Through ten incendiary and mercurial stories, Cosmo will take you on a wild ride over the churning waters of pop culture and the malaise of our solitary existence.
WINNER OF THE 2013 CBC OVERLOOKIE BOOKIE AWARD FOR MOST UNDERRATED CANADIAN BOOK
An admirer of Miley Cyrus performs a three-thousand word sentence in defence of his passion. Actor Matthew McConaughey descends into a surreal, stupefying desert of the soul. An aging porn star dons a grotesque dinosaur costume to film the sex scene of his life. Such are the speakers and stars of a collection of stories that explode the conventions of short fiction.
Though shifting wildly in tone, structure and perspective from one page to the next, each of these mercurial stories is drenched in pop culture, the distancing effects of modern communication and the malaise of solitary existence. At their core, these stories are a portrait of ordinary people (as well as celebrities – they’re just like us!) striving, thinking, and suffering alone.
About the author
Spencer Gordon is the author of three books: a collection of dramatic monologues, A Horse at the Window (House of Anansi Press, 2024), the poetry collection Cruise Missile Liberals (Nightwood Editions, 2017) and the short story collection Cosmo (Coach House Books, 2012). He invented the literary magazine The Puritan (now Ex-Puritan) and edited it for over a decade and, in former lives, taught writing at Humber College, OCAD University, and with the University of Toronto and George Brown College. He currently lives in Bowmanville, Ontario, situated within the traditional and treaty territory of the Mississaugas and Chippewas of the Anishinabeg, known today as the Williams Treaties First Nations. He works as a Principal Associate for Blueprint, a non-profit research organization dedicated to solving public policy challenges. Follow him on Twitter/X at @spencergordon and visit his rudimentary website at spencer-gordon.com.
"Though offering a gaudy all-you-can-eat spread of pop/junk cultural references, the book selects its menu wisely, hitting both the salad bar and the sundae counter in equal measures, as it were ... the care and craft of these stories, both in their form and in prose [is] playfully enthusiastic and digressive, yet rarely overstuffed, burrowing into the knottiness of humanity while avoiding the hazards of total schmaltz. For example, he would likely do much better with a half-assed buffet metaphor than was attempted above." —HTMLGiant
"Cosmo succeeds not only as a well-wrought and keenly written collection of narratives, but also as a work of analysis ... a rare book in that it is brave enough to explore the ways in which being loved in private has a very real counterpoint in public, in the form of fame, public identity and cultural cache. In doing so, Gordon dissects the very idea of the authentic in an increasingly public world in which the self is ever more constructed." —National Post
"Try any first page here, and, if you are not mouth agape with voyeuristic thrill, then this writer is not Spencer Gordon, one of the most daring writers I've ever come across. These stories read like collaborations between Stephen King and TMZ with Borges and Nabokov on the edits. Each short story sounds with the thunder of a novel. Enthralling, dark, gut-busting stuff!" —Jeff Parker, author of Ovenman and Igor in Crisis: A Russian Journal