Nisi Shawl Reading at the UBookstore — June 10th —

3 Jun

Tuesday • June 10 • 7pm

Local science fiction author Nisi Shawl published her first piece of fiction in Semiotext(e) #14, an issue that included William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and William Gibson. Her latest title is a collection of stories all her own: strange, haunting tales by a singular voice in contemporary fantastic fiction.

From an interview with Ms. Shawl–

This collection of stories is entitled Filter House. What exactly is a “filter house”?

I like ocean things, I like marine biology [and] I enjoy anything oceanic. I found this article about appendicularia and was reading about them and then looked at other articles on the web and found out about filter houses. They are so, so gorgeous. They are so beautiful. And I was just really attracted to the idea of something that was so ephemeral and beautiful.

So [a filter house] is sort of like an underwater, 3-D spiderweb that [appendicularia] use to trap food. They are filter feeders but they build these filters outside their body that last for about two or three hours, until the appendicularia outgrows it or they become clogged, useless. Then they release them and they drift down to the lower levels of the ocean. If you’ve read about anything in marine ecology, you’ve heard about “marine snow” – all the lower levels of life subsist on [it]; that’s the basic element of their ecology. So [discarded filter houses are] a large component of marine snow. [I liked] the idea that it was something so basic, too.

I wanted to have the title of the collection not be a story and I wanted it to be the sort of combination of words that would make people think, “Well, what is that?” I also was drawn by this idea that the structure of the short story collection is ephemeral, that it’s made up of other elements that are brought together in this moment – because they are so short, short stories are sort of ephemeral too. (find the interview at


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