Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments
Jackson Bliss is a (non) fiction writer, librettist, screenwriter, and composer. He is the mixed-race/hapa author of Amnesia of June Bugs (7.13 Books, 2022), Dream Pop Origami (Unsolicited Press, 2022), and the speculative fiction hypertext, Dukkha, My Love (2017). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, Ploughshares, Guernica, Antioch Review, TriQuarterly, ZYZZYVA, Columbia Journal, Boston Review, Longreads, Fiction, Witness, and Kenyon Review, among others. He lives in LA with his wife and their two dogs.
About Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments:
From fragmented ransom notes to hanging footnotes, contemporary fairy tales to coded text, interconnecting pieces of modal flash fiction to backwards fractal narratives about gradual blindness, transgressive listicles to how-to guides for performative wokeness, variable destinies in downtown Chicago to impossible dating applications, counterfactual relationships to the French translation of adolescence, the conceptual, language-driven short stories in Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments are an exploration of not just mixed-race/hapa identity in Michigan (and the American Midwest), but also of the infinite ways in which stories can be told, challenged, celebrated, and subverted.
This beautiful collection! Here are stories that challenge form, that attack the status quo, that ask urgent questions about love and identity and meaning and demand we sit up and pay attention to our answers. I left Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments renewed and inspired. Jackson Bliss’s boundary-pushing collection is an exquisite reminder that fiction, when written with this much heart and courage, can expand our understanding of what it means to be alive. You need to read this book.
Jackson Bliss, human kaleidoscope, sees, absorbs, considers, changes, plays with, and creates characters and situations that absolutely ring with aliveness. This writer’s insatiable appetite for the world and all we do in it transforms into gorgeous sentences and playful/serious inquiry here. A book of inspiring vitality and perception.
There’s an incredibly powerful attractive force waiting for you in every Jackson Bliss story, an irresistible magnetism powered by his energetic and welcoming voice, by his mathematical structural precision, by the wit and joy and justice that propel his fiction. This is one of the most inviting and innovative collections I’ve read, an endlessly compelling source of righteous adventure and wonder.
Jackson Bliss sends the whole mixed-race, mixed-ability world spinning in these stories. Lucky for us, he has just the right besotted dream language to share his visions and just the right koans to satisfy our need for mystery. Counterfactual Loves Stories & Other Experiments is funny, provocative, and soulful—it’s a wild ride and you should climb onboard.
Jackson Bliss may have invented a new genre of fiction, call it hapa fiction. In this collection of genre-crossing stories, a Norwegian woman and Japanese man meet in a glass museum and give birth to a demi-god glass blower. Gangs of tweens fight for racial justice on the streets of Grand Rapids. A lawyer vapes as she gazes longingly at the skyline of Tokyo while mixed-race kids left alone in Chicago compose songs from the notes blown by tugboats on the river. The realism in these stories is magical and Bliss makes the wonder that infuses them breezy as a jazz riff in a late-night Tokyo lounge. Or maybe it’s Chicago.
$18 Paperback | Publication Date Oct. 1, 2021