The Troika by Stepan Chapman

Stepan Chapman’s updated and definitive edition of his 1997 Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel, THE TROIKA, is now available in ebook format from Ministry of Whimsy Press / Cheeky Frawg Books.

Beneath the glare of three purple suns, three travelers – an old Mexican woman, an automated jeep, and a brontosaurus – have trudged across a desert for hundreds of years. They do not know if the desert has an end, and if it does, what they might find there. Sometimes they come across perfectly-preserved cities, but without a single inhabitant, and never a drop of rain. Worse still, they have no memory of their lives before the desert. Only at night, in dreams, do they recall fragments of their past identities.

But night also brings the madness of the sandstorms, which jolt them out of one body and into another in a game of metaphysical musical chairs. In their disorientation and dysfunction, they have killed each other dozens of times, but they cannot die. Where are they? How can they escape?

From this quest form, Stepan Chapman has fashioned a poignant and powerful story of redemption in which pathos is leavened by humor and pain is softened by comfort. It is the story of deranged angels, deadly music boxes, and cellular transformation. It is also the tale of Alex who wanted to be a machine, Naomi, who spent 20 years as a corpsicle, and Eva, who escaped the whale emperor of her native land. The novel alternates between the three characters’ attempts to discover where they are with their search for identity through the dream stories which reveal their fragmented pasts. The Troika’s satisfying conclusion brings closure to one of the most harrowing journeys ever into the heart of surrealism and the human soul.

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Ministry of Whimsy to become imprint of Wyrm Publishing

Effective January 1, 2008, Jeff VanderMeer’s Ministry of Whimsy Press will come out of hibernation as an imprint of Wyrm Publishing. VanderMeer will work as a creative consultant and publicist for the Ministry’s books.

In its previous incarnations, the Ministry published the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Troika by Stepan Chapman, as well as the landmark Leviathan fiction anthologies. The Ministry was a World Fantasy Award finalist in 1998 and VanderMeer won a World Fantasy Award in 2003 for co-editing Leviathan 3, also a Philip K. Dick Award finalist.

Future projects for the Ministry will include Last Drink Bird Head, an anthology of flash fiction in support of literacy projects that features contributions from Gene Wolfe, Peter Straub, Tanith Lee, Stephen R. Donaldson, Rikki Ducornet, Caitlin Kiernan, Michael Swanwick, and many more. Through Wyrm Publishing, the Ministry will release two to three books a year, with the Leviathan series set to return in 2009. The Ministry is not currently soliciting book projects.

Wyrm Publishing was established by Neil Clarke earlier this year, and will soon publish books by Charles Stross, Gene Wolfe, and Tobias Buckell, in addition to the ongoing publication of Clarkesworld Magazine and its annual Realms anthology. For more information on Wyrm Publishing, visit their web site.