Please join us Friday, November 15th, at 7pm for an evening with author K Chess
Refreshments will be served
FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED
Wherever Hel looks, new York City is both reassuringly familiar and terribly wrong. As one of the thousands who fled the outbreak of nuclear war in an alternate United States—an alternate timeline, somewhere across the multiverse—she finds herself living as a refugee in our own not-so-parallel New York. The slang and technology are foreign to her, the politics and art unrecognizable. While others, like her partner Vikram, attempt to assimilate, Hel refuses to reclaim her former career or create a new life. Instead, she obsessively rereads Vikram’s copy of The Pyronauts—a science fiction masterwork in her world that now only exists as a single flimsy paperback—and becomes determined to create a museum dedicated to preserving the remaining artifacts and memories of her vanished culture. But the refugees are unwelcome and Hel’s efforts are met with either indifference or hostility. And when the only copy of The Pyronauts goes missing, Hel must decide how far she is willing to go to recover it and finally face her own anger, guilt, and grief over what she has truly lost. Famous Men Who Never Lived explores the effects of displacement on our identities, the communities that come together in crisis, and the power of art to save us.
“This inventive book does what only fiction can do:
describes an impossible world in order to more clearly show us our own”
K CHESS was a W.K. Rose Fellow and her short stories have been honored by the Nelson
Algren Award and the Pushcart Prize. She earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University and
currently teaches at GrubStreet. She lives with her wife in Providence, RI.