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One of the Best Books of 2013


Heuler’s stories dart out at what the world is doing and centre on how the individual copes with it. Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously. An employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt? In Heuler’s
stories, characters cope with the strange without thinking it’s strange, sometimes invested in what’s going on, sometimes trapped by it, but always finding their own way in.

Try my last book--it's available
and in your bookstores or on Amazon:

The Made-up Man
Did you read my last book yet? You still have time!

If you wanted something badly enough, would you sell your soul to get it?


"You’ll live a long time, if that matters, and I don’t see why it should, I think we’re talking about quality, aren’t we? Amazing about these long lifelines. They go to conservative, dried-up people, as a rule. Sometimes to crazies. Unfortunately, lifelines have nothing to do with lines of the mind or the heart. You can live to be a hundred and have your mind stop dead at ten. Not lovely. Your mind is all right, but your heart line stops right here—see it? Like a car crash. Only one survivor, not two.”

In Karen Heuler’s The Made-Up Man Alyson Salky is feeling trapped by her gender. She lost her boyfriend, and perhaps worse, her dog, to her “best friend” and was passed over for a promotion at work by a sniveling manipulative man who doesn’t have an original thought in his head. Someone must be blamed! Someone must pay! These thoughts lead her to a seedy storefront where she encounters Madame Hope, a fortuneteller with strange abilities. Alyson ultimately makes a pact with this woman for a single wish: to change her gender. All Madame Hope asks for in return is her soul.

And soon enough Al becomes Bob, intent on getting ahead in life—and getting even. But how do reversals work out? And can you really expect to get what you want when you’re dealing with a rather bored devil with a sense of irony? Inevitably, nothing goes exactly as planned, and in the process Bob/​Al has to learn about what matters in life, and how to negotiate with a devil who has her own reasons for making a deal.

In this fascinating and utterly distinctive novel, Heuler creates an evocative dilemma, which poses interesting and challenging questions regarding gender, society, and personal responsibility.

5.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful What You Wish For - A Most Delightful Fantasy on Gender Relations
Karen Heuler should be viewed as an American literary treasure; she is among our finest prose stylists writing in the English language in any genre. With "The Made-Up Man" she has written a novel worthy of recognition with the best from the likes of Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ and James Tiptree, Jr.; in other words with some of the finest woman writers in American speculative fiction since the advent of the Anglo-American New Wave literary movement in speculative fiction during the 1960s. With "The Made-Up Man", Heuler has written a most compelling, often witty - and even, in places, humorous - dark fantasy on a woman's desire to be transformed physically as a man by striking a most Faustian bargain with the Devil, who has taken the human form of a cantankerous gypsy fortuneteller, the aptly named Madame Hope. Heuler's novel is a poetically elegant, yet terse, fictional exploration of what it truly means to be a man or a woman, subtly probing the emotional and psychological minefields which all too often separate the sexes. "The Made-Up Man" is a daringly provocative and intelligent novel, which should challenge a reader's assumptions regarding the nature of the sexes even if the novel is set largely within the urban landscape of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. "The Made-Up Man" is definitely a great novel worthy of as wide a readership as possible, and a great novel that needs to be read now.--John Kwok, Amazon

Reviews


"The Inner City" is a collection of tasty mind-candy, offering inventive stories that stretch your imagination. -- Kirkus Reviews

(Starred Review) Heuler presents an engrossing collection of 15 tales of the ways individuals and society influence one another. ... Though the universally strong stories have no explicit connection, they blend to suggest a world that is at once recognizable and distorted, providing a new, clear perspective on the forces shaping contemporary Western culture. —Publishers weekly, Dec. 24, 2012

Whether you choose to classify The Inner City as science fiction, fantasy, horror, or literature, the book is just plain magic. -- Chadwick Ginther, The Winnipeg Review


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The Made-up Man


“A daring, challenging, intelligent novel that skewers gender stereotypes and expectations as it blasts society’s lazy complicity in its everyday misogyny. And it’s a novel that you should read.
Like now.”—Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and In the Mean Time.

“This book allows us to examine the reality of what it means to be a man or a woman. I am reminded in part of the work of James Tiptree, Jr and Joanna Russ. The Made-Up Man is a worthy companion.”—Ann VanderMeer, editor-in-chief of Hugo-award-winning Weird Tales Magazine

There is payback and revenge galore in Bob's plans, and lots of power plays in Madam Hope's. Does Alyson/​Bob succeed? Does she/​he get the raise that she/​he deserves? Does Bob ultimately become as big a jerk as all the other men Alyson has dealt with? Who wins in the end? Silliness aside, Heuler's tale poses interesting choices and asks serious questions.
- Danise Hoover, Booklist


"It's very easy to see how the characters, all of them, fall into the pits and traps and snares that await all humanity. It's a lot harder to judge them for it than it is other writers' characters precisely because Heuler has such a keen sense of what to say and what to leave out. .. [in] ... this wicked little book.
A nicely made how-the-other-half-lives cautionary tale, a sharp and sarcastic "Mephistopheles in Manhattan," and a darn good candidate for the title "Love's Labours Won and Lost and Won and Lost and...." Read it soon.--LibraryThing>