by Greg Bechtel
March 18, 2014
Shortlisted for the 2015 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
Shortlisted for the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award
Longlisted for the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 Alberta Book Publishers Book of the Year Award (Trade Fiction)
In his confident debut, Greg Bechtel offers ten magnetically charged stories about the impossible-turned-possible — secrets, paranoia, sex, conspiracies, and magic — as he effortlessly shatters the boundaries between speculative and literary fiction.
Boundary Problems vibrates on the edge of meaning, as carjackers, accidental gunrunners, and small-town cabbies struggle to wring meaning from the strange events that overtake them. Bechtel’s worlds of mystery and magic constantly challenge his characters’ pursuit of logical explanations. These compelling tales blur lines and push boundaries — into the surreal, into the playful, into the irresistible energy of uncertainty.
“Each of Greg Bechtel’s stories is a perfect little puzzle-box: one marvels at their perfect geometries while anticipating that dazzling moment where every piece slots flush. These finely-crafted, emotionally resonant tales will stay with me a long, long time.” — Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City and Rust and Bone
“Here is beauty and strangeness on every page. In these finely written stories, people meet, connect for a moment in time, then vanish like quantum particles. Sometimes, in the best tradition of Philip K. Dick, reality itself seems to be unraveling. But Bechtel is too canny to restrict himself to any genre conventions—these are stories about how we live now, and he’s figured out that we’re all leading science fictional lives.” —Daryl Gregory, author of Pandemonium and Unpossible
“From tarot cards and junk mail and theoretical physics, Greg Bechtel weaves mirror worlds of the complex and precarious lives we live now. This audacious, astonishing debut collection reminds us that in a world stripped of the magical, we can find magic again where it’s always been, waiting for us to remember we need it: in stories.” — Thomas Wharton, author of The Logogryph and Icefields
“Where magic meets physics, Bechtel writes in the dynamic margins of possibility. Boundary Problems is a mind-bending vacation from the ordinary.” — Saleema Nawaz, author of Bone and Bread and Mother Superior
“Boundary Problems is a chaotic collection with comic touches, a paranoid Pynchonesque mix-tape of hosers and hipster cafes, office jobs and summer camp confessions, lit theory and online porn. Boundary problems? No problem for Greg Bechtel; his debut is wild, sly, and magnetic.” — Mark Anthony Jarman, author of 19 Knives and My White Planet
REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
“Each of Bechtel’s stories are puzzling, funny, dramatic and engaging… Bechtel’s self-awareness, sense of humour and stylistic ability result in a worthwhile and memorable collection.” — Broken Pencil, July 2014.
“The title of this collection nicely expresses an essential component in the tales: a transgressively Equipoisal approach to the fractal convolutions of twenty-first century Fantastika. Hard SF tropes are shot through with Magic; reality is seen as a matter of Perception.” — SFE: Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
“A vanishingly thin – and therefore easily crossed – line exists between dream and reality, magic and science, insanity and sanity in Greg Bechtel’s debut story collection… The 10 stories crackle with intelligence and energetic dialogue.” — Quill and Quire, May 2014.
Interview with CKUA Radio’s Artbeat and reading from Boundary Problems, June 1, 2014.
Radio interview with Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, May 13, 2014.
“12 or 20 Questions with Greg Bechtel,” interview with rob mclennan, May 12, 2014.
“Short story writer Greg Bechtel has some Boundary Problems”: interview with the LPG, May 2014.
“[A]n articulate debut from a well-developed (and hopefully prolific) new voice in Canadian fiction.” — The Winnipeg Review, April 21, 2014.
“Bechtel displays a refreshing willingness to experiment with aspects of narratology, lending his collection a surface unfamiliarity that resembles the literary equivalent of quantum mechanics.” — National Post, April 11, 2014.
“Bechtel’s collection explores that permeable place between speculative fiction and realist fiction, not shying away from either, but interweaving them – because reality IS speculative, and good speculative fiction should evoke questions and speculations about reality.” — Speculating Canada, April 6, 2014.
“I highly recommend checking out this anthology of short stories and getting as lost as the characters featured inside Boundary Problems.” — the griff, April 2, 2014.
“This slippery story is one that invites the reader to play with notions of gendered identities, question the social messages that have been projected upon our society, and challenge any identity of fixity.” — Speculating Canada, March 27, 2014.
“[an] adept and thought-provoking debut… [Bechtel’s] interconnections of characters and themes are expertly accomplished.” — Alberta Views, March 2014.
Featured on the LPG’s First Fiction Fridays, March 14, 2014.