5 Must-Read Small Press Titles From 2010

Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat (Melville House)

Speaking of literary fever dreams, there’s none quite as compelling this year as Jean-Christophe Valtat’s Aurorarama. Set in the fictitious arctic city of New Venice in the early 1900s, it’d be a mistake to write the novel’s world of airships and magic off as east steam punk. Reading Aurorarama is a fully immersive experience that crackles with the wonderment of great fantasy — aided, no doubt, by Valtat’s day job as a comparative literature professor. From chapter to chapter, readers will find teacher/student lust, drugs (“snowcaine”), political intrigue, and religious allegory, all deftly packaged in a fantasy world fleshed out to a near-Tolkienesque proportions. And in case you can’t help but judge a book by its cover, Aurorarama‘s gorgeous dust jacket is a piece of frame-worthy art that we’d purchase as a print in a heartbeat.

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