The Hudson Prize Winner

Blood: Stories

Publication Date: January 2016


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Sharply strange and eerily familiar. Absurdly funny and terrifyingly serious. Surreal, fantastic, gritty, real. The stories in Matthew Cheney’s Hudson Prize-winning debut collection range across various styles, modes, genres, and tones as they explore the worlds of family, love, memory, and loss.

Children play through a war-torn world; a mother seeks to communicate with a dead child; a man is drawn to a mysterious destiny in the far reaches of Maine; a historian tries to reconstruct a lost New York history; Ronald Reagan founds a religion and hides a love; a daughter tries to find her place in a family of men with guns.

Blood: Stories reprints work originally published in such different venues as One Story and Weird Tales, and it includes four new stories that travel from contemporary New Hampshire to historical Prague to might-have-been Mexico to a future world where no reality stays real for long.

Reality flows through these stories, even at their most surreal and lyrical, because reality is more than just what is or even what might be: reality is whatever gets beneath our skin and into our blood. The pages of Blood: Stories not only take an axe to the frozen sea within us – they make a course for the heart.


“Blood is a magnificent collection-raw and real, yet also elegant and mischievous. Rooted in a sense of place, but yearning for a world beyond, the stories in Blood chart heartbreak, solitude, and adventure in equal measure. It’s rare to read fiction with such depth that’s also so entertaining. One of my favorite reads of the past year.”

-Jeff VanderMeer, bestselling author of the Southern Reach Trilogy

Matthew Cheney has long been one of the most astute and eloquent presences on the literary web, and now he reveals himself to be a fiction writer of equally high abilities. Some of the stories in Blood are informed by science fiction or fantasy, some by literary criticism, some by postmodern experimentation, and all of them by his own keen intellect, adventurous hand, and broad yet exacting sympathy.”

-Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

Whether Matthew Cheney is writing in strange, dream-like worlds redolent of Kafka and Calvino, or in more recognizable worlds where every moment seems to breathe heavily with the air of reality, his stories are pumping the blood of the human heart, fast and hard and necessary. Read these stories and bleed.”

-Christopher Barzak, author of One for Sorrow and Wonders of the Invisible World

About the Author

© Amy Wilson

Matthew Cheney

Matthew Cheney's work has been published by One Story, Unstuck, Weird Tales, Black Static, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Rain Taxi, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. He is the former series editor of the Best American Fantasy anthologies and is co-editor of the occasional online magazine The Revelator ( After ten years as a high school teacher, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of New Hampshire.

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