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Dexter Palmer Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Version Control (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Dexter Palmer is an American novelist and short fiction author known for writing character-driven literary works in speculative fiction and steampunk. He is the author “The Dream of Perpetual Motion” and “Version Control” two critically acclaimed novels that blur the lines between science fiction and literary fiction. His first novel “The Dream of Perpetual Motion” was a Kirkus listed Best Debut Fiction of 2010. The novel iss partly inspired by the classic novel “The Tempest” by Shakespeare and was set in an alternate mid-twentieth century. It is a retrofuturistic, tragicomic novel that Bookforum’s Matthew Shaer described as gorgeous, surreal and sophisticated entertainment. Palmer’s second novel “Version Control” was hailed as a vertigo-inducing peek into the intimate and quiet life of a couple who are bound by trauma. The novel made several best books of 2016 lists that included Vox, GQ, BuzzFeed, The San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. Dexter Palmer is a graduate of Stetson University and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Princeton. At Princeton, he studied the works of William Gaddis, James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon which have had a significant influence on his later writings. He currently lives in Princeton New Jersey.

Apart from staging Princeton parties and academic conferences on video games, Dexter Palmer is an employee of the College Board. His job involves writing questions for the SAT, which is something that he has been doing for more than 13 years having started out writing AP and GRE exams. Palmer has always loved reading ever since he was a child and says his favorite was “Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi. Growing up, he managed to find a copy of the novels that had somehow not been contaminated with Disney and hence had all the best attributes of classic children’s literature. As an adult, he has been reading the Bascombe novels, Richard Ford’s omnibus collection, Paolo Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl and the King James Bible alongside The Oxford Bible Commentary. While he has no favorite author, he loves the works of Isaac Asimov, Joan Didion, William Gaddis, Douglas Hofstadter, and Steven Millhauser. However, his biggest influence has been Thomas Pynchon and his work “Gravity’s Rainbow,” which he first read when he was 17 or 18. For Palmer, what makes Pynchon so great is the demonstration that everything is connected. This aspect can be seen in many Palmer novels.

Dexter Palmer’s “The Dream of Perpetual Motion” is a steampunk novel in an alternate America. His protagonist is living in luxurious imprisonment in an airship floating over a fantastic city in a dreamlike state. He is aboard the flying ship in suspended animation alongside a Cyborg named Caliban, his fiancé Miranda and Prospero her father. In “Version Control” Rebecca Wright got her life back on track after a tragedy bit still feels that something is not right. Her husband has been spending a lot of time with his newest invention named the causality violation device but no one believes anything is ever going to come out of it. It is a wickedly intelligent and emotionally powerful story about the effects of technology and science on our lives, our sense of self, friendships and how they alter about perspectives of the present and the future. “Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen” his third novel was a novel he wrote when he was studying for his doctorate in 1996 at Princeton. The professor asked the class to make presentations for a lesson titled Representations of the Improbable. While doing his research, Palmer stumbled upon a story of a woman that claimed to have birthed rabbits and presented it to the class. He kept trying to understand why anyone would ever believe such as story and hence was born the idea for his third novel.

Palmer’s, “The Dream of Perpetual Motion” is a novel about Harold Winslow, a prisoner for life aboard an airship floating above a fantastic city. He lives on the ship with the disembodied voice of his fiancé Miranda, and the cryogenically frozen body of the industrial magnate and genius Prospero, who was his father. It is the tale of an alternate reality where the rich have mechanical men as their salves and in which fairy rales are built out of thin air and deserted islands appear on top of skyscrapers. Over the course of two decades, Harold’s who has loved Miranda since childhood become infatuated with her and then proceeded to become obsessed. His father’s inventions change his world and transform it from a place of miracles and music to one of noise and machines. As he dashes headlong to confront his father and save his beloved fiancé’s life, he soon becomes an unwitting participant in the invention of the perpetual motion machine – the greatest invention ever. It is a wickedly funny, stunningly imaginative and beautifully written story of a world dominated by technology yet still finding a place for love and heartfelt meditation.

In “Version Control” Rebecca Wright is recovering from depression and grief after a personal tragedy. She works a customer support job for an internet dating site from where she had the fortune of meeting her first husband. But while she has made remarkable progress since the tragedy years past, she believes that there is still something wrong. She often feels like she walks into rooms and completely forgets what she wanted to do there, her dreams are tension-filled, and even the president on TV seems to be the wrong one. In the meantime, her husband is working on perfecting his “causality violation device.” He has completely abandoned his physics career where he is now a laughing stock among his former colleagues. What nobody including his wife knows is that he is near his biggest breakthrough yet. The novel is about the way of life in the present a possible future. It includes futuristic concepts such as self-driving cars, smartphones and relationships with people that we meet on the web. At its core, though it is about Phillip and Rebecca who have had to endure a hard time and now have to help each other to get through the recovery process.

Dexter Palmer’s “Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen” is set in Godalming, England in 1726, where a woman just mystified the medical community as she gave birth to seventeen bunnies. John Howard the local medic cannot explain why the wife of a local journeyman named Mary Toft gave birth to a rabbit. But then she starts doing it on the regular and John and his assistant Zachary realize that this is a troubling, strange and even miraculous occurrence that their experience as rural physicians has not prepared them for. John calls up several of his surgeon friends in London who come to Godalming to observe the strange phenomenon and perhaps use it to further their own ends of gaining fame. When King George is told of Mary’s plight, he summons her doctors and the woman to London. In London, Zachary gets to experience the city life far removed from his humdrum existence in the village. But he also experiences the darkest lows that the human soul can descend to. In the meantime, Mary’s doctors are losing hope of a breakthrough even as she has become a spectacle with onlookers waiting for another rabbit birth.

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