January 26, 2011
Seven Stories Press author Christopher R. Howard, finalist for the 2008 National Magazine Award for Fiction, was announced today as being one of two authors, along with Jodi Picoult, selected to contribute an original piece of short fiction to the launch of Amazon’s new Kindle Singles Program. The program, which launched this morning, is meant to provide a means of effectively distributing and promoting short stories of between 10,000 and 30,000 words, and fills in the gray area between traditional magazine and traditional book formats for both fiction and nonfiction texts.
Howard’s story, “Darkstar,” is the history of a homeless Irish teen who becomes aware, through arcane means, of a coming apocalyptic disaster facing the planet Earth. The story, originally written in 2006 and first made available today with the Kindle Singles launch, represents an early exploration of the themes of apocalypse that dominate Howard’s forthcoming debut novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar. Tea of Ulaanbaatar tells the story of an American Peace Corps mission in Mongolia whose volunteers become addicted to a blood-red tea called Tsus that may be the final revenge of the long-dead Khans, or that may be only a powerful hallucinogen operating on an uneasy mind, as a phantasmagoria of violence is unleashed. In the words of Stewart O’Nan: “Like Robert Bingham’s Lightning on the Sun, Tea of Ulaanbaatar is a merciless dissection of lost young American volunteers drifting through a violent and absurd third-world capital, helping no one, especially themselves. Christopher Howard’s sharp, spare voice delivers a nightmarish geo-noir.”
Tea of Ulaanbaatar will be available from Seven Stories Press in May 2011.