our economy has only begun to rise out of the greatest depression since 1929.

And yet the call to violence persists: attack them before they attack us.

We rush to punish a faceless force overseas and yet we have not punished a single person here at home for the economic collapse, even though the collapse can very easily be traced to distinct individuals whose actions destroyed countless lives here in the US. Many of these perpetrators still remain in their jobs.

I mourn today not only those who died thirteen years ago, but those who continue to die in our name, those nameless, faceless people whom we will never meet in a country we will never visit. Victims of our reactive fear and collective projection. We so easily see the flaws in other countries but never connect them with the flaws in our own collective psyche.

To bring about peace in the world and an end to violence does not begin with bombs (though I regretfully admit that they may sometimes be necessary), but with humanity. Do we stop to help the fallen get up, as those brave men did on 9/11 when they could just have easily fled with everyone else, or do we look for someone to punish for making us afraid? On this anniversary of that day I sincerely ask my friends here in the US and elsewhere if you want to continue this 21st century calling for more war, more violence, more bombs, or are you ready to try a different approach? You may call me naive or you might ask what such an alternative approach might be, and I would reply that the hawks have already won your mind, because the only solution you can think of is a military one. What else is there besides war? Use your fucking imagination.

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Nebula Awards Showcase

Nebula Awards Showcase 2014

I’m happy to announce that my Nebula Award-nominated short story”The Sounds of Old Earth” will be appearing in the upcoming Nebula Award Showcase 2015*, edited by Greg Bear and to be published by Pyr. All the short story and novelette nominees will be printed alongside the winners. I’m super psyched to be appearing beside such incredible talents!

* This is my guess at the title based on previous years’ editions.

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Recent Reviews

After a long fallow period, a whole bunch of my short stories are coming out between now and the end of the year, and some of them have racked up some nice reviews.

Also, Jeffrey Ford is one of my favorite writers, and he was my first-week Clarion instructor, so imagine my delight when he highlighted me as part of this recent Locus Roundtable on Ten Exciting Writers!

“Allosaurus Burgers,” a modern science fiction story by Sam J. Miller, tells the story of Matt, a young boy who lives near a farm where a real allosaurus is discovered. Living alone with his mother, a tall woman who works in a slaughterhouse, Matt’s view of the world is wrapped up in his mother’s opinions and prejudices. She towers over him like a god, and yet when he goes to see the allosaurus he comes face to face with something even larger. When his mother loses control after dealing with Matt’s father, it is up to Matt to try and protect her, and in so doing he finally sees her as a person, as capable of error. Weaving a complex family life without succumbing to cliche or simplification, the story shows the characters in all their richness, and handles a pivotal moment in a child’s life with art and power.”
“…Reading this story right after the last one highlighted some (unintentional) synchonicities between the stories. They’re both about small communities filled with people and families who have known each other since forever, a fact that drives the character’s motivations more than they might know. Both stories feature a beast that disrupts the normal course of life, though in this one the disruption is far more evident, and more parable-tastic. And once again I love the voice in this one. Sam J Miller’s name should be familiar to fans of the dark fantastic since he recently won a Shirley Jackson Award for this story.

“Following is another excellent story. “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” by Sam J. Miller strongly stands out with a unique format that flows effortlessly, and memorable young adult characters, outstanding speculative fiction elements, gay theme, and a plot focused on friendship, bullying, revenge and betrayal.”

Over at Locus, Lois Tilton reviews TWO of my short stories that came out in the past month, “Songs Like Freight Trains,” in Interzone (”The prose is appropriately evocative, the premise compelling”), and “We Are The Cloud,” in Lightspeed (”A darkly cynical piece that doesn’t sugar-coat its circumstances”).
This random review of Allosaurus Burgers is only one sentence long: “I didn’t really get it.” And a rating of 1 out of 5 stars! I can take it.

Violin in a Void” does a great short fiction roundup, and they have nice things to say:
My favourite story for July – and one of my favourites this year – was “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides by Sam J. Miller, from Nightmare Magazine. The story won a Shirley Jackson Award, and I can see why. It’s about Jared, a gay teenager, who has been viciously bullied by six boys at school. However, he discovers that he has a unique ability that he can use to take revenge, with the help of his best friend Anchal. What makes the story particularly interesting is that the whole thing is told in a list of 57 items – the reasons for the Slate Quarry suicides. It builds quite slowly, but the gruesome ending is just superb.”
“57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” by Sam J. Miller is another strong piece, though much more on the “horror” end of things—as, frankly, many of the stories in this volume are. (And the Wilde Stories collections also tend to be, across the years.) It’s a list-story, which I tend to be a little iffy about as a form, but it works here reasonably well. The protagonist is simultaneously sympathetic and terrible, and the ending of the narrative is fairly brutal; it wasn’t entirely what I expected, but it did fit the piece. The title also gains a disturbing resonance in its implications about the deaths: that people think that it was suicide, when it was anything but.”

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On the Roots of Human Violence

ouroborosWe are a violent species. When I said such on social media a few weeks back, a friend commented that I was wrong. Humanity isn’t violent. Our innate tendencies are to share and to love and to be compassionate, and he cited cultures that had little or no contact with the modern world as examples of what might happen if we are left to reside in our “natural” state. Violence, he said, was a result of the Military Industrial Complex’s marriage with Capitalism that has created a world of scarcity where none previously existed. When resources are hard to come by, people will fight over them.

I didn’t buy his argument — entirely. While I do think that capitalism makes us think of other human beings not as people to share with but resources to exploit and control, to see our fellow humans as prey and not as companions, I don’t think our tendencies toward violence begin there. Before capitalism, there was still war. True, in times of plenty there is  less war. But violence returns inevitably. It’s as if we are reenacting a great drama, one we learned as children from our parents, who learned it from their parents, who learned from theirs, etc., etc.. going back countless generations.

I’ve been reading a lot of Alice Miller, the late great German psychotherapist, and she posited that there is a repeating pattern to child abuse that go something like this:

  1.  To be hurt as a small child without anyone recognizing the situation as such
  2. To fail to react to the resulting suffering with anger
  3. To show gratitude for what are supposed to be good intentions
  4. To forget everything
  5. To discharge the stored-up anger onto others in adulthood or direct it against oneself

Often times, under the guise of “child rearing” or “doing what’s best for the child” or “making sure the child is not spoiled” parents unwittingly reenact the abuse of their own childhood. Before, they were helpless victims, afraid, withdrawn, full of rage, but now they are in the position of total power. And rather than recognize those feelings now erupting in their own children, they literally beat them down, disavowing the uncomfortable emotions and repressing the memories of the trauma they themselves have undergone. The painful emotions (of the parent) are therefore contained (albeit with severe consequences) and the child, who has no wisdom from which to understand her experience, represses the painful emotions until she either has children of her own to repeat the abuse or grows up to become a severely contained, self-critical individual, full of neuroses.

Alice Miller makes the case for this pattern causing great harm in history by citing German child-rearing books of the early 20th century and through various quotes and memoirs from members of the Third Reich, including Hitler himself. How, people have asked, could an entire nation so coldly send millions of children to their deaths? In the same way these adults were “murdered” themselves as children, when in their youth they were denied their natural feelings and were forced to submit to the will of the parents through humiliation, neglect, and violence. Thus the child learns that obedience is the only path to safety. But it comes at great cost. The child’s true, vital self has died. So how could these repressed adults feel anything when millions of children were murdered in the Holocaust? To feel empathy would mean acknowledging their own “death” at the hands of their parents, an emotional impossibility, because it would mean owning all those horrific emotions they were forced to suppress at the cost of survival. So instead of feeling all those ugly, grotesque, horrific feelings of being beaten, rejected, criticized and “corrected” for being themselves, they project their uncomfortable feelings onto the “other” and punish them. In child-rearing, this other is the helpless child. In WWII Germany, this other was the Jews.

The Other has many names today: Radical Islam, the Great Satan, Jews, Blacks, Gays, the Patriarchy, Feminism, the Police State, I could go on….

In other words, this cycle of violence isn’t restricted to Germany in the past. Consider what Alice Miller says about terrorism, which I feel is utterly relevant today:

When terrorists take innocent women and children hostage in the service of a grand and idealistic cause, are they really doing anything different from what was once done to them? When they were little children full of vitality, their parents had offered them up as sacrifices to a grand pedagogic purpose, to lofty religious values, with the feeling of performing a great and good deed. Since these young people never were allowed to trust their own feelings, they continue to suppress them for ideological reasons. These intelligent and often very sensitive people, who had once been sacrificed to a “higher” morality, sacrifice themselves as adults to another — often opposite — ideology, in whose service they allow their inmost selves to be completely dominated, as has been the case in their childhood.

We can come to understand the brutal and cold way in which terrorists slaughter innocents once we see that it was the terrorist himself who was the first victim, when his natural tendencies were suppressed in order to instill the violent ideology of his parents. This then makes the anti-semitic “Farfour the Mouse” much more understandable, as does the images of Israeli children signing missiles before they were to be lofted into Lebanon. How Hamas can launch missiles from schools and hospitals and how Israelis can watch the bombs fall with beach chairs and beer. These people have suffered greatly at the hands of a more powerful force — their parents, when they were forced at a young age to suppress their natural vitality and succumb to the ideology. And when these repressed children reach adulthood, rather than acknowledge the abuse they received (the indoctrination, the suppression of feelings), they project their rage onto the other: Jews or Arabs or the closest target. In order that these emotions remain hidden and projected away, they must repress any alternate view in their children. They must help them to hate the “other” too. The cycle continues.

This is why there is no peace in the Middle East. It has nothing to do with land, only with trauma.

Consider the right-wing in the United States, the demographic that watches Fox News and espouses Libertarianism and Ayn Rand quotes. Their philosophy is one of hawkish militarism, of “rugged individualism,” an M.O. that says, “I toughed it out, worked hard, and got where I am by sheer will.” It begins to make sense why such people would rail against universal healthcare (something seen as evil) or any form of welfare (seen as a drain on the system), why they are anti-immigrant and anti-persons of color (i.e. racist), and why, though they profess to be anti-government, they are often the most arduous backers of government once a sufficient representative is in power (e.g. George Bush.)  I am certain that in their childhood these right-wing ideologues were abused: their natural, vital emotions were stifled and they were taught to be “self-sufficient” and “independent” (read: abandoned emotionally, forced to repress their natural childhood emotions). Their parents were violent towards them, shamed and humiliated them for having natural feelings, they were unforgiving of mistakes and made sure that the child submitted to the “correct” and “moral” will of the adult. A child subjected to such trauma will repress and forget it in order to survive. As an adult, these individuals will not consciously realize that they have suffered and were left to survive on their own. They may even praise their parents as exemplars of good “child-rearing” To acknowledge their own pain would mean undoing the narrative that they have constructed for themselves and unlocking the painful and horrific memories. Instead, they project those uncomfortable feelings onto the Other. It is the blacks who are violent (not the abusing parent). It is immigrants who are draining the system (the child was not given any help, so why should the adult help another?). Militarism is always an acceptable solution for political problems (because problems in the child’s household were often met with violence, which quelled any further discussion.) The leader who is right must be obeyed (because the parents must be obeyed, or else.)

Alice Miller further elaborates on this:

Every ideology offers its adherents the opportunity to discharge their pent-up affect collectively while retaining the idealized primary object, which is transferred to new leader figures or to the group in order to make up of a lack of satisfying symbiosis with the mother. Idealization of a narcissistically cathected group guarantees collective grandiosity. Since every ideology provides a scapegoat outside the confines of its own splendid group, the weak and scorned child who is part of the total self but has been split off and never acknowledged can now be openly scorned and assailed in this scapegoat.

Consider the increasing amount of gun violence in the United States, especially in schools.  How, we ask, can a teenager walk into a school and slaughter dozens of children, or even children he’s never met? The answer is always: projection. Rather than acknowledge the too painful feelings of his own abuse, the perpetrator projects his hate and rage onto others. I wonder if a collective study ever been done on the childhoods of these mass murderers. I would bet that invariably, behind the facade of the normal home everyone pretends to see, there is a history of abuse. But because most people have been abused in one form or another by their parents, most people will see only the facade (“He was such a nice kid. I don’t understand how he could have done this.”) Acknowledging the abuse means acknowledging one’s own abuse. But this is too often repressed.

And so the cycle goes on…

There are an enormous number of activists groups all over the world working to make this planet a better place for all. They fight for human rights, housing, health care, the environment. But I am beginning to believe they are like a farmer trying to remove an invasive Kudzu weed one leaf at a time. To remove the destructive plant, one must destroy it at its root. Human violence, toward the environment, toward animals, toward other humans, if it ever is to be eradicated, must be stopped at its source: the abuse of children. How we might stop this abuse on a large scale, I don’t yet know. The risk in trying to stop these abuses is that we become militant and abusive ourselves in the policing of them. But I do believe that awareness of the cycle is the first step. I believe that if we are to collectively build a better planet we first must acknowledge that child abuse leads to adult violence, and that we ourselves may (and likely) have been abused in such a way that we are ignorant of it. And then we project our hate outward toward the other as a way of keeping ugliness, the pain out of our consciousness. The first step is considering who you hate and who you blame. Do any of your relationships with these hate objects mirror your early experiences?

I realize that my thoughts on this topic are obviously incomplete, and I’m only just beginning to explore this subject, so I welcome any discussion, pro or con to my argument.

* Alice Miller quotes from For Your Own Good, FSG, New York, 1984


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