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Carter Scholz


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Born in New York, educated on the East Coast, Scholz set foot in Berkeley in the 1970s—and never looked back. Considered a “writer’s writer” he is perhaps the best-kept secret in SF, with a prophetic voice that points to the future and rarely looks back.

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Author: Carter Scholz
Publisher: PM Press/Outspoken Authors
ISBN: 978-1-62963-118-9
Published: 11/2015
Format: Paperback
Size: 7.5x5
Page count: 160
Subjects: Science Fiction

Since his debut in Terry Carr's legendary Ace Specials of the 1980s, Carter Scholz has occupied an enviable, if demanding, position on the cutting edge of modern speculative literature. Proudly debuting in this volume, Gypsy is his first major work since his 2002 nuclear thriller Radiance. An interstellar adventure grounded in the hard science of accurate physics and biology, Gypsy soars far beyond the heliosphere of conventional science fiction. Jettisoning the easy warp-drives of fantasy and space opera, Scholz chronicles with chilling realism the epic voyage of a team of far-seeing scientists, who crowd-source a secret starship and abandon the doomed Earth for the Alpha Centauri system, our nearest stellar neighbor and last desperate chance. Heartbreak and hope collide in this moving and visionary tale.

Plus ...

An epistolary story about a story, "The Nine Billion Names of God," uses a classic SF text to deconstruct literary deconstruction itself, with hilarious results. In the wickedly droll "Bad Pennies," a spy tasked with trashing a foreign economy testifies before a complacent Congress. Quietly furious, "The United States of Impunity" is an alarming look under the tent of today's political sideshow. Adults only.

And Featuring: "Gear. Food. Rocks."—our Outspoken Interview, in which a postmodern Renaissance Man charts the synergies and dissonances of a career that embraces both literary and musical composition, reveals the hidden link between winemaking and deep space astronomy, and tells you how to steal his car.



The Nine Billion Names of God

The United States of Impunity

Bad Pennies

Outspoken Interview



“Scholz’s writing crackles with energy, intelligence and dark humor.”
Publishers Weekly

“Not just intellectually provocative, but emotionally rich, even saturated.”
Washington Post Book World

“I doubt there’s another writer in the country who can match Scholz as a stylist.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Science of Herself

“Scholz weaves the analytical, the literal, the literary, the imaginary, and the emotional.”
Boston Globe

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What Others Are Saying...


gypsyGypsy: A Review
by Luther Blissett
December 18th, 2016

"This book is worth buying, or at least checking out from your library, for a couple reasons. It’s only $13 to start with; if you order directly from PM Press’s catalog, you could save up to five bucks on this. {questions about this? contact PM Press or request a catalog!} The second reason is the best reason I can offer for ever reading a book: After the first or second paragraph, I wasn’t sure if I would make it through the novella, Gypsy (it’s just over 90 pages), but I decided to give it a shot, relax, and suspend my disbelief — 30 pages later I looked up stunned: I was into the book. So, yes, the book, the characters, the concepts capture the imagination."

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gypsyGypsy: A Review
by Gabriel Carlyle
Peace News
August-September 2016

"The remaining material consists of a fantastical correspondence with the editor of a non-existent magazine, NOVUS Science Fiction; a seven-page satirical joke in the form of a fictional testimony before the US senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs; and a short interview with the author.

Moving, memorable, and stylistically-sophisticated (one simultaneously disturbing and hilarious section consists of fragments of future internet traffic; elsewhere Scholz refers to the spaceship’s own datastream as ‘pushing its mite of meaning back into the plaintext chaos of the universe’), Gypsy is another stellar addition to PM Press’s stand-out Outspoken Authors series.

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gypsyGypsy: A Review
February 21st, 2016

Gypsy is the first collection of Carter Scholz material in a dozen years, consisting of the centerpiece title novella, a pair of short stories, an essay, an interview with Scholz (conducted by editor Terry Bisson), and a bibliography. As compelling as the shorter pieces are, it is the novella that grabs and won’t let go. In the interview, Scholz characterizes ‘‘Gypsy’’ as SF ‘‘with the net up’’ to ‘‘let the story come out of the constraints of the physics.’’ And throughout it is constraints, human and physical, that define the story, which follows the progress of the first interstellar voyage to the Centaurus system. As each of the hibernating crew’s ‘‘stewards’’ is awakened to solve some problem, we also get the back-story of how the starship Gypsy came to be designed, built, and launched in secret by a conspiracy of scientists, engineers, and astronauts who despair of the home planet’s future...

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gypsyGypsy: A Review
Publishers Weekly
March 2016

This sardonic collection from the author of Radiance is a bracing cold-water shower for readers more familiar with the upbeat problem-solving spirit of classic science fiction. In the title story, a starship flees a deteriorating Earth for safe harbor in Alpha Centauri. Engineers on the ship awaken sporadically from their multi-decade hibernation to confront technological glitches that defy their scientific expertise. The satirical “Bad Pennies,” about an economic scam that’s designed to bring down an imaginary third-world country but proves amusingly counterproductive, makes a savvy companion piece to “The United States of Impunity,” a scathing essay that relates the California energy crisis of 2000–1 to many of America’s current economic and political problems. As Scholz reveals in the final piece, a freewheeling interview with Terry Bisson, he’s a multifaceted artist who first became interested in science fiction when he realized it was “the nearest extant thing to modernism.” This compilation will appeal to fans of thought-provoking parables.

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gypsyGypsy: A Review
by Paul Di Filippo

"Obviously, this book stands in dialogue with such recent novels as Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora and Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, and with Barry Malzberg’s classic Galaxies. But much starker and existential even than those, it is primarily an anti-space-opera, if you will, a charnel-ground meditation on what lies at the end of all efforts.

Following this knockout story, the shorter works agreeably extend our feel for Scholz’s talents without necessarily magnifying his scope..."

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