Fiction that changes you.
An intense, inventive,
eclectic deep-dive into interior worlds.
About Music From a Strange Planet
Barbara Black’s stirring debut brings readers the strange, the unexplained, and the magical in this collection of twenty-four genre-bending short stories. Taking a deep look into the psyche of the human soul, each story bends reality just a little to get to the heart of our greatest fears and deepest desires.
As a tender youth, everywhere I went I carried my treasured journals. Lined, eight by eleven inches, full of adolescent musings on human life, snatches of poetry, monologues, and story sketches. I wrote in these through university, too, hunched over a coffee in some campus café, a huge cinnamon bun by my side. By then the writing was more serious. Things changed. I now do all my freewriting in tiny unlined 3½ by 5 ½ Moleskine journals. Every poem, lyric, short story or flash story I have created has begun as a deep-dive freewrite in one these teeny coloured, humble books of which I now have forty.
Praise for Barbara
“One of my top fiction reads of the year….What a treat it is to read these inventive, sometimes sad, and often funny stories by Barbara Black!....Black’s range of subject and setting and her mastery of ever-elusive tone … is never flat or sharp but bang on….worlds unfold like wings in this marvelous book.”
—Caroline Woodward, Woodward on Words, author of Singing Away the Dark
“A delicious book of bizarre and wonderful stories….Black has a truly rare and gifted imagination, and the ability to gorgeously render it into tales that continued to surprise and delight….a six-star read.”
—Kyeren Regehr, award-winning author of Cult Life and Disassembling a Dancer
“Black’s debut collection… offers tales of obsession and transformation….(The) melding of character with the phenomenal world is… astounding. Illuminated by flashes of humour,… she lays bare the often-strange music of the human heart.”
—M.A.C. Farrant, author of One Good Thing: A Living Memoir
“I'm amazed at Barbara Black's ability to come up with unique scenarios, settings, and casts of characters for each of these twenty-four well-crafted stories. My favourites in this collection do what short stories do best—pull at a little thread in a character's psyche and untangle something buried deep within.”
—Susan Sanford Blades, 2021 ReLit Award winner, author of Fake It So Real
“Exhilarating stories, quick, sharp and tender….Senses fuse, flesh is transfigured; characters come to themselves at moments of metamorphosis, modulating to new forms of life. Black’s magic is the kind that illuminates.”
—John Gould, Giller Prize finalist, author of Kilter and The End of Me
“Black tells tales… from the world of dreams and hallucination… Think Kafka on crack. Think a luminous, shimmering visual paired with otherworldly… music….the emergence of a voice that will be important in Canadian fiction for a long time.…Don’t miss this exciting and impressive debut.”
—Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun
Forthcoming from Barbara Black
Coming in Winter 2024, Little Fortified Stories, New Flash Fiction (Caitlin Press)
I’m very pleased to reveal my new website. I welcome you all here! It’s a tidy place. As you enter, you’ll find the worlds I’ve created with nothing but words. Just those flimsy little markings we use to articulate the state of things. And, my friends, the state of things for me at this crucial moment is…Read More