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Maps: The Uncollected Stories of John Sladek
edited by David Langford

Subject: Science Fiction / Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Big Engine (UK)

Edition Our Price inc. p&p Status
first edition trade paperback, 359pp, ISBN 1903468086, 2002 N/A out of print

Maps: The Uncollected Stories of John Sladek cover

    John Sladek had that rarest and most prized of qualities — he was a funny writer who could be even funnier in person. When John died, still making jokes, a very big light went out for me. His sharp understanding of power politics and the subtleties of authoritarian hypocrisy made him without doubt the sharpest, subtlest and funniest of any humourist of his generation. He was one of the few who could deliver in print what Monty Python and their peers could only ever deliver on the screen but he had a substance to him, a quiet, sardonic anger, which made him a stalwart on New Worlds and one of our most valued contributors. He was also, for many years, a highly valued friend. He took his imminent death with the same equanimity he took the terrors and injustices of the world.
    Michael Moorcock
    Across five decades John Sladek's work has burned like a dark fire at the heart of modern science fiction. One of the most technically gifted writers of his generation, the products of his ferocious intelligence are at once inventive, funny, melancholy and sharply satirical. His stories are skewed mirrors, revealing with remarkable clarity the technological, social and moral fractures of our day and the next.
    Stephen Baxter
    Thanks for a chance to see the intro. My eyes are still moist with laughter. Lord, John was a funny guy! And such titles. What contents pages he could boast! I'm pleased to be present at such a distinguished wake. I hope I have the good luck someday to have so conscientious and quick-witted a memorialist. Were there a heaven and were John in it he'd be raining down suitable blessings, I doubt not.
    Thomas Disch

Big Engine is proud to publish a final collection of the late John Sladek's fiction, assembled by David Langford and a team of helpers with the full co-operation of Sladek's estate.

Sladek's satire still bites, his stories still compel with their unique mix of wit and melancholy, his obsessive inventiveness still amuses and impresses. Langford has gathered all the solo stories – the science fiction, the detective puzzles, the mainstream (or what passed for it with Sladek), the unclassifiably off-beat "non-fact" pieces – that Sladek is known to have published but did not appear in his previous collections. Also included are poems, playlets, pseudonymous fiction, all the short collaborations with Thomas M. Disch (including three never previously published), and some witty autobiographical essays – testimony to a hugely talented man who stood a little aside from science fiction but for two decades helped shape it, because his achievement was impossible to ignore.

Stories include:

Stories, mostly
  • The Lost Nose
  • In the Distance
  • Alien Territory
  • The Misinterpreted Letter
  • Comedo
  • By an Unknown Hand
  • Bill Gets Hep to God!
  • It Takes Your Breath Away
  • Peabody Slept Here
  • Machine Screw
  • The Future of John Sladek
  • Goodbye, Germany?
  • Robot "Kiss of Life" Drama
  • Some Mysteries of Birth, Death and Population that Can Now Be Cleared Up
  • The Entropy Tango
  • Love Among the Xoids
  • Stop Evolution in its Tracks!
  • Blood and Gingerbread
  • Dining Out
  • Radio Cats
  • Reinventing the Wheel
Poems and playlets
  • The Four Cows
  • A Section from the Adventures of I.E.M.
  • Untitled (sic!)
  • Untitled 2 (also sic)
  • Jesus in White Bucks
  • The Brusque Skate
  • No Exit
  • Seventh Inning Stretch
  • Down His Alarming Blunder
  • Letter
  • Love Nest
  • Page
  • The "Pelican"
  • The Treasure of the Haunted Rambler
 Sladek incognito
  • Just Another Victim
  • You Have a Friend at Fengrove National
  • The Switch
  • Timetable
  • Now That I'm Free
  • Practical Joke
  • Publish and Perish
  • In the Oligocene
Sladek and Disch
  • The Way to a Man's Heart
  • The Floating Panzer
  • The Incredible Giant Hot Dog
  • The Marching Raspberries
  • Sweetly Sings the Chocolate Budgie
  • United We Stand Still
  • The Atheist's Bargain
  • The Discovery of the Nullitron
  • Danny's New Friends from Deneb
  • Mystery Diet of the Gods
  • Transplanting Your Own Heart – A Do-It-Yourself Guide
Sladek on Sladek
  • Kids! Read Books In Your Spare Time!
  • Writing Places
  • 4-Part List
  • How I Became a Science Fiction Master in Only 15 Minutes a Day
  • John Sladek Comments