The compact ARKDUST book with vibrant cyberpunk styled cover laying on top of a legal pad with pen and headphones nearby

Monk Reviews: ARKDUST by Alex Smith

ARKDUST. What can I say? I’ve watched local legend Alex Smith perform his short stories for years now, and his tales always always always make me giddy with amazement and emotion. I love the mixing of mundane details with fantastic element, his penchant for perspective jumping and simultaneous layer weaving, his exacting captures of the outrageous and demoralizing, his city as universe dream as reality style.

I catch some new feeling or new detail every time I’ve heard Alex perform a story that I’ve heard him read before. The archive-time capsule that is ARKDUST exceeded my own recollections of the times I’d heard these stories alive on the air. Some stories were new. All are portals. To me, they capture a #metropolarity essence of many intersecting parts at once–the resulting matter of the intersection/collision itself.

Alex Smith has organized all manner of events from workshops, fests, readings, shows, awareness-raising forums… played in bands… writes for local music XPN jawn and Philly Gay News… and so on. (Honestly they deserve a huge arts grant right now hint hint someone who knows.) Were some of the first #queerscifi tags on the early ’10s internet about Alex’s work? You heard it here first.

So ARKDUST is a must-read for me. Especially–let me not forget to mention–because it has many many excellent scenes describing fat hefty husky men and their bodies, and it’s wild how refreshing and vivid it feels to read those.

The first run of his book sold out in like 2 weeks, and it wasn’t till its recent 2nd printing that I finally cracked my signed copy open. You can get a copy via the Metropolarity distro, requesting your local library get you a copy, or direct from Alex themself.


Suggestion: Requesting a copy of this book from your local library can thus make it available to others. Or ask your local book store to order it for you. Go to anyone but wicked *maz*n.

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