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Press Contact

Martin Cahill

Erewhon Books
martin@erewhonbooks.com

1-318-373-9466 ext. 4

Press Kit

Brief Bio

Benjamin Rosenbaum's stories have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards, translated into 25 languages, and adapted as a SXSW Best Animated Short and a Sick Flick Chicks Best Sci Fi Film. He lives near Basel, Switzerland. The Unraveling is his first novel.

About The Unraveling

The Unraveling is a far-future comedy of manners and social unrest, a tale of family, hard choices, and growing up that wildly challenges our understandings of gender, class, family, the body, and moral agency in a complicated world.

Booklist writes in a starred review: "On an unnamed world 500,000 years after the "dispersal of humanity," the centuries-living inhabitants move through near-constant mutual digital surveillance called "the feed," possess multiple bodies, and are divided into two genders, the emotional and vibrant "Vails" and the logical and methodical "Staids." These genders don't reflect any kind of physical sex, as any body part is optional, but are still rigidly, if unofficially, enforced by general opinion and the powerful Midwives. The plot follows Fift, a Staid in zir First Childhood (where intergender love is not yet allowed) whose unwitting curiosity about the world around zem, and zir affection for a young Vail named Shria, will lead to zem transgressing all manner of boundaries, social or otherwise. This beautifully written debut is a thorough, well-realized picture of a world with a radically different concept of gender and the body that nonetheless has its own forms of oppression. Rosenbaum's novel is essential reading for anyone interested not only in speculative fiction that plays with gender norms, but also in quality sf in general. Highly recommended."

Press release for The Unraveling.

Sample Interview Topics and Questions

  • Parenting and "Childing"

  • Gender and Queerness

  • Utopia and Dystopia

  • The Far Future

  • Post-Capitalist Economies

  • Malleable, But Embodied: the Singularity and Its Discontents 

  • Privacy and Surveillance

  • Reimagining the Body

  • Violence, Dissent, and Social Change

  • Neopronouns, Polysomatic POV, and Writing the Estranged Familiar

Sample Topics

Sample Questions

  • Why write a book set half a million years in the future? How much of it is allegory or satire, and how much of it is really trying to imagine that far ahead?

  • There are no women or men in this book. But nor is it a gender-voluntary utopia, or a ungendered civilization like the Radchaai Empire of Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice. Why create a future with such radically different genders than ours, but an enforced gender binary?

  • In the world of  The Unraveling, murder and famine are historical curiosities, people live for 800 years, and there are no environmental crisis or militarized nation-states. But there's also a lack of privacy and a degree of social control that we might find grotesque, and the book turns on violence of a different kind. Is The Unraveling a utopia? A dystopia? Or something in between?

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  • For a book so full of far-future worldbuilding, The Unraveling is strikingly domestic. We're used to this kind of setting being used for space opera with laser battles between galactic empires, but the much of the heart of this book is first dates, getting small children to bathe, teens embarrassed by parental meddling. Why?

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  • You mention "moral agency" in your description of the book. It's not a conventional space opera plot in which our heroes save the world with the Macguffin, but the protagonist does get swept up in world-scale events and hard choices. What were you trying to say about "moral agency"? 

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  • Judaism often figures prominently in your writing, from your Jewish historical fantasy roleplaying game Dream Apart to the Hugo nominated "Biographical Notes..." Can a book set half a million years in the future be a Jewish book?