*POSTPONED* BISHAKH SOM reads from her debut collection of short comics APSARA ENGINE with ANGELA PEÑAREDONDO

Apsara Engine (Feminist Press)

The eight delightfully eerie stories in Apsara Engine are a subtle intervention into everyday reality: a woman drowns herself in a past affair, a tourist chases another guest into an unforeseen past, and a nonbinary academic researches postcolonial cartography. Imagining diverse futures and rewriting old mythologies, these comics delve into strange architectures, fetishism, and heartbreak.

Painted in rich sepia-toned watercolors, Apsara Engine is Bishakh Som's highly anticipated debut work of fiction. Showcasing a series of fraught, darkly humorous, and seemingly alien worlds—which ring all too familiar—Som captures the weight of twenty-first-century life as we hurl ourselves forward into the unknown.

Praise for Apsara Engine:

"Provocative. . . . Som is a master of pacing, letting the emotion of her scenes churn and roil in the reader; her debut heralds the rise of new talent to watch." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An astonishing collection of stories that expand and pulse into galaxy-sized moments of strangeness and wonder." Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

"Imaginative and poetic, Apsara Engine is powered by a fiercely complex heart. Bishakh Som builds a world in which queer and trans South Asians not only survive, but map the very future. Som is lighting the way forward with a stunning blend of mythology, futurity, and courageous tenderness." Franny Choi, author of Soft Science

“A sweet mix of late nineteenth-century morals upended by early twenty-first-century juxtapositions, Apsara Engine is a set of uncanny shorts full of uniquely camouflaged and slow-moving yet effective trapdoors. Wish fulfillment is the book's true engine but—as in ancient tales—wishes are fulfilled in unhappy or muted or at least prickly fashion. Dichotomies—particularly those of gender, or of the global north and south—get less subverted than softly imploded. A welcome blueprint for a side entrance into an only recently imagined utopia.” Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs

“Bishakh Som’s comics astonish me with beauty and invention; Apsara Engine opens up the medium to possibilities never before imagined. Luckily, Som has enough imagination for all of us.” Jason Adam Katzenstein, illustrator of Camp Midnight

“The eight pieces here sprawl far larger than the 200-odd pages that contain them. They slip in and out of time and telling; conversation, seduction, and the fantastic are their method, their object the elusive connections between people. Apsara Engine opens a new comics universe, one painted in the blood of someone incisive and hilarious and warm and intense and brilliant: say yes to it.” Jeanne Thornton, author of The Black Emerald

"This remarkable book does something rare and exhilarating: the stories the words tell are individual, familiar, and meaningful, but the images take the reader to situations and worlds that are alien, strange, dark, or numinous. Stories like these reveal the limits of what we consider 'realism'—and perhaps more, they remind us that the world is not always what we think it is." Rachel Pollack, author of The Beatrix Gates

Bishakh Som is an artist, illustrator, and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, BuzzFeed, the Boston Review, and the Brooklyn Rail, among others. Her books include Apsara Engine, Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir, and The Prefab Bathroom: An Architectural History, and she was also a contributor to We're Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology. Som is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Angela Peñaredondo is a queer Filipinx interdisciplinary writer, artist and educator. Peñaredondo is author of the chapbook Maroon and All Things Lose Thousands of Times. Peñaredondo’s work has appeared in The Academy of American Poets, Black Warrior Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. Peñaredondo is a Kundiman, VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fellow, Macondista as well as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Humanities at California State University San Bernardino. Peñaredondo lives in Los Angeles, formerly Togva land. 

Author Photo by Provvidenza Catalano

Event date: 
Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Apsara Engine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936932818
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Feminist Press - April 14th, 2020

The Prefab Bathroom: An Architectural History Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780786476008
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: McFarland & Company - October 1st, 2014

All Things Lose Thousands of Times Cover Image
ISBN: 9780997093216
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Inlandia Institute - March 1st, 2016