Hailed by New York Times as a “book no one has ever heard of,” my short story collection I Am A Magical Teenage Princess (Chômu Press) was first published in 2012. Some of the stories in it appeared in such esteemed publications as Conjunctions, Mid American Review, Washington Square, and Hayden’s Ferry Review (see below). It may or may not intrigue you to be informed that a couple of them were nominated for the Pushcart Prize and another one was shortlisted in Best American Non-Required Reading 2012!
Yes! I do regret the title!
BACK COVER COPY
A helpless surfer girl drifts through time like flotsam, tormented by the bizarre cliches of drive-in-era B-movies. A reluctant teenage astronaut idles away her post-apocalyptic adolescence huffing gasoline and fooling around with her five brutish shipmates, all of them named Tommy. The beleaguered subject of an educational hygiene film longs to break free from the cruel social strictures of her celluloid world. A retired chimpanzee actor contemplates life after fame in a run-down motel room in Missoula. Two sisters go hunting for real-deal rebels in a desert town overrun with phony nostalgia.
In the stories of I Am a Magical Teenage Princess, Luke Geddes reexamines 1960s and contemporary popular culture with wit, insight, and pathos. A book for the magical teenage princess in all of us, this debut short story collection welcomes a unique and surprisingly wise voice to the world of letters.
“I came up in the small-press world, so a lot of my favorite books have come from micropresses — books with runs of 25 or 75, rarely more. Anyway, one of my favorite books few people have heard of is “I Am a Magical Teenage Princess,” by Luke Geddes. It’s this amazing collection of short stories that is sharp and dark and mostly about teenage girls. The highlight is the story “Betty and Veronica,” about the Archie Comics characters as lovers in a high school. I will reread that story every chance I get. It’s amazing and also so sexy.”
“In a lesser writer’s hands the work would come off as puerile, but Geddes’s sure prose, empathy, pop cultural knowledge, and stoner wit make for a rewarding and unusual collection.”
“With a collector’s eye, Geddes finds the intricate bewilderments that glow in the periphery of our daily world with secret magic–the prick of a mouse’s rib bone, the orphaned flecks of lipstick on teeth–and moves them into center focus. The lasting images of these stories hang in your mind long after reading; this book is a luminous, tender gallery curated by an amazing new voice in fiction.”
– Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love and Tampa
In this vibrant recycling project, Luke Geddes transforms discarded cultural archetypes into particular and poignant drama, deeply imagined and deeply felt. Never content with mere Situation—no matter how funny or glorious in its invention—Geddes pushes always to Story, where ache surpasses wink. This is a substantial and entertaining debut.
– Chris Bachelder, National Book Award finalist and author of Abbot Awaits, US!, Bear v. Shark, and The Throwback Special
Sometimes all you need in a short story collection is one perfect story. While each story in Luke Geddes’s debut collection, Magical Teenage Princess is strong, each playing with popular culture and retelling familiar stories in interesting ways, there is one story that has quickly become one of my favorite short stories—“Betty & Veronica.” In the story Geddes reinvents the characters from Archie comics. Betty and Veronica are lovers, though their affair is secret. They each express their love in different ways—Betty through desperation and Veronica through damage. Betty is unabashed in her feelings while Veronica shares the same intensity but is deeply invested in maintaining appearances and making it seem like she’s just another girl dating an All American guy. There is an exquisite yearning in “Betty & Veronica” and that yearning is brought to the only possible conclusion. Each of these stories works in that way, where the writing and the choices feel absolutely necessary. In “The Modern Stone Age,” Geddes re-imagines The Flintstones, as having just emerged from a more primitive period and what happens when Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty surrender to their baser urges, their truer selves. The nostalgia in these stories never overwhelms the prose and Magical Teenage Princess is the kind of debut that makes me wonder what Geddes will come up with next.
– Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist
It’s easy to sneer at ‘pop-culture detritus,’ but let’s face it—no matter how timeless and profound and unique we imagine our selves to be, we have no choice but to make them from the trash on hand. This is especially true of the teen bricoleur, that poor soul who has to cobble herself together from available materials: Scooby-Doo, drive-ins, soap operas in space, Wonder Woman, the Archies. The wonderfully playful and witty stories in Luke Geddes’ I Am a Magical Teenage Princess show just how resourcefully and delightfully that work can be done. You say whimsy and depth are incompatible? Nonsense. This is deep whimsy, is a book that employs rollicking sharp humor to explore the sad, solitary adolescent in all of us. Luke Geddes is a big talent, and this is a marvelous debut.
– Michael Griffith, author of Spikes, Bibliophilia: A Novella and Stories, and Trophy
Where did these and other stories originally appear you ask? Look no further:
“The Modern Stone Age.” Joyland. (August 2017)
“At the Book Reading” and “Dismembered Girl Group Singers of the Mid-1960s.” Heavy Feather Review 2.1
“The Conversation Pit.” Flying House 3 (Summer 2012)
“Mom’s Team v. Dad’s Team.” Versal 10 (2012)
“The Party Don’t Stop.” Washington Square Review 29 (Winter/Spring 2012)
“He’s a Rebel.” Mid American Review XXXII (2012)
“The Enormous Television Set.” roger: an art & literary magazine 6 (2011)
“Surfer Girl.” Hayden’s Ferry Review 48 (Spring/Summer 2011)
“Wichita.” NANO Fiction 4.1 (October 2010)
“And I Would’ve Gotten Away with It if It Wasn’t for You Meddling Kids.” Jabberwock Review (Summer 2010)
“Betty and Veronica.” Gargoyle 56 (Summer 2010)
“Pet People.” Regarding Arts & Letters 33.2 (Winter/Spring 2009)
“He is R.L. Stine.” Fast Forward: An Anthology of Flash Fiction Vol. 2 (2009)
“Bongo the Space Ape.” Pank 3 (2009)
“Be Quiet Then.” Quick Fiction 14 (December 2008)
“TV Girl.” KNOCK 9 (Spring 2008)