Urbana, IL; Golden Gryphon Press, 2003. 1st hardcover edition. Fine in fine dj. Brighten to Incandescence is the second Golden Gryphon Press short-fiction collection from Nebula Award-winning author Michael Bishop, whom author and physicist Gregory Benford calls "one of the foremost lyrical voices in science fiction." These seventeen hand-picked stories, Bishop's favorites from his previously uncollected works, include the early "A Tapestry of Little Murders" (1971), the tale of a murderer's attempted escape along a (literal) road to self-destruction, to the more recent "Help Me, Rondo" (2002), a poignant perspective on the life and times of Hollywood B-movie actor and acromegalic Rondo Hatton. Nearly all these stories appeared in small-press publications and anthologies. Gathered here for the first time in one place, they provide a fresh smorgasbord of some of Bishop's most delicious offerings. In "An Unexpected Visit of a Reanimated English Woman," the author converses at length with the specter of Mary Shelley. A medical missionary, tortured by government thugs, discloses her dying wish in "With a Little Help from Her Friends." In "The Procedure," a traveler to a world of institutionalized rationality undergoes an operation that will free his mind, and his body, from all tendencies toward faith and superstition. The disorienting "O Happy Day" shines a humorous light on our contemporary rat race and on a persistent interspecies antipathy. And "Last Night Out," a new story exclusive to this collection, lets us monitor the incongruous actions of two men shortly before they help unleash the horrific events of September 11.

From unconventional dog story ("Chihuahua Flats") to futuristic SF mystery ("Murder on Lupozny Station") to Vietnam-era dark fantasy ("The Tigers of Hysteria Feed Only on Themselves") to unorthodox speculation on Christ's death ("Sequel on Skorpiós"), Michael Bishop speaks to us in a variety of lyrical voices. You have but to read, let go, and marvel.

With a 5000-word essay by the author on the genesis of the individual stories, an Introduction by Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Lucius Shepard, and a wraparound cover illustration by the author's son, Jamie Bishop.