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Century-spanning life spans. Biohacking. Personality modification technology.


Tom Purdom likes to quote Frederik Pohl's prescription for a good science fiction story: "interesting people doing interesting things in an interesting future." He began his writing career over 50 years ago, selling stories and novels to legendary editors like Pohl, John W. Campbell, H.L. Gold, and Donald Wollheim.


For the last twenty years, he's been roving space and time with an acclaimed string of stories in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. Settle back with twelve of his best portraits of all-too-human characters coping with the challenges of the future.


Introduction by Michael Swanwick
"Fossil Games" (Hugo nominee for Best Novelette, 2000)
"Haggle Chips"
"Dragon Drill"
"Canary Land"
"Research Project"
"Bonding with Morry"
"A Response from EST17"
"The Path of the Transgressor"
"The Mists of Time"


A few comments on Tom Purdom:

"Very simply, Tom Purdom IS science fiction. His ever-inventive stories are cut from the cloth of it and sewn with the skill of a master." —Gregory Frost


"Tom Purdom made his first professional sale all the way back in 1957. It's hard to think of any other member of his generation whose current work is frequently mentioned in the same breath with that of writers such as Charles Stross, Greg Egan, and Alastair Reynolds, many of whom were not even born when Tom started his professional career, but Tom's is. In fact, for sweep and audacity of imagination and a wealth of new ideas and dazzling conceptualization, Tom Purdom not only holds his own with the New Young Turks of the '90s and the Oughts, he sometimes surpasses them. And unlike some of today's Hot New Writers, Tom's work never fails to ALSO feature fascinating and psychologically complex characters, and intrepid investigation into the human heart." —Gardner Dozois


"Tom Purdom is the most underrated science fiction writer I know of. His short fiction delivers again and again with great plots, characters, and an imagination both cosmic and delicately complex." —Jeffrey Ford


"Purdom has created a major body of work. Thoughtful, humane, intelligent, extrapolative, involving, his stories are exactly the sort of thing our genre exists to make possible. If you don't like Tom Purdom, you don't like science fiction. Period." —Michael Swanwick


Publicity and Reviews:

"Writing such characters believably—and creating a credible conflict to drive the story—is typical of the challenges Purdom sets himself.…" The three military sf stories "show an acute awareness of the military culture that informs some of the characters—and a sharp sense of the discrepancies between that culture and the world most of his readers inhabit. They're a good reminder that military SF is a more complex subgenre than many readers—fans and critics alike—realize.… The way the story ["Research Project"] unfolds is especially interesting because of Purdom's choice of viewpoint character—a choice that gives flashes of Purdom's sense of humor.… For idea-driven stories built around characters with unusual depth, told in a highly individual voice, look no farther. Purdom is one of a kind." —Asimov's Science Fiction, December 2014


"…there are indeed some rare second acts in the lives of American creators and businesspeople and scientists and politicians and altruists. And we have a brilliant example right here in our genre, in the career of Tom Purdom.… In effect, Purdom hauled himself back on stage, in a world and field that had changed immeasurably—a field that had essentially, save for old-timers, forgotten him—and proved himself utterly cutting-edge and au courant.… An affectionate and insightful introduction by Michael Swanwick… kicks off the volume. Then comes 'Fossil Games,' a story that illustrates right away all the powers of Purdom's comeback writing. He combines the best of his old-school training with the best of twenty-first-century attitudes and techniques. It's as if Samuel Delany had been one of John Campbell's stable, or John Kessel had been groomed by H.L. Gold, or Maureen McHugh had been tutored by Anthony Boucher." —Asimov's Science Fiction, September 2014


"The twelve SF stories in Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons are a perfect blend of really cool ideas and believable, sympathetic characters. Beyond that, Purdom doesn't shy away from exploring the moral and ethical choices of his characters.… Definitely recommended." —Don Sakers, Analog Science Fiction & Fact (July/August 2014)


"…for sweep and audacity of imagination and a wealth of new ideas and dazzling conceptualization, Tom Purdom not only holds his own with the New Young Turks of the '90s and the Oughts, he sometimes surpasses them.… Purdom also specializes in writing his own unique brand of military SF… much more concerned with tactics and strategy than with the bloody details of combat, with hard moral and ethical choices, and, almost uniquely… with the psychological effects and consequences that military service has on families.… This is a collection that should appeal to anyone who likes core science fiction." —Locus Magazine, July 2014


"It is a stunning array of stories that surprised me at their breadth of concepts and topics. They could explore interpersonal and philosophical ideas of a community living on an interstellar asteroid or debate the reasons of war. All of these ideas come wrapped up in a cocoon of thoughtful sci-fi concepts and stellar writing. At their core, they're idea driven stories that not only entertain but expand your thinking into new territories, which is what the best science fiction always does." —Chris Urie, naming author Tom Purdom "Geek of the Week" in (25 June 2014)


Chosen as a "Best Bet for Speculative Fiction Books—February 2014" by Kirkus Reviews


"There's way more to Tom Purdom than his classical music reviews for Broad Street Review! A collection of his science fiction stories, Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons, is now available… The lovers and fighters in the title cope with future possibilities that include personality modification techniques, new religions, radical extensions of the human lifespan, and overwhelming technological change. The dragons are mostly metaphorical, except for an exercise in military history that pits a detachment from Frederick the Great’s army against a real flying fire-breather." —Broad Street Review's "What's New What's Next" (31 January 2014)


Michael Swanwick talks about the book in this blog post (30 December 2013)


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