Queen's Ferry Press

Strategies Against Extinction

Michael Nye



Michael Nye’s debut short story collection presents nine stories about people who find themselves at turning points in their lives—times of disruption and dislocation, yet also of reclamation and reinvention. These diverse characters include a war veteran turned radio broadcaster, a film projectionist, a former governor of Ohio, a second-generation comic book store owner, and a vascular surgeon at one of Boston’s premier hospitals. Startling and precise in its evocations of the lives of memorable characters, Strategies Against Extinction is rich with energetic observation, attentive empathy, and a compelling spirit of uncertainty.

"Michael Nye’s collection delivers story after story of Americans circling the twenty–first century drain—some even struggling not to go down the tubes. A subtle and striking debut from a writer to watch."
—Aaron Gwyn, author of Dog on the Cross and The World Beneath

"Precise and affecting, these stories have the slow gravitational pull of quicksand: before you know it, you’re sucked into tales of men (and women) ravaged by forces beyond their control—economic, technological, cultural, political. Rich in the arcana of outmoded machinery and masculinity, these stories portray men at loose ends in peacetime, people coming to grips with ineluctable change. In one of the best of these stories, we learn about the last re–creationistfor the Pittsburgh Pirates, a guy who in 1952 announced out–of–town games that he could not see, imagining the plays from ticker–tape summaries which he translated for his rapt radio audience, much as Nye translates for us this bygone world of men. At their best, these stories achieve what we hope great fiction will—they reveal in miniature whole worlds."
—E.J. Levy, author of Amazons: A Love Story

"Most first books of fiction tread uncomfortably close to the writer’s life. But here’s a debut collection of stories that takes us to some unexpected and remarkable places: a ’50s–era sports radio broadcast, a vascular surgeon’s worst moment, a bracing encounter with Vladimir Putin. Michael Nye has written his way across the divides of time and gender and place and has occupied nine diverse lives. The insights he arrives at are sharp and memorable. The writing is finely crafted. Strategies Against Extinction is an auspicious first book."
—John Dalton, author of Heaven Lake and The Inverted Forest

"Michael Nye has written mature stories of men and women surviving, seeking identity, their unique places in the uncontrollable, ever–changing world. Faced with their own choices, they accept, they move on, they survive. The reader struggles with them on their journeys, involved in their strategies against extinction."
—Mary L. Tabor, author of The Woman Who Never Cooked and (Re)Making Love: A Memoir

"The range of characters and actions in Michael Nye’s first collection is not only refreshing, but it announces he is far from a one–book writer. Nye gives us Vladimir Putin wrestling with a former Ohio governor in one story, and in another a woman who rents her ex–husband’s study to a couple who need it for afternoon trysts. In Strategies Against Extinction, we get to know a film student who yearns to escape her hometown, a Pirates broadcaster who is not important enough to travel with the team and must re–create the action as if he were watching it, and a surgeon who trains a new doctor to be tough enough by taking her hunting. Nye’s characters do not merely think and wish and yearn, but rather they act, they do, they struggle in surprising and shocking ways. This one is exciting."
—Mary Troy, author of Beauties and Cookie Lily

"In this collection of finely tuned, acutely observed stories, Michael Nye writes with eloquence about loss—of marriages, of jobs, of brothers or parents, of love and dignity—and how imagination, as a response, can sometimes yield danger but more often, salvation. Strategies Against Extinction is a remarkable and affecting collection by a promising new voice."
—Maureen Stanton, author of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

"With astonishing insight and poignant precision, Michael Nye exposes the devastatingly subtle consequences of betrayal, the frangibility of our human bodies, and the quiet intensity of our desire to transcend grief and restore our families. The poet Seamus Heaney says: ’The way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life.’ Strategies Against Extinction is a piercing reminder of our transient existence, a quiet cry in the night that swells to an aching song of hope, an aria of love surging beneath rage, delivering us from fear, and sustaining us through sorrow."
—Melanie Rae Thon, author of In This Light and The Voice of the River

Michael Nye is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His stories are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Boulevard, Crab Orchard Review, New South, Sou’wester, and South Dakota Review, among others. He is the managing editor of The Missouri Review. Discover more about Michael and his writing on his personal site, mpnye.com.