Cigar-Box Faust: And Other Miniatures

by Michael Swanwick
Release date: 2003
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, short stories

This collection of short-short fiction by Michael Swanwick contains more than 70 stories in fewer than 100 pages. Often humorous, sometimes chilling, always entertaining, these are prime examples of a recently resurrected literary form.

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, the Light of Ontology, and a cigar as Faust himself. Swanwick's bravura imagination has resulted in a separate story for every letter of the alphabet and another set of tales for every planet in the solar system.

Additionally, there is 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.

updated 2010-09-07

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