Author: McCombs, Theodore

Publication Date:

May 2023



Original language and publisher

English (USA) | Astra House

Territories Handled

World excl. North America


Short Stories


Author: McCombs, Theodore


I have been waiting for this sumptuous, prismatic collection for literal years. Theodore McCombs is a poet of queer pasts, presents, and futures, and Uranians is a formidable debut. — Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

For readers of Ted Chiang and Karen Russell, a genre-defying debut story collection that explores the essential role of queerness in this and every other possible world.

At the end of the Victorian era, a handful of forward-thinking public intellectuals advocated for societal tolerance of the “Uranian”—a man who loved other men—wondering if these “intermediate sexes” might in fact constitute totally different beings, even hopeful guides toward the future.

The six stories in Theodore McComb’s kaleidoscopic debut span several possible worlds, teasing the boundaries between coexisting realities and taking up the question of queer difference from one surprising vantage after another. In “Towards a Theory of Alternative Lifestyles,” a heartbroken young man stands in line at an exclusive underground gay nightclub promising visions of parallel lives across the multiverse. In “Ora et Labora,” an adolescent novice at a Gothic monastery is forced to labor slavishly over math problems for the good of society entire. In Boston, at the turn of a very different 20th century, a domineering matron-cum-hangman feels that if you want things done right, you’ll just have to do them yourself. Finally, in the titular novella “Uranians,” an expedition of queer artists, scientists, and one transgender priest are on a lifelong interplanetary voyage that requires them to renegotiate their connections to a remote and hostile Earth, while keeping their ship’s biome alive in the harsh void of space.


Marketing Information

  • For fans of queer fiction with genre elements: Carmen Maria Machado, Morgan Thomas, Helen Oyeyemi.
  • For readers of high-concept literary fiction with allegorical criticisms of society: Ted Chiang, Nana Adjei-Brenyah, Karen Russell.
  • For readers of speculative fiction about climate catastrophe like Jeff Vandermeer and Black Mirror–esque parables about tech like The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • Made it onto the Publishers Lunch “Buzz Books” Commercial Fiction.