Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures

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Often humorous, sometimes chilling, always entertaining, this collection of award-winning author Michael Swanwick s short-short fiction is a work of masterfully sustained whimsy for adults. Cigar-Box Faust contains more than seventy fantastical stories in fewer than a hundred pages. The title piece is a five-minute condensation of a classic of Western literature, featuring a cigar-cutter as Mephistopheles; a box of matches in the roles of Helen of Troy, an Angel of the Lord, and the Light of Ontology; and a cigar as Faust himself. Although it has previously been performed live by the author, this is its first appearance in print. There is also an abecedary showcasing Swanwick s bravura imagination with a separate story for every letter of the alphabet, another set of tales for every planet in the solar system, and a series of pieces that the author literally wrote in his sleep! To say nothing of a clutch of alternate autobiographies, a novella of decadence and corporate politics in a future Venice that has been boiled down to 416 words, Picasso and Philip K. Dick as existential heroes...and a rhyme for orange.