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Michael Blumlein is a medical doctor and a respected SF writer whose novels and stories have introduced new levels of both horror and wonder into the fiction of scientific speculation. His work as a cutting-edge medical researcher and internist at San Francisco’s UCSF Medical Center informs his acclaimed stories and novels as they explore what it means to be truly—if only temporarily—human.

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Thoreau’s Microscope
Author: Michael Blumlein
Publisher: PM Press/ Outspoken Authors
ISBN: 978-1-62963-516-3
Published: 06/01/2018
Format: Paperback
Size: 7.5x5
Page count: 128
Subjects: Science Fiction

The innovative novels and stories of Michael Blumlein, MD, have introduced new levels of both terror and wonder into the fiction of scientific speculation. His work as a medical researcher and internist at San Francisco's UCSF Medical Center informs his tales of biotech, epigenetics, brain science, and what it means to be truly----if only temporarily----human.

Our title piece, "Thoreau's Microscope," inspired by a historic High Sierra expedition with Kim Stanley Robinson and Gary Snyder and first published here, is a stunning mix of hypothesis and history, in which the author inhabits Thoreau's final days to examine the interaction of impersonal science and personal liberation. A journey as illuminating as it is intimate.
Plus... A selection of short stories with Blumlein's signature mix of horror, "hard" science, and wicked humor. "Fidelity" coolly deconstructs adultery with the help of an exuberant tumor, an erotic cartoon, and a male malady. "Y(ou)r Q(ua)ntifi(e)d S(el)f" will reset your Fitbit and your workout as well. "Paul and Me" is a love story writ extra-large, in which an Immortal from Fantasy comes down with a distinctly human disorder. In the chilling "Know How, Can Do" a female Frankenstein brings romance to life in the cold light of the lab.
And Featuring: Our overly intrusive Outspoken Interview, in which the ethics of experimental medicine, animal surgery, the poetry of prose, cult film acclaim, Charles Ludlam, Darwin, and gender dysphoria all submit to examination.


“Blumlein has an exceptional vision, and he conveys it with exceptional talent.”
Washington Post

“Blindingly brilliant...Blumlein is beyond any genre...a genuinely great writer.”
—Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

“A wonderful and disturbing writer.”
—William Gibson

“Offbeat and unpredictable...a talent that bears watching.”
Publishers Weekly

“Disturbing. More!”
—Joe Lansdale, creator of the Hap and Leonard series

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microscopeThoreau’s Microscope: A Review
by Mark Wadley

November 2018

Despite his tendency for minute observation, Thoreau rarely turned his microscope on himself, even in the late stages of his tuberculosis. While this dismays and fascinates Blumlein, he notes that “self exposure, particularly of the most intimate, gruesome, physical details of one’s own body and health, as riveting and irresistible as it may sound, is not everyone’s cup of tea.” Fortunately, Blumlein respects Thoreau’s restraint and discretion while fully embracing his own gruesome physicality. For a collection so heavily concerned with disease and death, Thoreau’s Microscope rarely feels melancholic; Blumlein’s acceptance of mortality allows him to hopefully and exuberantly dig into the blood and guts of humanity.

microscopeThoreau’s Microscope: A Review
By Gary K Wolfe
Locus Magazine
September 27th, 2018

Overriding the cynicism, though, is a deep com­passion, and it’s a compassion in evidence in his nonfiction as well. His contribution to the PM Press series of “Outspoken Authors”, Thoreau’s Mi­croscope, includes four of the stories in All I Ever Dreamed (“Paul and Me”, “Your Quantified Self”, “Fidelity”, and “Know How, Can Do”) together with the series’ usual freewheeling interview with Terry Bisson and – perhaps most important – the remarkable title essay, inspired in part by a trip to the High Sierras with Kim Stanley Robinson, Gary Snyder, and a few others, with the goal of naming a mountain after Thoreau. Blumlein considers the role of the observer in wide-ranging terms, from Leeuwenoek’s original microscope, to Thoreau’s role as the archetypal poet-scientist, to the modern imaging techniques that have traced the progress of Blumlein’s own lung cancer. Blumlein’s voice takes on a degree of urgency here, but it only reminds us of the deeply humane urgency that his fiction has always exhibited.

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