The Book of Blarney

            Dragonstairs celebrates St. Patrick's Day! 

            Four whimsical, cynical vignettes on the theme of Ireland's religious and literary history.

            5 ½ by 4 ¼ inches.  Wrapper of Nepalese lokta paper, in two different states. Decorated with an applied harp label and green ribbon.   Numbered and signed by the author.  Issued in an edition of 50, 11 of which were distributed to participants of Michael Swanwick's virtual kaffeklatch at 2021 Boskone. 

The Book of Blarney has sold out.  Thank you for your interest.

Shipped Domestically within the United States, The Book of Blarney, $12

Shipped Internationally, The Book of Blarney, $13

The Death of Aubrey Darger

The Death of Aubrey Darger is a lightly edited and revised version of the first chapter of the Darger and Surplus novel, Chasing the Phoenix. The result? A joyous romp and a complete, stand-alone story in its own right. This, and the novel, are the only records of what is probably the first time that Postutopian confidence artist extraordinaire Aubrey Darger ever died.

The Death of Aubrey Darger is hand-stitched, numbered, and signed by the author, Michael Swanwick. It is published in an edition of 100, of which 93 64 36 33 29 22 18 8 3 2 are available for sale.

Shipped Domestically, The Death of Aubrey Darger, $12

Shipped Internationally, The Death of Aubrey Darger, $14

Reindeer Season

            Reindeer Season is the latest of the Dragonstairs solstice chapbooks written by Michael Swanwick to mark this happy, dark, and mysterious time of year.  It includes ten very brief musings on the magical nature of reindeer and their relationship with Claus-tse.  Issued in an edition of 120, Reindeer Season is 4 1/4” x 5 1/2”, hand-stitched, numbered, and signed by the author.  Most copies have been given to friends, family, and colleagues, but 37 are offered for sale.

Reindeer season has sold out.  Thank you for your interest.

Blue as the Moon

Blue as the Moon is another blue moon project.  This is a 5 1/2” by 8 1/2” hand-stitched chapbook, numbered, and signed by author Michael Swanwick.  It includes eight adult, color-coded ruminations on the many horrors of Halloween.

As with Dragonstairs' previous blue moon project, Blue as the Moon is issued in an edition of 69, available for thirteen hours.  After that time, all unsold copies, and all other physical relics (drafts, paste-ups, rejected designs) will be burned.  The fire will be at midnight, October 31st, and will be recorded and shown on the web.

Sales will span the blue moon, the second full moon in October.  Blue as the Moon will be available from 5:54pm, October 30, 2020 (moonrise) to 7:17am, October 31, 2020 (moonset).  All times given are specific to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and are Eastern Daylight Savings Time. 

6:51 pm: 15 are left. 

7:31pm 5 left

8:09  sold out  Thank you all for your support!

Shipped Domestically, Blue as the Moon, $12

Shipped Internationally, Blue as the Moon, $14


Swan/Wolfe is the transcript of an interview with Michael Swanwick, conducted on the podcast “ReReading Wolfe” and focusing on Wolfe's place in modern science fiction and fantasy.   It is published in lightly edited form by Dragonstairs Press.  This hand-stitched chapbook (6”x9” 10 pages) is numbered and signed by Swanwick, and was produced in an edition of 100, of which 76 25 no more are available for purchase.

Swan/Wolfe, shipped within the United States, $12.50
Swan/Wolfe, shipped internationally, $15

Gulliver's Wife

Dean Swift lied! When Gulliver was lost at sea, his wife did not stay at home, wringing her hands, but went out in search of him. Her voyage to the Moon and back and what she learned in the process are recounted in nine swift chapters, inspired by the Golden Dawn visionary artist, W. H. Horton.  8 ½ x 5 ½, two illustrations colorized.  Hand-stitched, signed by the author, in a limited edition of 50, of which 41 12 3 no more are available for sale.  Thank you all for your interest and support.  (one hour, 24 minutes)

Shipped Domestically, Gulliver's Wife, $13

Shipped Internationally, Gulliver's Wife, $15

Northern Lights

Northern Lights was written to mark the 2018 solstice season.  A collection of darkly amusing takes on Icelandic myth, it consists of  four interrelated short short fictions based on the Yule Lads, the troublemaking imps of the dark northern Christmas.   It was issued in an edition of 120, all signed by the author and numbered, of which 56 20 15 12 9 are 1 is no more are available for sale.

Shipped Domestically, Northern Lights, $6

Shipped Internationally, Northern Lights, $7


Cigar Box Faust

Have you ever wanted to have your own theater? Well, now you can.

Check out Michael Swanwick's Cigar Box Faust:

Isn't that wonderful? Now you can produce your own performance of Cigar Box Faust. Dragonstairs Press is offering everything you need to mount your own production! The theater (a cigar box), the cast (a cigar in the title role and a cigar cutter as Mephistopheles, the sun, moon, and stars– well, cutouts and glitter), an mp3 file of Swanwick reading the text, and a chapbook of the script (a limited edition, signed by Michael Swanwick and numbered)!

OK, Full Disclosure: you will not get a box of matches. Do you know what you have to do to mail matches? You will receive a box of stage dressed matches that won't actually catch fire. Real matches, you're on your own.

Signed, limited edition theater set, limited to 40 theaters, 30 12 9 8 7 4 3 1 no more are available for sale.  Thank you for your support!

Domestic mailing $40

International mailing $45

The Third Frankenstein

Everyone knows there are two Frankensteins-- the one Mary Shelley wrote 200 years ago and the green fellow with the bolt in his neck created by hundreds of subsequent movie makers, comic book artists, and other collaborators. But if one reads the original text carefully, there is a third Frankenstein completely unlike anything the public knows. Michael Swanwick's new essay presents a theory so radical as to have critics everywhere snatching up torches and pitchforks for an attack on his lair.

The Third Frankenstein, by Michael Swanwick  literary essay,  bound in 100% cotton wrappers, 8.5” x 5.5”, hand-stitched, signed by the author, numbered, and issued in an edition of 100, of which 90 60 49 46 29 27 25 11 7 2 no more are available for purchase.  Thank you for your support.

And the critics praise Swanwick's "essential looniness"!

"There is only one problem with Michael Swanwick's theory: It describes a better Frankenstein than the teenager ever dreamed she wrote."  ---  John Clute

"Not too much unlike Victor Frankenstein himself, Swanwick has cobbled together various bits of the corpses of old literary theories in the service of a lurching and ungainly argument: unreliable narrators meet the unreliable analyst. The fact that it occasionally makes sense should not divert us from recognizing its essential looniness." --- Gary Wolfe

Shipped Domestically, The Third Frankenstein.  Eleven dollars.

Shipped Internationally, The Third Frankenstein.  Twelve Dollars.

In Memorium   by Michael Swanwick and Sean Swanwick

In Memorium was created to mark the installation of a plaque in honor of Gardner Dozois in the Salem Massachusetts Public Library.  Gardner was born in Salem and lived there until he was 18, when he left to join the Army.  The text was written shortly after Gardner's death in 2018, and first appeared in the program book of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Convention.  Michael Swanwick was a long-time friend and professional colleague of Gardner, and Sean Swanwick a life-long friend and for several years Gardner's office assistant.

The chapbook is 5 ½'' x 8 1/2”, and is handstitched, numbered, and signed by both authors.  It was issued in an edition of 70, most of which were distributed to Gardner's closest friends.  21 2 No more copies are available for sale.

The Devil's Bestiary

The Devil's Bestiary is Michael Swanwick's cynical,whimsical take on twenty nine creatures of myth and fables.  It is 5 ½ inch square format, with an outer wrapper of hand-dyed kozo paper, hand-stitched, numbered, and signed by the author. 

Published in a limited edition of 45, of which
21 17 12 1 is available for sale. no more are available.  Thank you for your interest.

Please note that the outer wrappers were made in two different styles, to be distributed randomly.

Valentine Moon

Dragonstairs celebrates Valentine's Day!  Ten romantic, moony vignettes.  5 ½ by 5 ½ inches.  Double wrapper, the outer made of Desert Rose handmade paper from Alexandra Soteriou at, with an eccentrically placed replica of a 19th century Queen of Hearts.  Brochure stitch with a red ribbon.  Issued in an edition of 40, of which 32 6 no more are available for sale.  Sold out.  Thank you all for your enthusiasm.

Is There Something About You Irish?

2019's Irish Worldcon was the occasion of Michael Swanwick's third visit to Ireland. To note the occasion, he wrote six brief essays about the experience of being Irish American. Is There Something About You Irish? is a signed, numbered, hand-stitched chapbook, printed in an edition of 60, of which 36 29 14 8 3 are available for sale. no more are available.  Thank you for your interest.


Michael Swanwick writes four flash essays about writers perhaps best known for their dragon works: Shepard, Le Guin, McCaffrey, and Swanwick.  Additionally, with an afterword tying them all together.  Numbered and signed by Swanwick.  Edition of 50 conventional brochure binding, of which 40 27 16 6 2 no more are available for sale.  Edition of 10 bound with ball python leather of which seven are available for sale.  All versions are sold out.  Thank you for your support.  

Small Wonders by Michael Swanwick. (2017)

Three seasonal stories, including Midnight Journey, A Horse Named Michael, and The Mousewife's Tale. Edition of 120 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4¼"x5½", 12 pages.  50 26 20 14 4 2 copies available for sale.   Sold out.   Thank you for your interest.

The Proceedings of the American Martini Institute

Report of the American Martini Laboratory

The Evolution of the Martini

Nine short essays, originally published on Michael Swanwick's blog, tracing the evolution of the martini and what came after.

Text by Michael Swanwick.  Cover illustration by Susan McAninley.  Hand-stitched, signed by the author, numbered.

Publication date: May 21, 2018  "Five to one"

Published in an edition of 60, of which 51 18 9 4 2 are available for sale which are now sold out. Thank you for your enthusiastic support.

 “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 90  71 59 47 45 28 22 10 7 2 are 1 is available for purchase.  no more are available.  Thanks for your support.

Dragonstairs Press has recently acquired several copies of Being Gardner Dozois, published by Old Earth Books. 
In Being Gardner Dozois, Swanwick interrogated Dozois about every piece of short fiction he had written, up until 1999, probing what worked, what didn't and why.  Swanwick's insightful questions, and Dozois's extraordinary understanding of the art of short fiction will fascinate and enlighten.

All copies have been sold. 

Blue Moon by Michael Swanwick (2018)

Five “flash” stories, all with a lunar setting. Published in an edition of 69, released for sale on the second “blue moon” of 2018. 67 copies available for sale (publisher's and author's copies withheld) on March 31, 2018, for 24 hours only. All copies not sold by midnight, March 31, 2018 will be burned.

8½”x5½” eight pages hand-stitched, signed, and numbered, with a sodalite bead ornament.

We regret we cannot offer volume discounts for this project.

Sold out.  Thank you for your support.

Midwinter Fables by Michael Swanwick. (2016)

Four of Aesop's fables, retold. Edition of 110 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4¼"x5½", 16 pages  34 22 9 copies available for sale

Sold out.  Thank you for your support.

Touchstones by Michael Swanwick (2017)

Three personal stories, (one previously published on Swanwick's blog) and an afterward. Published in an edition of 50, to mark Swanwick's participation in the Fourth Chengdu International Science Fiction Conference, 2017 8½”x5½” eight pages hand-stitched, signed, and numbered

Touchstones has sold out, and is no longer available.  Thank you for your interest.

Solstice Spirits by Michael Swanwick. (2015) Four brief seasonal tales. Edition of 100 copies, hand-stitched, signed and numbered, 4 1/4" x 5 1/2", 12 pages. 

28 7 6 2 copies available for sale.  Solstice Spirits is sold out.  Thank you for your support.


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, now sold out.

Depicted:  Front and Front of the Oysters chapbook.

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 6 3 remaining available for sale. $11 each, including shipping.  SOLD OUT  Thanks for your support.

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:


The Box


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.


The Contents


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:


            glass beads

            vacuum tube

            red gem coral Corallium sp.

            sectioned geode

            postal reply coupon

            vintage German glass taxidermy eyes

            winged pin

            calling cards


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.


The Story


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.


The Vaccine


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.



Universe Boxes is issued in an edition of 13, of which 10 ware available for purchase.  All copies have been sold.

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.


Fallen 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 sixteen twelve five one are available for purchase. Green or brown bindings are chosen randomly.

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.

A single copy of Tumbling costs $10.00.   SOLD OUT!  Thanks for your interest.

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

A single copy of It Came upon a Midnight costs $5.00.   SOLD OUT!  Thank you for your interest.

Michael Swanwick. American Cigarettes  [and] Song of the Lorelei  [and] The Brain-Baron  [and] The Nature of Mirrors . [4], [4], [6], [6] 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

A single copy of The Nature of Mirrors costs $4.00.  SOLD OUT

Michael Swanwick, A Midwinter's Tale

[1988 ; Dragonstairs Press, 2010]. Stitched wrappers with snowflake on upper cover.  SOLD OUT 9/11/2011  PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO ORDER>                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

A Midwinter's Tale was written and published in 1988.  The Dragonstairs Press edition was produced in the fall of 2010, in an edition of 50, signed by the author.  Most copies were distributed to friends that  holiday season.

Contact us:

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)