Universe Box is now SOLD OUT
Universe Boxes is a collaborative project by Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter. The boxes were assembled over several years by Porter, and the novelette was written by Swanwick.
The project has four distinct elements:
Each box is an actual cigar box, lined with astronomical charts and photomoechanicals of paleontological art. (Please note: the boxes have been carefully cleaned, bicarbonate of soda-ed, aired out, and Febreezed, but they originally held real tobacco.)
The exterior of each box has a Dragonstairs Press return address sticker and appropriate rubber-stamp-canceled postage for the item to go through the mail. (Out of concern for the contents, the Universe Boxes will be padded and shipped in larger boxes.) When each is sold, an address sticker with its purchaser’s name and address will be added. The whole will then be tied up with string.
A variety of objects have been included in each. Every box has a hand-bound signed copy of Universe Box by Michael Swanwick and a vaccine created by Marianne Porter (more on these below).
Contents of one box, identified as Coma Bernices/Pleistocene include:
red gem coral Corallium sp.
postal reply coupon
vintage German glass taxidermy eyes
Plus, of course, the vaccine and book. Some of the above items are common to all boxes but most are not. The contents of each box are unique to it.
Packing material consists of early drafts of the included story, run through a shredder.
Universe Box is a previously-unpublished 10,500 word fantasy dealing with cosmic powers, giraffe wranglers, the purpose of existence, and the most boring young man in all the universe. Physically, it is a stab-bound book with decorative paper covers, roughly six inches by four inches, issued in an edition of thirteen plus one printer’s proof. The books are all autographed by Michael Swanwick and a contents list is autographed by both the author and the publisher.
One vaccine is included per box. These are individual works of art by Marianne Porter, consisting of a glass serum bottle (2 cm x 4.5 cm) filled with specifics “against what ails you.” The bottle is sealed with a rubber stopper and topped with a crimped aluminum cap. It can be opened, but once opened cannot be resealed. The contents of each vaccine are unique to it. The one included in Coma Bernices/Pleistocene, for example, contains human hair, an agate bead, and wire.
The vaccines are part of a larger series, none of which have previously been made available for purchase.
“The gamut of true love, treachery, sly jibes, and deceit in five flash seasons.” —Gregory Frost , author of Shadowbridge
"Bright, brief, and pitiless—an icy shard of Swanwick to the brain." --- Greer Gilman, author of Moonwise
Five Seasons is Michael Swanwick's slightly different take on the cycle of the year. Tricksy, complex, and definitely for grownups. Five short short stories, independent but interrelated, bound in 100% cotton wrappers, 8.5” x 5.5”, five pages hand-stitched, signed by the author, numbered, and issued in an edition of 100, of which
Inside the United States, Five Seasons. Six dollars.
Shipped internationally, Five Seasons. Seven dollars.
8 1/2” x 5 1/2” six pages This project consists of two essays: “Meditations on Oysters” by Christopher Morley (1917) and “Meditations on Meditations on Oysters” by Michael Swanwick. (2015) The two essays are bound in one set of covers in “tête-bêche” fashion (often [apparently mistakenly] called dos à dos). Stitching ornamented with a single grey pearl.
Limited to 50 numbered copies, signed by Michael Swanwick, with
Hunting the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick. 6 1/2" by 4". Bound in archival board wrappers covered with hand-dyed rice paper, with a stab binding ornamented with a single aventurine bead. The contents include a text introduction by Michael Swanwick, and seventeen color illustrations, also by Swanwick, created originally on the iPad, as part of early planning for the novel, "Chasing the Phoenix". Illustrations include many of the major characters, and several incidents from the book.
Limited to 30 numbered copies, signed by the author, with ONLY
The Fallen Leaves Project was carried out during October, 2015, in multiple locations around Philadelphia, including Laurel Hill Cemetery, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Morris Arboretum, and Gorgas Park.
Michael Swanwick composed “epitaphs”, and wrote them on fallen leaves. The leaves were photographed by Marianne Porter and Michael Swanwick within a few feet of where they were found and left where they were, to be discovered by passersby. Or not. The photographs were posted daily throughout October on Twitter, Facebook, and Swanwick's blog. In total, ninety-four images were created.
Leaves is a set of albums made of hand-crafted mulberry
paper, manufactured by Karin tribe members, with a selection of leaf
photographs pasted in. Archival glue was used throughout. Each album
contains fifteen images and no two albums contain the same
set of images. Fallen Leaves is limited to an edition
of twenty albums, of which
Fallen Leaves is sold out. Thank you all for your interest.
depicted: Front and inside of Season's Greetings.
Season's Greetings by Michael Swanwick. Three brief seasonal tales. Edition of 100 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4 1/4" x 5 1/2", 9 pages. 2014.
Print run of 100. 5$ each.
Season's Greetings is sold out. Thank you all for your interest.
Solstice Fire by Michael Swanwick. Three brief seasonal tales. Edition of 100 copies, hand-stitched,
signed and numbered, 4 1/4" x 5 1/2", 12 pages 2013 Sold out. Thank you for your interest.
A single copy of Solstice Fire costs $5.00.
Midwinter Elves. Three Brief Midwinter Tales . Edition of 100 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4 1/4” x 5 1/2”, 8 pages 2012 Sold out. Thanks for your interest.
A single copy of Midwinter Elves costs $5.00. Sold out.
Tumbling. Edition of 50 copies, hand-folded, signed and numbered, 3" x 3", 2013 12 pages
Tumbling, by Michael Swanwick, is a twelve "page" short-short story of Lizzy O'Brien's astronaut training days. It is printed on a single sheet of cut and folded silver paper. I think it's a charming little story myself, and that Michael did a great job.
It Came upon a Midnight. Three Brief Midwinter Tales . Edition of 100 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4 1/4” x 5 1/2”, 6 pages
...“ Snowflake People ” is a profound twenty-first century contemplation of the form and function of the snowflake, as lovely a glimpse of impermanence as any of Wilson Bentley’s superb photographs (and the other two stories are pretty dandy, too). --- H. Wessells
Michael Swanwick. American Cigarettes [and] Song of the Lorelei [and] The Brain-Baron [and] The Nature of Mirrors . , , ,  pp. 4 vols., [Philadelphia : Dragonstairs Press, 2011]. Printed self-wrappers, sewn. Each title ... signed by the author. Originally published in different form in Live without a Net , ed. Lou Anders (2003).
The four stories may be read separately, and each is complete in itself. Read in order (Lorelei, Cigarettes, Brain-Baron, Mirrors) they compose a longer (if still short) consistent work. They were produced in editions of 100, and most were given away over the summer of 2011, in conjunction with publicity for the Darger and Surplus novel, Dancing with Bears (Night Shade Press).
A complete set of four costs $15.00. SOLD OUT
A single copy of American Cigarettes costs $4.00. SOLD OUT
A single copy of Song of the Lorelei costs $4.00. SOLD OUT
A single copy of The Brain-Baron costs $4.00. SOLD OUT
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
A list of all Dragonstairs Press works is available here.
Due to the limited print run and tremendous interest, Fallen Leaves sold out very quickly. If you are interested in a related project,October Leaves is still available from Blurb books.
(descriptions in part by Henry Wessells, bookman)