If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes and Other Stories is available now.
“Electric Resurrection. Born again perfection. The six-zero correction.”
For the last decade, Malon Edwards has been spinning out a world where humans have conquered death but still haven’t bothered to take care of the living. Where resurrection is the ultimate commodity—if you’re rich enough, powerful enough, and white enough to buy in.
If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes and Other Stories collects 10 cyberpunk dispatches, including a brand-new, epic rap novella. On offer is a guided tour of an independent Chicago, a beacon of Black excellence that is done with the ever-hostile State of Illinois showing its ass.
Your guides are a little rough around the edges: hackers and assassins, thieves and grieving parents, elders and teenagers. Don’t fret. These people will take good care of you, so long as you mind yourself.
Welcome to the Sovereign State of Chicago.
One of the most exciting things about If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes and Other Stories is “Code Switching,” an epic rap novella that Fireside is publishing for the first time. It’s the story of Jean-Michel, a high school football player who would be destined for stardom, if he wasn’t about to die. The thing is, in a world where Electric Resurrection has conquered death, he doesn’t have to pass on… if he’s willing to accept a few conditions. You can read the first chapter for free.
Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup newsletter published Malon’s brand-new story “Blackout, White Space” in July. It’s an intimate look into the alt-Chicago world of If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes and Other Stories. It’s not included in the collection, but it’s a great taste of Malon’s writing and storytelling.
Praise for the collection
“It’s an ambitious, inventive and energetic project. … Edwards has much to reveal about voices, ventriloquism and the sly potential of terms like “code switching” — but always in sideways glimpses.”
—Amal El-Mohtar in The New York Times Sunday Book Review
“Whatever you’re expecting, it’s not that. This collection is intense and vivid, both in terms of tone and content. … Edwards plays with narrative structure in some really interesting ways, as well. These stories have the traditional dialogue and description format, but also veer into the strange, the unusual, the techy.”
—Alexandria Brown in Punk-Ass Book Jockey
“This is a grand, dark, twisted, and visceral deep dive into Malon Edwards’s cyberpunk future. It’s out in September and it’s a great read from start to finish.”
—Maria Haskins, who chose the collection as Preorder pick of the month
“If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes is an inventive, surreal, and disorienting collection. It implores and challenges — rich with real people having real experiences in a yet-to-be alt-Chicago.
“It’s the type of collection that isn’t in a hurry to reveal itself. You think you know how it will come together, but you’re wrong. And Edwards gives us plenty to tease out and chew on in the interim.
“These stories are laden with ideas, but readers are grounded by the nuance and texture of carefully, earnestly drawn characters. We meet a gynoid on her prom night. Infatuated, sentient bodysuits. Bloodthirsty parents. And so much more.
“This captivating collection asks difficult questions, driving at the heart of what it means to live. Edwards brings his reader on a journey like no other. Strap in and suit up — it’s a wild ride.”
—Shannon Terrell, author of The Guest House
“If Wishes Were Obfuscation Codes brings us deep into a world that Edwards has been building for years, a steampunk future where gynoid replacements of loved ones are sparingly doled out by corporate interests.
“The stories form a kaleidoscopic look at grief, love, community, and privilege. Edwards’ fine-grained worldbuilding opens space for both love stories and horror stories, dystopias and punk-edged urban rebellions. Every angle poses new questions and suggests different conclusions, each one rich with Edwards’ particular brand of Haitian-Chicagoian Afrofuturist society. The end result doesn’t feel like a short story collection; it feels like a picture being described by a dozen strangers, each with their own view, and the results are beautiful.”
About the Author
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Malon (MAY-lon) now lives in the Greater Toronto Area, where he was lured by his beautiful Canadian wife. Many of his short stories are set in an alt-Chicago future and feature people of color. In January 2020, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His brain lesions do their best to stop him from writing, but he continues to fight them—and keep going.
The team that pulled it all together
Copy editor: Sydnee Thompson
Proofreader: Johanie Martinez Cools
Book designer: CreativeJay
Cover illustrator: Alexxander Dovelin
Cover designer: Frank Cvetkovic